The Downsides of Baby Food Pouches
Modern parenthood is busy. With spare time often precious, parents are more and more relying on time-saving products to maximize family time. There is a slew of baby related gizmos that offer conveniences: from waddles that just need to be zipped or strollers that fold small enough to stuff into your bag. But can convenience sometimes be a bad thing? When it comes to the convenience of squeeze pouches, experts seem to think so.
Squeeze pouches, introduced about a decade ago, now account for a quarter of baby food sales, even organic baby food sales, in the United States, according to Nielsen's Total Food View. But healthcare professionals are warning that relying on them too much can be a gateway to long-term bad habits.
Here are three reasons why squeeze pouches are best as a snack in emergencies rather than a replacement for real meals.
1. LABELS CAN BE MISLEADING
While the front label of your favorite baby food pouch may list healthy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach or zucchini, the ingredient list on the back often tells a different story. Listed in descending order the small print on the back will usually begin with cheaper (and sweeter) ingredients such as apple, pear, carrot and water, which are used to bulk up and sweeten the food.
2. POUCHES DO NOT HELP TO BROADEN BABIES’ PALATES
So most baby food pouches taste sweet and for good reason: babies naturally prefer sweet tastes so by masking the taste of broccoli with fruit, the baby food will seem much more palatable to little ones. But hiding these savory or bitter flavors can cause the child to reject those same ingredients once they move away from purees and onto table foods. Furthermore, pouched baby food is highly processed and has very little resemblance to fresh foods, which can lead to a child’s preference of processed over fresh foods later on .
3. SUCKING ON POUCHES CAN HINDER DEVELOPMENT
Pouches encourage more sucking, which is something babies don’t really need to practice or learn. Research from the UK has found that continued use of squeeze pouches can cause damage to babies’ development in the longer term. Health professionals are warning that prolonged sucking on the spouts of these pouches can be detrimental to babies’ teeth and impair their speech development. What’s more is that if babies continue to suck in smooth purees for extended periods of time and don’t get used to eating textured foods, there’s an increased risk of feeding problems in the future.
The best baby food that you can offer your precious little foodie is a variety of fresh foods, whole grains and proteins, flavored with complementary herbs and spices. This will allow your baby to taste not only sweet but also savory, which will prepare their palate for a future of varied and healthy eating habits.
And if you don’t have the time to cook your own, Little Foodie Club is always there to help you!