03 May Are shop bought baby foods bad for my baby?
Shop bought baby foods
Shop bought baby foods can be very useful if you are travelling and don’t have the time or equipment to make your own homemade food. Commercial baby foods must comply with strict legislation and are not harmful for your baby however, in order to keep the food safe and free from bacterial growth many commercial baby foods are pasteurised. This means they undergo a high intensity heat treatment process to ensure bacteria and bugs are eliminated and to lengthen the shelf life. More nutrients may be lost in this pasteurisation process compared to preparing the foods yourself at home.
Tips when using shop bought baby foods are:
- Always check the ingredient list on the back of the packet/jar/pouch to ensure you know exactly what foods have been included. Sometimes extra fruit is added to sweeten the flavour and make it more appealing to babies. Checking the labels carefully will allow you to see exactly what ingredients have been included and avoid the ones with extra fruit if you are keen to avoid the sweet flavours.
- Always use a bowl and spoon when feeding your baby. Although sucking the food directly from a pouch might seem convenient, time saving and less messy, your baby will miss out on many of the, very important, sensory experiences of feeding. The process of sitting down, seeing, touching and smelling the food is just as important as tasting the food during weaning. Even if you’re on the go, try to make time for meals, use a bowl and spoon, make eye contact with your baby and make the mealtime a more mindful experience. Sucking from a pouch can also be a choking risk for infants and children.
- Try not to use them too often. Ensuring your baby is exposed to a variety of textures, finger foods and homemade flavours will widen your baby’s palette, enhance their feeding development and put them in good stead for accepting a wider variety of family foods when they are older.
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