A baby’s relationship with food and associated preferences are shaped from the very first taste of food that touches their tongue. When you start them on solids it can be a lot of pressure feeling like you need to make everything from scratch.
Commercial baby food is often jam-packed full of hidden sugars and high levels of sodium as they know this will keep your baby coming back for more. When teaching your baby how to eat solid foods it’s important that you teach them to enjoy the flavour of homemade, freshly-prepared, unsalted and unsweetened foods as much a possible before you introduce them to artificial tastes or overly sweet options. Otherwise, these will form the standard that other foods are compared to.
Homemade on the go
There are now many great options available for transporting home-cooked foods into convenient pouches or bento-style lunch and snack boxes. With a little extra time and preparation, you can make it easy to give your little one the chance to enjoy wholesome and nutritious food on the go.
Are food pouches ok for oral development?
Whilst food pouches might be extremely convenient, sucking on food doesn’t promote proper oral development in our little ones. When children are starting on solids in those early months they need to learn how to ‘chew’ their food, rather than just sucking it from a pouch.
This sucking movement also mimics sucking on a bottle, so we should really be encouraging their sensory and oral motor development.
Commercially prepared foods
We all lead busy lives and sometimes even though you have the best intentions, you just don’t have the time to cook all their meals. And sometimes you might need to outsource. If you are in a position where you need to opt for store-bought or commercially prepared food there are some important things to look out for.
5 tips for purchasing pre-made baby food
- For the first year of life, where possible you should choose certified organic wherever possible. These are now usually available in most supermarkets and will ensure that your baby is not being exposed to pesticides, chemical fertilisers, hormones, antibiotics or GMO’s.
- Learn to read labels. This will help you interpret the ingredients list, often the name of the product can be misleading
- Does it have thickeners? If so, give it a miss as this will take the place of real food.
- Does it contain sugar? This is unnecessary for your baby and should be avoided for babies under 1 yr of age.
- Avoid Sodium! Sodium occurs naturally in foods such as meat and celery but you want to avoid added sodium in all food products for introducing solid.
These days there are many more options when it comes to food for your baby because the reality is we’re not going to be making every meal lovingly from scratch – as much as we wish we could! But being armed with the right tools to search the aisles at the supermarket – and knowing which foods to avoid so we can know we are buying the best options is key.