Feeding a baby when you’re out and about can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re still in the puree stage. I personally feel it’s a pain to pack a glass jar or plastic container in the diaper bag and then deal with the sticky lid afterward…and half the time you forget the spoon.
Well apparently baby food companies have caught wind of the increasingly on-the-go lifestyles of today’s health conscious babies and are now producing squeezable pouches of USDA organic baby food. We’ve been using the Plum Organics pouches for about a month now and, just this morning, I noticed two new brands (also USDA organic) on the baby food shelves of my local Ralph’s grocery store: Gerber and Ella’s Kitchen.
Though a baby should first and foremost learn to eat introductory solids from a spoon (it’s really important for them to learn how to accept the spoon in their little mouths and close their lips around it in order to clear it of solids), I am becoming a big fan of these squeezables for a few reasons:
1. The easy-to-use twist top. It can easily be screwed back on for saving leftovers. No sticky mess, and it stays on securely even when jumbled around an overly full diaper bag and squished to the bottom. Refrigerate after opening and use within 24-48 hours (depending on the brand).
2. The hard plastic straw. Baby can suck the puree straight from the opening. Though novice baby food eaters will likely not benefit from this component, I find it extremely helpful for feeding the baby when there is no spoon, high chair, or bib to be found (which does happen occasionally). It also means you don’t have to bring anything but the baby food pouch when you’re packing your bag to go out.
I have also personally found the straw component of these pouches to be useful in helping my baby learn to suck from an object that is not…well…me. He has never taken a bottle or sippie cup well (he just wants to bite the nipple or spout) but with these pouches, he is forced to close his lips around the hard straw and suck rather than bite. I can help him by giving a little squeeze to the bag and then he can suck to get the rest of the puree. And the fact that it’s puree — rather than a thin liquid — makes it easier to suck just the right amount out and he’s less likely to choke on it if he gets too much in his mouth. It’s really amazing to see him sucking out baby food after 10 months of failure in this department and I have already seen progress in his ability to initiate. They actually start kids out on a hard straw like this in feeding therapy when they have a weak jaw and a tendency to bite down while sucking in order to compensate for the weakness (fun fact, yes?). Yes, I know I am a pediatric OT, but I’m still learning how to intervene in the feeding department, plus I don’t have the therapy resources necessary to help him out on a day-to-day basis. We’re working on it, though. Thanks for the help, baby food companies!
3. It’s just fruits and veggies. No added sugars or colors. Just the good stuff. This also means they’re WIC eligible, which is a huge bonus for many, I know. One downside to these pouches is that, so far, I haven’t been able to find any that are solely veggies. It’s usually either just fruit or it’s a fruit & veggie combo, which is why we don’t use these exclusively as our source of puree. I personally feel it’s important for the baby to learn and accept the flavors of vegetables all by themselves, rather than always masking them with the flavor of apple or mango. I’d probably never want to eat spinach or broccoli either if it was always mixed with a sugary fruit. But the fact that there are no added sugars or flavors makes me okay with using these as a quick, on-the-go meal for baby, whether we go to the park, a restaurant, or over to a friend’s house.
Have you ever tried these with a baby? What have you thought of them? What do you like, and what concerns you?