I will never forget how I felt in 2009 when I started seeing babies being given these awesome food pouches that contain fruits and vegetables mixed together as well as greens and healthy seeds infused. At the time I was a home child care provider with two children in elementary school.
But when I found out that I would be having a baby in 2014 I must admit I was excited that I would now have the opportunity to experience these wonderful pouches as a new mom!
However, I asked myself: what about the way I raised my other two children when I introduced solid foods? What about allergies? All of these fools are mixed together so what do I do about that and how do I determine what he/she may be allergic to? Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of food pouches that have one food item at a time but a majority of these food pouches have more than one food item in the ingredients.
The pros of food pouches: there are many pros to the development of food pouches. First and foremost, they are convenient. What I love about the food pouches is that they include food items that I would never be able to prepare myself such as blended chia seeds or aramanth. Other pouches include dates, avocado, kale or beets which makes it convenient for me because I personally would not have gone out and purchased those foods/fruits/veggies fresh for my baby at the time.
Food Pouches Offer Variety
Because babies do need to have exposure to a variety of food items and varied tastes, food pouches are an excellent option.
When I state the cons of food pouches please do not get me wrong. They absolutely have a place but I am only cautioning to the overuse of food pouches.
Be careful with regard to possible allergic reactions.
One con of food pouches is that some fruit/grain/veggie mixtures can cause allergic reactions for some children who have food sensitivity.
Another con of the use of these food pouches is what I have found over the last few recent years. The pouches have now delayed children from experiencing spoon feeding which is very important for the baby to experience.
What happened to spoon feeding and the development of fine motor/visual motor skills?
When spoon feeding a baby who is experiencing solids for the first time, there is often a thrust that the babies do which is an automatic result of the tongue as the spoon is being placed into the baby’s mouth. The baby has to get used to the spoon and putting food items in their mouth.
They also need to experience chewing in an effort for their gums to be stimulated for tooth growth. What the pouches have created is a delayed response to spoon feeding and children are not experiencing more coarse/chunky food items as they should developmentally.
How long should a baby eat puréed foods?
Puréed food should be fed as a first food but after that stage children need to start experiencing different textures and they have to begin the process of chewing which is an automatic stage of development that pouches do not provide for. As a result of the overuse of food pouches I have seen a delay in children being able to transition to spoon feeding as well as the child physically learning to use a spoon or even using their fingers with more coarse textures.
Puréed fruit/food pouches have now been extended to toddlers and preschoolers. For something like a snack or to be used on the go I could see the use of food pouches. But for toddlers who should be sitting down and eating at the table with food in a plate or a bowl, is the desired goal for me.
To conclude, I hope what I have explained is that food pouches have their place but I just want to discourage the overuse of food pouches for clearly proven developmental reasons.
To read more on this subject here: Infant Food and Feeding