“Baby food pouches” seem like a no-brainer. They’re convenient, easy to take on the go, and come with an attached spoon. But, many parents are wondering what’s in those pouches. Is it healthy? How long does it take to prepare? And how old should your child be before consuming baby food pouches? Here are five questions (and answers) many parents want and need to know about these baby food pouches.
Question 1: Is baby food a healthy option?
Answer: Not all baby food is created equal. (3) The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that starting solid foods early can be good for babies, but some experts question whether it’s really necessary and safe to give babies solid foods as early as 6 months. (4) The AAP says parents can skip the introduction altogether or introduce all solids at once. But it’s common for parents to introduce solids too soon or too soon, sometimes before 5 months of age, according to the AAP.
Question 2: How often should you feed your baby fresh food?
Answer: If a baby is healthy, breast milk or formula should provide all the nutrition a baby needs for growth and development. A new mother can go days without eating. Some studies suggest that babies can take in as much nutrition from breast milk or formula as they do from solid foods. In an environment without much solid food, all nutrients can be used by the body instead of being wasted. However, breastfeeding is best while the baby is still nursing often, between every 1-3 hours after birth until he’s around 4 to 6 months old—before gradually decreasing the frequency to less than every 3 hours at 6 months and then typically less than every 4 hours after that.
Question 3: Should I give baby food pouches to my child?
Answer: If you choose baby food pouches, read labels carefully and choose fresh foods, organic when possible. Avoid foods with added sugars and embrace fresh, whole foods that are homemade or have minimal processing (like fruit-and-vegetable purees). As a general rule, be wary of foods with more than five ingredients. Avoid “FDA cautionary language” (such as: “Keep refrigerated” or “Discard after 3 months” or “Expiration date”) which means the product may contain unhealthful additives or isn’t nutritious very long.
Question 4: What are purees and how do they differ from baby food pouches?
Answer: A puree is a food made from finely chopped, diced or mashed fruits and vegetables that are cooked, blended, or pureed to the desired consistency for baby. Parents who opt for homemade pouches often make their own purees as a base. Purees are typically used as first foods after solids. Some babies prefer canned purees over fresh cooked ones.
Question 5: What age should I start my baby on food pouches?
Answer: If your baby is healthy, it’s okay to start with a food pouch when you introduce solid foods or after 6 months of age.
Baby food pouches are convenient, but parents want to know what’s in them and how much they should start their child on. Consistent breastfeeding or prepared breast milk and formula is the best way to nourish your baby. If you choose a baby food pouch, be sure it’s fresh and avoid high-sugar, artificial or genetically modified foods.