Having a baby is a costly experience – right from conception. But this doesn’t mean that you should avoid becoming parents. No matter how expensive having a baby is, the joy that a baby brings is priceless.
One of the major expenses is baby food. You would want your baby to have the best nutrition; this is one of the building blocks to development. Baby food cost will add up $50 to $100 on your monthly food budget. The average cost of baby food expenses in a year for low-income and high-income households range from $1,117.20 to $2,071.20.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that solid food is given at 6 months. Earlier than 6 months may lead to health problems such as gastrointestinal infection, food allergy, eczema, and obesity. Starting too late may cause “pickiness” in eating. They may be deprived of important nutrients such as iron, zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D. Delay in introducing solid food may also lead to stunted growth and delay in development skills.
When speaking of baby food, we don’t only refer to solids. Breastmilk and formula are considered baby food. Lucky for breastfeeding mothers, they only need to invest on breast pumps for an average cost of $25 to $350. The cost of baby formula is $1,100 to $1,700 annually and depends on the brand. You’ll end up spending more if your baby is allergic to cow’s milk or is lactose-intolerant.
Baby Food Cost
Milk formula is considered as baby’s “first food.” The baby formula comes in liquid and powder form. Powder form is more cost-effective as it lasts longer and cheaper than liquid form. Powdered infant formula can cost you from $16 to $52.98 depending on the brand and size. Most big stores and warehouse stores sell them in packs of 2 or more.
For breastfeeding moms, breastmilk is the best “baby food.” Breastmilk contains natural antibodies that strengthen baby’s immune system. It’s the most cost-efficient baby food because it’s free! You just need to invest in a breast pump especially if you need to be away from your baby. Breast pumps can cost you from $12.59 to $341.99 for both manual and electric types.
For busy parents, purchasing store-bought food is the best option. They would buy in bulk from stores such as Costco and Walmart then give instructions to the babysitter. Baby food price depends on the brand, organic or regular, and the serving size. Average baby food cost $1.00 to $1.50 per jar. Organic baby food for babies who have allergies can be bought in 12-packs at a cost of $11.35 to $23.03.
Most parents opt for natural, organic, homemade baby food. Preparing food for your baby takes time and effort but is worth it. At least, you would have control over what your baby eats and you can be sure that it is well-prepared. Natural baby food cost cheaper than prepared store-bought ones. You can buy a kilo of chicken breasts for $8.55 and feed your whole family with it. You can create different food recipes for your baby with different ingredients and it can last a week or more. Say, for example, you prepare a dish made of chicken breasts and broccoli. A kilo of chicken breast cost $8.55 plus broccoli is sold at $3.74 a bunch. You’ll end up with a total of $12.29 and you don’t need to use them all. Use half a kilo plus 1 head of broccoli and it will last a week when stored in the freezer.
Here is a price list of recommended foods that you can buy for your baby:
- white rice – $3.77 per kilo
- eggs – (1 dozen) $2.61
- local cheese – $10.73 per kilo
- chicken breasts – $8.55 per kilo
- beef – $11.55 per kilo
- apples – $1.17 per pound or $4.21 per kilo
- avocados – $3.58 to $4.17 per pound (non-organic and organic)
- bananas (organic) – $0.86 per pound
- bananas – $1.54 per kilo
- green beans – $1.80 per pound
- blackberries – $3.14 to $4.95 (non-organic and organic)
- broccoli (organic) – $3.74 per bunch
- carrots – $0.55 each
- white cauliflower (organic) – $5.35 each
- lemons – $1.34 per pound
- melons (cantaloupe) – $0.52 per pound
- okra – $1.22 per pound
- oranges (navel, California organic) – $1.40 per pound
- oranges (regular) -$3.83 per kilo
- papaya (red flesh) – $1.21 per pound
- pears (organic) – $1.08 per pound
- peas in the pod (organic) – $3.68 per pound
- pineapple (gold type) – $3.30 each
- potatoes (organic) – $3.10 to $3.94 each
- spinach bunch (organic) – $2.68 per bunch
- butternut squash (organic) – $1.01 per pound
- sweet potato (organic) – $1.52 per pound
- tomato – $3.94 per kilo
- potato – $2.50 per kilo
Saving on Baby Food Cost
There are a lot of ways that you can save on baby food cost. You don’t need to stretch yourself thin when planning your budget. Baby food price tags increase over time, but that should not stop you from feeding your baby healthy foods.
Here are some helpful tips on how you can save up on baby food:
- Prepare homemade baby food – Homemade baby food is cheaper. You can buy a bulk of ingredients like chicken, vegetables, fruits and meat with your regular grocery list. You just need to set aside some ingredients for your baby and cook them separately. Let’s compare the cost of Gerber’s oatmeal and banana cereal to homemade cereal. An 8oz Gerber’s oatmeal is sold at $3.18 for. Quaker Oats old-fashioned oatmeal cost $2.68 at 42 ounces. Bananas are sold at $1.54 per kilo. Store-bought food usually lasts for about 4 feedings. Do the math.
- Avoid food spoilage – Don’t feed your baby directly from the jar or pouch. Spoon some into a bowl so you can store the leftovers in the fridge. Feeding your baby from the jar may cause bacteria build-up. So that jar of baby food that could last for 2 feedings will just be thrown away.
- Look for food that does not have “baby” in them – Check the ingredients. Mott’s applesauce and baby applesauce have essentially the same ingredients. Adult applesauce can be bought in sugar-free versions. Less expensive and more economical since adults can use them, too.
- Store brand versus name brand – Store brands have the same quality as name brands. Store brands are also sold in bulk so it ends up cheaper.
- Baby food sales – Look for sales, such as those in Meijer, and stock up on baby food. Just make sure to check the expiration date.
- Food stamps and coupons – Food stamps are provided at SNAPS (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). You can use them to buy baby food and formula. You can also search newspapers, magazines, and online for coupons. You can find printable coupons on Earth’s Best and Gerber.
- Formula Clubs – Join formula clubs to get freebies. You can get coupons, sign-up checks for $15 or more, periodical checks worth $3 to $5, and free merchandise. Grocery stores also have their own baby clubs which have almost the same freebies.
- Avoid the jars – Prepackaged food is cheaper than those in jars. The logic is that glass is more expensive and “looks” more expensive. Same goes with formula. Milk formula in cans is more expensive than refill boxes.
Buy in bulk
Baby food price is cheaper in big-box and warehouse stores like Walmart, Costco, and Sam’s Club. Those bought in drugstores are 19% pricier than in supermarkets.