If I were a new mom now (instead of almost 15 years ago), I would feed my boys differently. I would make my own baby food. I now realize that making baby food from fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins wouldn't be difficult, but it never occurred to me to do it then. No one I knew was doing it, and parenting blogs that sang the praises of homemade baby foods and offered instructions on how to do it didn’t even exist yet.

My boys ate their mashed bananas straight from a jar. Since I can’t go back in time and change that, I choose to let it go and not beat myself up about it. But, I know that if I suddenly found myself with a new baby (this is not leading up to an announcement – trust me), I would make baby food, not buy it.

A recently released study from the University of Glasgow confirms that I’d be wise to do so. The study found that store-bought baby foods, marketed to infants 4 months old and up, are high in sugar but low in nutrients.

Some of the study's findings make a compelling argument for taking the time to make your own baby food.

  • Babies would need to eat two times the amount of many store-bought baby foods to get the same energy and protein as foods made at home
  • Purees and spoonable foods made at home were "more nutrient-dense" than the store-bought foods.
  • The store-bought foods were no more energy-dense than formula or breast milk, so switching a baby to store-bought foods from milk had no added benefits, but switching to homemade baby foods had additional nutrient benefits.
  • Store-bought foods often used added fruit sugars that could promote tooth decay.
The study also found that while many baby foods are recommended for children 4 months and older, it isn’t necessary to switch an infant from breast milk or formula to other foods until at least 6 months old.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Store-bought baby food inferior to homemade
A British study found fewer nutrients and more sugar in store-bought baby foods. Homemade foods contained up to twice as many nutrients.