You’ve seen them on the shelves at your local grocery store in the baby food aisle and there’s no doubt that your kids love them, but is baby food in pouches replacing good old-fashioned spoon feeding for babies who are learning to eat?
What are food pouches?
At first glance, squeezable food pouches — typically filled with applesauce-like ingredients — could be every parent’s dream! Available in different consistencies and packed with fruits and vegetables, many of which are organic as well, it’s not a surprise that parents are loving them as a no-fuss, mess-free alternative to traditional jarred food/spoon feeding for children who are learning to eat.
You can find squeezable food pouches at almost any store now… they’re even popping up at places like Starbucks, where you can grab one to go for your little one while you pick up a latte. Some brands are marketed for children who are already professional eaters — toddlers and even school-aged kids — but many options now specify that they are for babies as young as 4 months who are in the “Stage 1” of baby food.
Still working on getting to the baby food phase? Here’s The 4-1-1 on baby-led weaning >>
Can food pouches be a substitute for baby food?
But, is using squeezable baby food pouches a safe alternative for babies who are still mastering how to get those pureed peas into their tummies? While it’s hard not to be tempted by the BPA-free packaging, the use of all-organic ingredients and even the fantastic process that is used to make the food pouches (the use of the pouches allows for fresher fruit and vegetables, which means less processing — hooray!), babies still need to learn how to eat via the old-school method… a spoon.
Although your baby may suck down the fruit in a squeezable food pouch in the blink of an eye, learning to swallow food that has been put in her mouth by a spoon helps her develop her gag reflex and swallowing technique, both which are essential to moving on to chunkier solid foods.
Baby food expert, Annabel Karmel tells us about Starting solids: Healthiest ways to feed your toddlers >>
When food pouches can come in handy
Here’s the good news for parents (and their kids!) who are already addicted to squeezable food pouches… they are convenient to use and can certainly come in handy when traveling or heading to the park with your new eater in tow. We’ve all probably had a shattered baby food jar in our diaper bags at one time or another and with food pouches, there’s no concern about breakable glass, making them perfect for being out and about — you can always squeeze the food from the pouch into a small bowl and then use a spoon to feed you little one.
Think the idea of squeezable food pouches are cool, but not so excited about having to toss them in the trash? Check out the Sili Squeeze, a reusable food pouch that even comes in different resistances for different ages to squeeze!