Recently, I received a request to review baby food pouches.
Once introduced, it didn’t take long for these products to show up in grocery stores and superstores everywhere. You can even find them at some Starbucks! Baby food pouches provide a good source of fruits and/or veggies, with many brands boasting no added sugars, juices, salt or artificial colors and all organic ingredients. Some companies claim their products are cooked at lower temperatures than jarred baby food, increasing their nutrient content.
The possibilities are endless with these convenient creations. Baby food pouches are easily portable and re-sealable for handy feeding at home or on the go. They don’t get crushed like some whole fruits and vegetables or break like glass jars.
Storage is a snap; you can refrigerate or freeze any partially used containers. They can be eaten cold, at room temperature, or heated up in warm water. These products make fruits and vegetables more accessible to toddlers when fresh options are not available or when time is limited. It’s easy to complement your own cooked meals or restaurant fare with these blends to boost fruit and vegetable content.
Concerns about Baby Food Pouches
Even though I think they are a wonderful option overall, I do have a few concerns about how these products are used. Like all baby food, the single-ingredient fruits or fruit and vegetable blends should be introduced around 6 months, when your baby shows developmental signs of readiness. For infants, spoon feeding utilizes mouth muscles necessary for proper speech. Additionally, toddlers can learn how to use a spoon to build fine motor skills.
I recommend using a spoon when feeding these purees. Boon has created a one-handed baby food dispensing spoon that can be used with baby food pouches, no bowl necessary!
It is ok for toddlers to “suck” on these pouches occasionally. However, make sure your tot has started spoon-feeding themselves, eating finger foods, and drinking from a cup with minimal spilling before giving them a pouch to “suck on.”
Don’t depend on pouches as a sole source of your child’s fruits and veggies, you want him or her to recognize and accept whole fruits and vegetables, too!
With the fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy to put feeding on the back burner and give your youngster foods they can eat without your help.
Remember, feeding is a chance to connect and enhance attachment. When your child eats in the back seat while you drive, you miss out on an opportunity to connect. A positive feeding relationship in infancy sets the stage for future healthy eating in toddlerhood, childhood and the teen years.
As a parent, your job is to provide quality nutrition and establish a good eating environment. Use developmentally appropriate feeding utensils and food textures to foster lifelong eating habits.
Take home message: I think baby food pouches can be a safe, convenient source of fruits and veggies for babies and toddlers, just be mindful of how you are using them to feed your child.
Contributing Author: Katherine Fowler, MS, RD, LDN