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

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 with the coupon code 100DRF.

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). 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.

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

75 thoughts on “3 Products to Help Introduce Your Baby and Toddler to Real Food”

  1. 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

    1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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 :)

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Good for you!! I’m sure you will find other foods that you can also make and take with you. Have fun!

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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 :)

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. I love you guys at 100 Days of Real Food, but this post is incredibly dissapointing. It feels like this is just a plug for sponsors and lacked any information about “Introducing (My) Baby and Toddler to Real Food.” I learned more from people’s responses in comments! I really hope the sponsors dont take over this site, otherwise I will have to start looking for another real food blog to follow…

  12. My advice is you need to do what works best for you and your family. Maybe baby led weaning, purees or something else works for you. Either way your baby will eat food like us eventually. For new mothers try the different methods and see what works to do it. Don’t stress if your friend feeds her baby one way and it doesn’t work for you. It will all work out in the end.

    As far as the title with the post I agree it is misleading. I do childcare in my home and feed all the children nutrious meals and was hoping to find fun new recipes for feeding babies and toddlers.

    Before the post though I did purchase the Sqooushi. I was at KFC last weekend with my family (gasp)on our way on vacation to the beach and in the childrens meal came an applesauce pouch. I thought how cool is that. My 2,7 and 12 year old can eat applesauce without getting sand in it or needing a spoon. So I purchased some for my 7 and 12 year old for school for smoothies and applesauce. Sometimes I forget to pack a spoon and now they can eat it mess free. Although I did buy a different brand for my 12 year old. There is no way he would be caught with kiddy animals in his lunch box. LOL

  13. Well I see that there are mixed reviews on this post. I can honestly say that I’m not that familiar with BLW. This post was to show various ways of making purees and feeding babies/toddlers via pouches/etc.

    Trust me when I tell you I am all about what’s best for baby. I breastfed all four of my kids for 14+ months. I weaned one at 16 months and the others self-weaned. I even had to pump exclusively for 14 months with my youngest since he had feeding issues. I get it! But for me, working (though out of the house – a blessing), and having a busy schedule with the other kids, I do what is best. And if that means making purees and putting them in pouches, so be it. It sure beats giving them processed foods. I’m happy to say that all of my kids are really good eaters, but it’s a process, no doubt.

    All of moms try to do the best that they can. We all have different situations. And if these suggestions are a way for some to get real foods into their kids, so be it. I hope it can be helpful. If you don’t choose to do purees, this would not be a fit for you. But I’m hopeful that some of these ideas/products can be helpful for some.

    1. Kiran and Lisa,
      If you ever have a few minutes to browse online about baby-led weaning, I highly recommend it since you have so many young moms that look to this site for ideas. There is a book you can buy, but I don’t think you really need to buy it; everything you need to know you can just find online. I finally did this with my third child and I am so glad I did! We used very few baby foods from the store because we simply waited a bit to start her on solids. When we did, she was able to eat many of the soft foods we were eating, even without teeth! Here is a post that encouraged me to finally take the plunge: http://www.simplebites.net/how-i-discovered-and-embraced-baby-led-weaningfeeding-blw/
      My 15 mo. old daughter does still have purees every now and then for the convenience factor, but she BY FAR is the most adventurous eater I have, and out-eats her 7 year old brother and 4 year old sister!

    2. Critical Reader

      I guess that a lot of the negative response is due to the misleading title. It is not a post to show how to make purees, it is an advertisement for your sponsors’ products. What I do not like about the post is, that implies you need to buy something special if you have little kids. A grocery store especially for babies?! Sounds a little bit crazy to me, especially as most of the stuff they sell online I would consider unnecessary junk. But it is so easy to make parents feel guilty…
      Baby-led weaning is a fancy word for feeding kids who do not like purees.

      1. No, I think you misunderstand. Baby – led weaning is when you don’t offer purees but go straight from breast milk/formula into offering your older baby solids. It’s basically how parents fed their babies before “baby foods” were marketed!

      2. Critical Reader

        If your baby does not like purees you have no other choice than feeding him regular food. I don’t think that feeding purees started with the marketing of baby foods. I am pretty certain that mashing food with primitive utensils is around since centuries.

  14. Lots of sour grapes here. I think the point of the pouches, at least in my house, is the fun factor. It is just one way that my kids can have the fun packaging and the fun way of eating and I get to control what is in the pouches and make sure it is organic whole foods. We use our sqooshi pouches several times a week for smoothies on the go, this keeps begging for unhealthy snacks at the grocery store at bay and they are easy to freeze and throw in the cooler on the way out to door. What a great solution for a hot day! A healthy slushie on the go.

  15. I used these often when my twins were little-not as a replacement for whole fruits/veggies but in addition to them, especially when we were on the go. We travel frequently and pouches at least let me know the kids were getting something decent when there weren’t other great options (i.e. tiny islands with limited fresh produce and definitely nothing organic). I ordered them by the case and sent them ahead of us, which was super convenient b/c they don’t need refrigeration. I’m lucky to have naturally adventurous eaters and pouches didn’t hinder their tastes at all. They eat everything (wilted spinach salad, anyone?). They’re almost 4 and we use pouches more infrequently now, but I still keep them on hand when I know it may get tricky to find healthy food.

  16. We tried purees with my son starting at 6 months and he hated them. It didn’t matter what the food was – a bite and a horrible face and then he refused to try any more. And yes, I pureed my own so it was fresh and yummy. We transitioned to Baby Led Weaning at around 8 months and while he would taste and gum foods, he spit everything back out. Maybe a quarter of what went in actually was swallowed. We kept at it, but he was around 13-14 months old before he truly started “EATING” foods. He was nursing the whole time so there was no concern about nutrition. Honestly, I wish we’d just waited until 8-9 months to even try any real foods at all. Now at 3 I consider him a fairly good eater. He doesn’t love veggies – eats a few well and tolerates most with a few absolute refusals. He eats lots of fruits and a variety of meats and grains. He will drink a green smoothie or when traveling a green juice. And for the most part he will try a bite when requested to do so.
    We don’t plan on another child but if we had one I’d skip purees completely and head straight to small sized appropriate foods once baby was 6-8 months old. Additionally, I think part of eating especially for little ones is getting to experience the look, smell, and texture of the food as well as the taste. I feel food from a pouch takes that away. If you are too busy to stop and feed your child on a regular basis, then maybe you need to slow your schedule down. I say that as someone who has sat in a car dealership during negotiations for a new car while spoon feeding my child yogurt brought from home. I know every family is different, but on the whole pouches aren’t something that my family will be trying.

  17. When my son started on solids I blended and pureed and froze…and he wouldn’t touch it. None of my homemade, made with love, time consuming baby food. Plus, he was a touch on the lazy side (or just a slow learner) and wouldn’t/couldn’t chew food. So these pouches were a life saver. He didn’t actually eat out of the pouch. I spoon fed him. But the pouches are so easy to throw in a diaper bag and go. He’s now a year old and will have nothing to do with Mommy feeding him since he’s such a “big boy” and he wants to eat what we eat. If I try to give him something else because I think what we’re having is too spicy or too hard for him to chew, he throws a fit until he gets it. I agreed this article was a little lacking but the pouches are great and the reusable ones are such a fantastic idea (I bought some but haven’t had a chance to try them out yet).

  18. I’m excited to see so many comments on this post in favor of baby-led weaning. In my experience with my 3-year-old and now 6-month-old twins, the baby-led weaning method of letting babies feed themselves whole foods is the perfect complement to eating real food with the rest of the family. My babies don’t eat pureed food so I wouldn’t use it for my babies, but I’m ordering the Squooshi for my 3-year-old because I think he’ll be more excited to eat things like mom-made plain yogurt + fruit from these cute pouches. Thanks for that idea.

  19. I’m really disappointed with this post. I expected to read about which real foods were suitable for children and at what stage you should feed them. Or even some fun ways to prepare food for babies and toddlers. Instead it’s a barely-disguised advertisement for more sponsors. I really enjoy your early posts and understand you need sponsors, but it seems like the blog only exists now to make people buy more stuff. It’s sending the message that it’s difficult to eat real food, and you need special equipment, which is really not the case. You can feed your baby or toddler real food without spending $40 on reusable pouches or shopping at a specialty store!

    1. Kate, I totally agree with your post. I too was really disappointed by this post. I had thus far been pleased to have found a post about “real food” and then this post was a let down.

    2. I don’t know- the title of this post is WAYS to introduce baby real food, not WHAT to introduce to baby. Yes, I’m a little disappointed that is seems to be mostly product placement, but I didn’t go in expecting to see WHAT to feed the baby. I would go to a reputable medical site for that.

      Here is what a quick google search produced:

      http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Switching-To-Solid-Foods.aspx

      http://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/faqsbreastfeeding.html

      http://www.parents.com/baby/feeding/solid-foods/starting-solids-guide/

  20. I have four children and my youngest is now 16 months. I have made all their baby food, first with pureed fruits and veggies frozen in ice cube trays, then blending our dinners until they could handle more texture and just eat what we eat. I also use the baby food pouches for my youngest all the time, because we are extremely busy with activities and I can’t always bring a container of applesauce and a spoon and have a moment or place to sit and spoon-feed her. These pouches have been a lifesaver and I feel good knowing she’s getting a healthy, organic shot of fruit and vegetables when we’re out. At home she eats only real food, all homemade. I think the re-usable pouch is brilliant, less waste too!!!

    1. I agree, with 4 kids of my own in similar ages and stages, it is a great alternative to the junk they encounter. If the whole food is blended in, seems like whole food to us…Yes there is a time and place for everything. Some of us might do well to remember we are not all like minded or have the same situations in life. It is great that we have so much information out there these days, even 7 years ago when I had my first things were so different. And I, too, and just discovering baby lead weaning..sounds like something that applies to nursing, not feeding real food, so you can go easy on those of us who still think purees are an ok form of nutrition. I still eat apple sauce and love it. And my kids do too:). Yes, we need to be careful and watchful and do the best we can with our children as they grow and develop, but I also think that includes being open minded and tolerant and developing a healthy relationship with food. And just like I enjoy learning about BLW I also have found this article on pouches interesting. Thanks for the information!

      1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

        Nicole,
        Thank you for your positive notes. You are so right – 9 years ago when I had my first, there weren’t half of the cool gadgets and such – not just feeding-related. Baby gear has come a long way! And yes, there is a time and place for everything. I’m a huge advocate for breastfeeding but I realize that not everyone may be. Moms should try to support each other and learn from each other, in my opinion. And with that being said, I’m glad to learn more about BLW from lots of commenters here!:)

    2. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Jesse – I am with you. Pouches are perfect for on-the-go. I even pack smoothies and such for my older kids to take with them to school and before classes/practices, put homemade applesauces in them, yogurts, and more. Love that there is less waste!

    1. Ruth Yaron cares deeply about what your baby is eating–so much so that her bestselling Super Baby Food is encyclopedic in both scope and size. Ounce for hefty ounce, this manual/cookbook/reference guide is worth its weight in formula, packed as it is with detailed information on homemade baby food, nutritional data, feeding schedules, cooking techniques, recipes, and other invaluable feeding tips. Yaron builds her compelling argument for making baby food at home on the simple premise that food profoundly impacts health, especially when an infant’s developing digestive tract is involved. Parents will learn why babies should start out on rice porridge, bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes before advancing to more difficult-to-digest foods such as wheat cereals and milk products. While Yaron’s passionate stance and vegetarian bias may turn off some parents, others will be grateful for her strict attention to potentially harmful additives and chemicals. No matter what their eating philosophy, most parents will appreciate the economy and surprising ease of making baby food at home. This is not gourmet cooking; all you have to do is learn how to boil water and operate a blender. For veggies, simply steam some vegetable chunks and blend. For baby porridge, just grind some whole grains in a blender and boil. It’s that simple. And when you’re feeding your baby, simple is best. –Sumi Hahn

  21. Homelessparrot

    Um, you don’t have to feed your baby with a spoon. We started our six month old with baby led weaning at 6 months. She has fed herself every day since then. She’ll eat anything. These food pouches remind me of the scene in Wall-E. Everyone in the future eats their food from a slurpee form. It’s a terrible idea, and it’s not real food.

    Baby led weaning is the way to go. No spoon feeding, no purees, a 21 month old daughter who loves broccoli and asparagus more than anything else.

  22. I love love love this website, but this post really disappointed me. The best way to introduce your child to real food is to breastfeed! Breastmilk exposes the child to a range of flavors, and is the VERY best nutrition you could possibly provide. The WHO recommends breastfeeding until at least age 2, and then beyond as desired by baby and mother. (And have you seen the ingredients in formula?? The first ingredient is usually corn syrup!!)

    I’d love to see a post about the very most natural, whole, local food you could provide (breastmilk) and why it’s beneficial to keep nursing into toddlerhood. The benefits are vast!! Or discuss how many hospitals/doctors/grandmothers/friends/etc are uneducated about breastfeeding, and therefore misinform new moms and don’t support them – leading to a dismal rate of breastfeeding in this country. And my gosh, NO baby should self feed at 4 months!! A baby should be exclusively breastfed until at least 6 months as recommended by the AAP and numerous others. I hate seeing this kind of thing perpetuated – it’s so confusing to new moms (I am one – I have a 12 month old)!

    I also agree with those who said they wished baby led weaning was discussed. I can see pouches as an emergency or on the road snack, but they’re almost akin to “hiding” foods in things so kids don’t know what they’re eating. I think exposing little ones to small, safe tastes of real foods is the best way by far (once they are developmentally ready – AFTER 6 months). Self feeding has lots of benefits, even if it is a bit messier! Who would want to eat a bland, lumpy puree? Do a little research mommas – you don’t need to spend hours pureeing things!! Just feed your babe the things that you eat (within reason).

    1. Critical Reader

      I mostly agree with your post. But I would like to add, that for some Moms exclusively breastfeeding is not possible, either due to lack of milk production or due to live circumstances. The United States has an incredibly short maternity leave. I found it extremely stressful to return to work after just 12 weeks at home with the baby, be productive at work and pump enough milk to feed the baby and keep milk production up. Formula might not be the ideal choice, but parents should not feel guilty if they have to or want to resume to it. Formula is a mimic of breast milk, and while it will never be able to exactly match the original, it does not contain corn syrup as most abundant ingredient. Formula is mostly based on milk powder and lactose is mostly used as sole carbohydrate resource.

      I agree with your comments about baby-led weaning, it worked great for us. I also don’t like the idea of sneaking in foods in the form of a puree.

      1. I’m not a fan of mommy guilt either – but, the percentage of women who truly can’t breastfeed in a physical sense, is really, really low and people need to stop throwing that up as a defense for the reason they formula feed. The percentage of women who “can’t” breastfeed because of their circumstances, lack of support, lack of knowledge, poor advice from a medical professional, being duped into supplementing, etc is far too high. I also agree that the maternity leave in the US is pathetic, and doesn’t help breastfeeding moms – but it CAN be done. I’ve been pumping for 10 months now, since I returned from my 12 weeks of leave. It takes dedication, but it’s worth it. More education about building up a freezer stash and how to regulate milk supply and demand before coming back would be super helpful for moms, in my opinion.

        Formula has it’s place, but I would challenge you to look at the ingredient label on a can – the first ingredient is almost always “corn syrup solids”, and unless you can cough up major dough for organic formula, you can assume that that’s from GMO corn. SO SO SAD that babies are becoming the test dummies for GMO crap, and also very sad that there are so few alternatives.

        We need to support families by providing honest, up to date info and support, not placating them with falsehoods about why they “can’t” breastfeed.

    2. couldnt agree more Maggie! I was humiliated into weaning my first baby at 8 months! My own mother told me that it was getting ‘ridiculous’!!!

    3. I totally agree that the ideal is exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months then introduce real food through baby led weaning. It’s best to introduce as much variety of food before they reach the fussy toddler stage. If they get used to eating soup from a young age you can get a lot of goodness into them in a bowl of soup made with bone broth and lots of vegetables. I also agree that mothers who formula feed shouldn’t be made to feel guilty but a lot of Mother’s don’t breastfeed due to lack of education and support around breastfeeding. I had a terrible time trying to breastfeed my first child and ended up giving her formula. I wish I had looked for more support with breastfeeding. With my second I had no problems and was so grateful for the gift of being able to feed her. It frustrates me when people give up on breastfeeding too easily because it are just so many benefits for mother and child. I would also be extremely concerned about soy formula – because of the phytoestrogens and possible gmos and any cow’s milk formula that contains bovine growth hormones and genetically engineered soy or corn products or other gmos.

      1. It makes me so sad that people need to seek out help in order to feed their babes. Breastfeeding should be the “default” and formula should be advised only in worst case scenarios. I wish the medical professionals in the world would get with the program. :(

      2. Maggie, Please do not ever be sad for those of us who CHOSE to formula feed our children. My daughter is now almost 6 years old. She was formula fed from day one because I did not want to breastfeed. I am not ashamed nor do I feel guilty, one bit. My child has NEVER had an ear infection, she has been to the doctor ONCE for an illness (strep throat) in her almost 6 years. She is the healthiest out of our close circle of friends (6 in total ages 2-9), ironically, the only one not breastfed. She eats very well and has no allergies at all. Please choose your words more carefully.

      3. Whoa, snarky comment.

        I never said anything about being sad for those who CHOOSE to formula feed. I did say that I’m sad our society doesn’t support breastfeeding, I’m sad that formula is so aggressively marketed, I’m sad that medical professionals don’t receive any sort of training in how to encourage breastfeeding, but they get plenty of promotional stuff from formula companies. I’m sad that formula is made with GMO corn syrup. I’m sad that people who breast feed need to defend themselves from those who disagree with their choices. I’m sad that moms nursing hungry babes in public are shamed into sitting on a dirty toilet to do so. I’m sad about a lot of things, really.

        I’m glad your daughter is healthy, and that formula worked well for you. Others aren’t so lucky. And nothing changes the fact that breast feeding is best for mama and baby, and should be the default. The benefits of breastfeeding are vast, and research backs them up.

        To bring in a “real food” example: someone might be raising their family solely on chicken nuggets and pop, they may be a great parent, and their kids might be (or seem) perfectly healthy — but it still doesn’t mean it’s the best choice out there.

  23. Since my son started eating solids, he has had a mix of whole foods (using utensils) and Squooshi pouch purees (that take effort for me to prepare).

    He loves food and is just as happy eating a baked sweet potato or one pureed with spinach, apple and cinnamon. And on days when we are out and about (hot dogs at Coney Island for lunch???), I love being able to give him a pouch that I’ve made with whole foods and is packed with nutrients.

  24. I still use pouches for my three y/o great for the car or going to the park etc when you’re out and about and don’t want to pack up spoons and bowls’ very convenient.

  25. Pouches are fine, but they should only be used on special busy occasions. Babies need to learn to eat from a spoon.

    Evidence based research also indicate that it is important to incorporate different food consistencies to prevent food consistency adversions. It is also important to have varied consistencies for the baby/ toddler’s gag reflex.

    1. I have used pouches with my third baby quite a bit, and she is more reluctant to use a spoon than my other two. She doesn’t like to be fed with one now, but will gobble down a pouch in a heartbeat. I can’t figure out if it’s because she prefers a pouch to a spoon, or because the pouch is more independent for her at 15 months. Your comment made me wonder about this and whether I’ve give her too many pouches! They just weren’t available when my other two were babies. Interesting thought . . .

  26. Personally, I loved the pouches starting at the early toddler stage when they’ll hardly sit still. I still use them occasionally for a healthy on-the-go snack for my older toddler and my preschooler (usually applesauce, but sometimes other mixes, too).

    Annalisa, do you never have times you need to feed your kids out of the house? That’s primarily what I use the pouches for – I keep them stashed in the diaper bag for those times that church runs long, or toddler isn’t going to be able to stay awake to get all the way home for lunch. They’re certainly not a replacement for home-made food and fresh veggies, but they are WORLDS above processed snacks.

  27. i have trouble with some of these pouches for younger/toddler kids… I think its still to early to introduce this style of eating… that quick grab and go and mommy showing no effort to make the food is no better to me then any other processed food. My kids never had jar baby food and very little processed snacks. They sat and talked with me in the kitchen while I cooked pureed, labeled and froze their food. Yes, I know that these where babies but I have amazing non picky eaters now that will at least attempt a bite of anything and that jump for joy when I am cooking veggies. Now these pouches have there place when a structured foundation of healthy eating habits have been established…. ie my 6,6,8 year olds who understand that food comes from farms and what it was prior to going into the package…. then quick can be wonderful.

  28. I’d like to see a post about the many options parents have. Baby food pouches are one but many parents make their own baby food or use baby led weaning. My family opted for baby led weaning.
    My daughter, now 2, never had a puree and loves a variety of whole foods. Many of which she’s been eating since she was about 7 months old.

  29. I have to say that this post disappointed me. It’s about pouches, not necessarily eating healthy. When I was preparing to give my children food seven years ago, I thought about what my mom did for me. The only things I realized I needed other than the organic food was a blender, small tupperware containers, ice cube trays and a coffee grinder, all of which I had (although I did purchase another coffee grinder specifically to grind beans, grains and nuts). About 4-5 times a month, I made 2-3 times more vegetables and pureed into ice cube trays. The next day, I placed them in a dated freezer bag. 1 cube=1 serving. In the evening, I placed 1-2 cubes of veggies in with a cube of pureed beans or homemade pureed grain into a small container. I also included items that were better eaten fresh such as avocado. By breakfast and lunch, it was thawed and ready to eat and I did not want it microwaved. I always kept a separate container with fruit for between meals. It was so easy and was considerably less expensive. I recommend The Super Baby Food Book to help with grinding and cooking your own grains and beans http://www.superbabyfood.com/.

    1. Naomi – I’m disappointed to say that I agree. This was the “stuff to buy” post. Not what I was so excited about when I read the title — especially given I have a 5 month old baby almost ready to embark on solids.

      1. Thank you Tiffany. I wish you well on your next phase of parenting. I hope the info I gave in my post is helpful.

  30. I suppose I just don’t understand why you would give a baby food from a pouch at all…. why not just buy the food, blend in a food processor and give as is?

    1. You can definitely do that too, but you have to feed the baby with a spoon that way and sometimes parents with several other older children (or even parents of multiples) need the extra hand of the baby being able to do it alone.

      1. If using a pouch gives me a moment to gulp an extra cup of coffee &/or gives me a break from picking diced fruit from off the floor, why not use it every so often? I doubt Lisa is advocating feeding a kid every day through a pouch, but there are situations where some parents would appreciate them. Be reasonable…

      2. Anonymous Reply

        “I doubt Lisa is advocating feeding a kid every day through the pouch.”

        I doubt that either but it’s hard to tell because the ONLY thing talked about in the advertisement, eeerr I mean post, IS purees. If it’s not advocating for only purees the post should have started something like “Obviously real, whole fruits and vegetables should be the first choice for our kids. But sometimes with busy lives, every parents needs a break or a little help from convenience products….” but there is NO mention of feeding babies/toddlers truly solid foods.

        I know that’s nitpicking, but when you have half a million readers you have to choose your words wisely.

      3. Maybe I am naïve, but when my babies were between 4 and 6 months old the only “foods” they did eat were purees. This was before our real food days and it wasn’t until 6 months old that I gave them actual bits of food (advised by our pediatrician at the time). Clearly we did not foresee what a hot topic this one would be…I was not familiar with baby led weaning (and all the advocates for it) prior to this post. As long as you aren’t feeing your baby foods that are highly processed it’s hard to see any of these options as being “wrong.”

      4. Anonymous Reply

        Lisa, thanks for your response. I think “naive” is a fair way to describe it. I hope this comes across as constructive feedback and not too harsh but more research should have been put into this post. Googling “starting babies on food” for five minutes would have given you some basic info about feeding babies beyond purees.

        I think this post was disappointing to most because it’s the first time we’ve seen a post on your site that does not seem well thought out or researched but instead just an advertisement for your sponsors. If that’s what it was – fine. But then title it “Product Review” or “Sponsor Highlight.” Starting a series titling these types of posts something like that I think would go a long way.

        In fact, I just noticed you changed the title (seriously, I didn’t notice that until I already typed this!). So there ya go….much more representative of the post content. Funny how a small change can make a big difference.

      5. Thank you for your feedback, but to be honest I think it’s hard to know to research something you don’t even know exists. Between Kiran and myself we’ve raised 6 kids (all pretty good eaters!) and we both sit here amazed at the comments on this post discussing something neither of us have ever heard of. I even asked some of my girlfriends about “baby led weaning” as well and they too had no idea that some parents skipped pureed foods.
        And yes I tweaked the title of the post based on reader feedback – since the statement “from our sponsors” within the post clearly wasn’t enough.

    2. I have no idea why my kid won’t eat fruits and veggies from a plate..and I am sure I would not rather have him get crumbs all over my car and his seat, so these pouches are a great alternative to make sure he is getting servings of veggies and fruits and not making a huge mess for me to clean up on the run! :D

  31. I can see that these are very nice choices, but I don’t see why you would think a baby needs to eat any differently than the rest of the family does. I read a book called Baby Led Weaning, which follows the principle of waiting until 6-7 months to introduce solid foods, then giving the baby the same food options that the rest of the family eats, and letting Baby take the lead. It works wonderfully. I never had to transition my children to “adult” food. They ate what we did from the very start and it’s sure made my life less stressful.

  32. Thank you for this! I have an 18 month old son & I’m a huge proponent of real food for everyone, regardless of age. “Kid” food drives me absolutely bonkers! (i.e. Kraft Mac N Cheese, Capri Sun, yogurt bites, fruit snacks, etc.) Just because you have a kid doesn’t mean that you have to buy “kid” food. I realize that there is a time and a place for convenience foods but they can still be healthy!

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