Food Pouches: Is it the best way to feed your baby?

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When I first started focusing on nutrition from tummy to toddler, there weren’t many options for packaged food to feed your baby. For as long as I can remember there have been jarred baby food lining the aisle along with Farley’s rusks and Arrowroot.

Fast forward to the past 10 years, there has been frozen food available in cubes and containers, jars are still going strong and now the food pouches. I remember seeing them in England when my kids were babies, so they have been available on the market, just not in North America.

The pouches are quite a trend. Convenient, easy to grab and feed, no prep, chilling or heating required, they’re available in most grocery stores, and super simple on the go. Kids of all ages can eat them and parents feel good as their kids are getting a serving or two in short order. Generally, these pouches are pretty highly thought of in comparison to jars for many.

But are they better?

Here are my thoughts:

  • The combination of foods mixed together give a variety of nutrients but don’t offer the individual tastes of a particular food for baby to get used to. No broccoli on its own, green beans or single fruit serving. That’s a very important part of opening the palate, tasting individual fruits and vegetables from fresh apricots to dried and parsnip and beets.
  • They are inhaled. Not down the windpipe but a few sucks and they’re gone. No texture, chewing, eating off a spoon or learning dexterity of self-feeding other than getting the opening into the mouth. Your baby needs to learn to chew.
  • Kids don’t know what they are eating. No idea of colour, texture or smell, it just all comes out of the pouch and heads down the hatch.
  • Learning the texture of food by feeling it in the mouth and hands is important. Broccoli pieces look like little trees, beets leave a trail of pink on the plate, peaches have a soft and fuzzy skin and when a banana is squeezed, it squishes nicely through little fingers and are tremendous fun.
  • Without chewing on pieces of food, puree can sit on the surface of the teeth (or tooth) and with the change of pH in the mouth after eating becoming alkaline, the acidity can wear down the outer strength of those chompers.
  • There’s more packaging that needs to be disposed of.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when grab and go is needed, and that’s a great time to use the pouches. However, giving them daily or even at each meal, is missing out on many opportunities for new and interesting tastes, texture and flavour.

I still believe there’s no substitute for homemade. I know I’m biased.  

Want to know more about feeding your baby? Check out the New Eaters Club! Click  HERE to learn more about this 6-week online program for transitioning to solids! 

 

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