3 Products to Help Introduce Your Baby and Toddler to Real Food

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This is a guest post by Kiran, our Sales Manager and mom of four…to learn more about Kiran check out our team page!


It’s no secret that good nutrition starts from the very beginning. Many moms take a good look at their own health habits upon learning about their pregnancy and even take steps to improve their well being for the health of their baby. But often times after baby is born, moms go back to their pre-pregnancy habits for themselves and for baby. It’s often unintentional but more due to lack of time or lack of understanding what foods to buy, while sometimes it’s due to dealing with “picky” eaters.

Understanding how to rid your child’s life of processed food is just as important as ridding your life from processed food. And it could actually be even more important. Keeping in mind the idea of little organs growing and maturing, it’s a wonder that the idea of helping children maintain a “real food” diet isn’t always one of the most important things to parents.

To help mothers and fathers (whether you are expecting or you have a 2 year-old, whether your child might be labeled a “great” eater or even a “picky” eater), I’m excited to introduce three products/resources from our sponsors, including a great video with tips, that can make it that much easier to make real food a part of your child’s diet.

Squooshi

Over the past few years, food pouches have taken the baby and child market by storm. Pouches packed with with fruits, vegetables and grains? Yes, please! How about organic? Pretty please with sugar – or make that honey – on top.  Sure, the ready-made pouches are ideal for those on the go or those in a pinch. But with prices that range from $1.40 – $2.00 a pop, almost double that of baby food in jars, they pack a pricey punch. And so entered an even greater product: reusable pouches that you can fill yourself.

Squooshi_productSquooshi was inspired by a mom herself whose son favored the pre-made pouches. “I loved the playfulness and on-the-go convenience, but I felt awful giving him packaged food when I was preparing fresh nutrient-dense, homemade food at home daily.” The cost didn’t help, either. And so, the designer and longtime foodie teamed up with her father who had a manufacturing background. And after two and a half years of R&D, Squooshi was launched.

squooshi-cycleThe pouches come in two sizes – 2.5 oz and 4.5 oz – and are BPA-, Phalate-, PVC- and Lead-free. What I love about these pouches is that the smaller ones are suitable for the littlest ones, but the larger ones are also great for your growing kids. I even sent the larger ones with my elementary school-aged kids in their lunchbox. The outsides depict fun animals (a lion, penguin, panda and walrus), which my kids thought was the coolest. The pouches open up so many new ideas for foods that you can pack to take on the go, in the car, in your kids’ lunches, on bike rides, to soccer games, etc. As a parent, you know the drill: have kids, will travel. With food. Think applesauce, fruit/grain or veggie purees, smoothies, yogurts, oatmeal; did I say smoothies?? My only recommendation is to make them a little bit thicker than a completely pureed food, as to try to overcome a leaking possibility once opened.

To fill, you simply open up the bottom of the pouch (which has a zipper – like a baggie with a “zipper”) and fill. I initially used a spoon, but ended up just pouring in my smoothies. A funnel would also work, I’m sure. When it comes to cleaning, you can put them on the top rack of your dishwasher or wash by hand. I opted for the hand washing. And no, it was not difficult to get them clean. A pack of 4 Squooshi’s starts at $16.99, but can be reused over and over and over again.

Squooshi is offering the readers of 100 Days of Real Food 10% off of your entire order through July 31, 2013 with the coupon code 100DAYS.

 

Pouch Pop

Pouch PopNot long after the introduction of the food pouches, another nifty invention was introduced. Pouch Pop™ was created by a dad (love this) after he and his wife had their third child. Now, anyone with multiple children knows that convenience is key, and thus, the pouches were desired by this duo. However, around the time his new son was transitioning from bottle to solids, he witnessed his son having a difficult time feeding himself with the pouches (hence the inspiration for PouchPop!). Sure the pureed foods are great for babies and toddlers, but the plastic feeding spout is not ideally designed for baby’s mouth and is just one of several “ouch points” on most pouches. After lengthy R&D, Pouch Pop™ was introduced to the market, being created with clinical input from top pediatric specialists.

High quality (hospital grade) silicone creates a soothing, comfortable barrier for little mouths, protecting them from plastic. As this animated video shows, there can be “ouch points” for babies that were sore spots for this creative dad. The Pouch Pop™, which is naturally BPA and Phthalate free, allows babies as early as 4 months old to self-feed (score!). And this smart invention makes for a much smarter decision vs. the plastic spoons that you have to hold. Which supermom or dad out there couldn’t use free hands during busy feeding, travel, and on-the-go time?! For those who have “problem” feeders, perhaps this can be of some assistance to your sensitive ones. And when coupled with a product like Squooshi (you can attach the Pouch Pop™ to all pre-made pouches as well as most reusable pouches), it creates the perfect solution for a comfortable and happy feeding experience!

If I’m looking for a downside, the only thing I can come up with is that it’s another piece to buy and wash – the latter probably being the more important. But really, for baby’s comfort, that’s a small price I’d be willing to pay. Speaking of price, they come in packs of 4 cute colors and retail for $9.99 (for a set of 4) on Amazon. This would make a fabulous baby shower gift!Pouch Pop collage

 

The Baby Grocery Store

Real food lovers are keen on stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. But how about a store filled with real foods that has your baby and child in mind? Living in Charlotte, we are really fortunate to have The Baby Grocery Store right here in our neck of the woods (for those not in our area, they also have a great online presence). What started out as a simple kiosk in (Charlotte-based) SouthPark Mall turned out to be such a hit, with such a high level of demand, that the owners opened a 6,400 square foot space. The store houses all natural, organic and non-GMO food products, including both frozen and fresh meals for little ones. You can pick up necessities like diapers and wipes as well – but as far as food, The Baby Grocery Store completely fits the ideals of a real food lifestyle. They host classes and stand as a resource for those with similar ideals wishing to learn more.

The Baby Grocery Store carries fresh organic foods like avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, pears, squash and other in-season fruits and vegetables that can be pureed into baby foods with easy-to-use baby food makers like the Beaba BabyCook. They also carry many of the baby food pouches from HappyBaby, Oh Baby Foods, Earth’s Best and more. NurturMe dried foods is a product line they recently added – great for growing with your child and adding into foods for extra nutrition.

The Baby Grocery Store collage

Even if you don’t live in the Charlotte, NC area, you can still find a majority of their products on their website. And the really cool news is they are looking to expand – so there may be one in a town near you soon! In the meantime, doing what they do best, they’ve provided a short video to show how easy it is to create purees – a great way to introduce real food to your baby.

 

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75 comments to 3 Products to Help Introduce Your Baby and Toddler to Real Food

  • claire

    also a baby-led weaning fan and not convinced by these pouches… I bring things like cheese, bread and bananas for out-and-about snacks, and strips of chicken and veg if it’s a meal out. I can’t believe no one has mentioned bananas ars the ultimate convienent snack! In general I just cook what I would eat for my child (13.5mo),meat, fish, lentil dahl, tofu, eggs, yohgurt with püorridge oats to thicken a bit. Veg and limited fruit and not too much wheat. I feel that the pouches for a young child still learning about eating are a step backwards because it’s just sucking. And I would also worry about their teeth since suckng sweet (i.e. fruit) things is worse for the teeth than just eating since the contact is prolonged and direct.

  • Sarah

    As a mom of an almost 6 month old, I was really looking forward to some good advice on how to introduce my baby to real food. But like some others I was also somewhat disappointed to find an advertisement. But I would love to see some posts in the future about ways to introduce real foods to babies, other than through gimmicky products or overpriced specialty stores.

    • Sarah

      Forgot to add, that I have also read a lot about BLW and considering that approach. As for purees and being “on-the-go”. For a baby, breast milk is the best on-the-go food and for a toddler, they should probably be eating solid foods by then anyway (or still breast milk if that is preferred). So I really don’t see the point in the work that is needed for purees and pouches.

      • Hi Sarah, since you are considering BLW, you might enjoy joining one of the BLW groups on Facebook. They’re very active, supportive, and a great resource for food ideas. I loved BLW with my now 3YO, and we’re all having fun starting BLW with my 6-month twins. I wish you and baby the best!

  • claire

    hi Sarah,
    I just introduced par-boiled (cooke but not too mushy) vegetables (carrots, broccoli cauliflower etc), cucumber, courgette, avocado, etc raw, apple and pear althugh apple wasn’t initially popular – try the softer kinds, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, softer meats (chicken, mince), pasta, bread , oatcakes … when she was 6mo.One thing that you do need to do is make the bits quite bit – they need to be able to hold it in their hand and still have some sticking out – until they can do pincer grip. you can have a spoon there and pre-load eg yohgurt but mostly i just let her use hands.

  • claire

    bits quite big – sorry!

  • I’m another BLW mother. :) I did it with my 4 year old- and it was VERY hard to find info about BLW 3 1/2 years ago. I am still taking that approach with my 16 mo. I am not big into these alternative to packaged baby food. However- there are times when I make a smoothie and it easy for my 16 mo old to use a Squooshi. Plus, it is a nice conatiner to send a smoothie in a preschool lunch/snack. Other than that, I don’t like the idea and the way it is presented here because it is another reason to encouarge the whole puree thing. Since my LO was about 8 mo I just gave her whole foods to munch/gum on and she has done great. Her snack of choice is red peppers, blueberries, and cheese.

  • Elizabeth

    The whole post just screamed advertisement. That aside, I couldn’t imagine feeding my children from a pouch. Frankly the spoons you put the food into kind of freak me out too. I’m a mom of 4 with 3 of those under 5. I’m busy. I only have 2 hands. I nurse my children because i dont want to deal with bottles and washing. i couldnt imagine washing pouches. i also veer away from plastics. I think encouraging purees, especially as a convinience food and for toddlers is wrong. Those learning to eat solids need variety in texture. I think a mom can find 5 minutes to feed a child with a spoon, or offer bits of banana. Bring homemade teething biscuits, bits of diced food. I think these products encourage the convinience mentality which is rampent in our society. But that’s me and that was a soapbox moment :)

    • Elizabeth

      I want to add that we do start with purees. I hadn’t heard of baby led weanin until after our family joinery was well on its way. I enjoy making baby food. I found, though, that all my children enjoy when the purée gains texture so we add meat diced in the chopper and don’t purée it as much. I think part of the problem with purees, especially the thin ones, is that the babies can’t really eat then because they just ooz out of their mouths. I’ve never once had that issue of a child spitting anything out and I think it’s because in giving them something they want where they can actually taste each veggie and meat instead of it being mixed into an odd colored liquid.

    • Natalie

      Wow, a bit judgemental here?

      • Natalie

        I was referring to Elizabeth…

        • Elizabeth

          Was I judgmental? I certainly was. I get judged for my views all the time. My former pediatrician judged my desire to breastfeed. My mother judged my not buying jarred baby food. I get judged because of the junk I don’t feed my kids. I’ve been told Im depriving my kids of the kid experience because my cabinets aren’t full of junk and because my kids don’t play video games. Ive been told the c-sections i had to hae were a horrible thing and that should hae had natural births even though i could have had a stroke. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and that was my view on the subject. Before I had children, I never thought I’d become an advocate for a different way of thinking but I have. As I said in my post, I was having a soap box moment-as in I was standing on a box so everyone could hear. Sorry if you didn’t like it.

  • Alison

    I love the idea of the reusable pouch. I do wonder how easy to wash though. My 16 month old loves the organic store brand pouches and a great way for him to get his veggies in since most of his food ends up on the floor but he will suck these down. Any TIPS for recipes for these things for toddlers?

  • Marta

    For me the only convenience with pouches is that it doesn’t spoil. With homemade food I would have to carry a cooler or sth with those pouches.

  • Rebekah

    Thank you so much for this! My family is always on the go and ‘buddy fruits’ are a lifesaver for my 1yo and 2yo. But we spend SO much money on them!! I am purchasing the reusable packets and will be making my own applesauce from now on.
    Thank you again :)

  • Lauren M

    I think what Lisa is doing on her website is wonderful but honestly a lot of these posts from readers are incredibly disappointing to me. There seems to be a lot of judgmental comments and belittling of other people’s experiences. I fail to see how giving your child pureed fruits and vegetables in a pouch does not count as real food, even if it is store bought. Everyone’s experience is different and like others have mentioned, children eventually eat what the rest of the family eats on their own regardless of whether you use BLW or not. It would be great if people could take a more open-minded approach and stop trying to push a one size fits all mentality on everyone.

    • Shawn

      I agree with you that everyone has a different experience. I had a different experience with all 3 of my children. I wish people would be kinder when replying to these posts. We are all doing our best in taking care of children and we don’t need other mothers making us feel inadequate. We need to all work together as a team to teach each other instead of criticize. I started all my children on purees because at the time that is what I was told to do. I had one that only ate purees for 2 weeks and then wanted to eat food cut up in chunks. The other 2 stayed on purees for a few months. They are all excellent eaters and I would do it the same way.

  • Melissa

    We did a combo of BLW and purees for my five children. Also some got formula, and some were exclusively breastfed, so I have a wide range of experience here. I too was disappointed in this post. I actually love the refillable pouches. I would have used them for when we ate out, because I did bring baby purees with us to restraunts, because I usually didn’t want to feed my kids off the menu at that age. My biggest disappointment was the pouch pops. How is that any different than putting baby food in a bottle? It looks like a bottle nipple with a really big hole to me. If they are not old enough to eat without a synthetic nipple, they probably shouldn’t be eating anything but breastmilk or formula. I do like the pouches. I am thinking about using them for my older kids school lunches and filling them with yogurt or smoothies. If you want to introduce babies to real food, give them real food! And variety! My kids eat just about anything. My big secret? I gave them everything when they were little. Th!ere is no such thing as “kid food” here

    • Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Melissa,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry that you were disappointed in the post, but I do believe that there are uses for all of the products mentioned. As you did, I’ve done a combination with my kids. We don’t do “kid” food either. I do believe that the pouches offer great uses for many – and btw my older kids LOVE them! Good for you for always offering real food from the get go. That is definitely the way to go!

  • Karen

    I wish these had been around when my daughter was younger. Very cool!

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