Baby food pouches are EVERYWHERE nowadays. It SEEMS like a great idea because they are convenient, available in organic options and provide nutrition with fruits and veggies.
Pouches account for about 25% of all baby food purchases in the United States.
So what's the issue?
🍽️ Pouches are offered at a time when oral motor skills are developing. At 6 months, when food is being offered, the tongue can move side to side which is a PRECURSOR to chewing. If using drinkable food, chewing skills DON'T develop appropriately. Children need to chew and swallow to develop eating skills which ALSO helps with speech development.
🥦 Pouches with veggies, which are savory or bitter, are flavored with a sweet food such as apples, pears or carrots. The veggies might be in there but the child never really LEARNS to taste the actual vegetable. Practicing with whole foods gives a child time to touch, taste and experiment with food. It can take 30-40 times of seeing a food before a child will like or accept a food.
🌽 Pouches have lower fiber content because the fiber is bulky and needs to be removed to get the fruits and veggies in the pouch. FIBER gives us the full feeling and helps to regulate our appetite AND bowel function. Drinking our food gives a quick burst of sweet energy but REMOVES the cues of hunger and fullness.
♻️ Pouches generate a lot of waste and are NOT environmentally friendly. They may seem cheaper but in the long run, the whole fruit and veggie will always be less expensive.
Pouches are likely here to stay so:
➡️ They should be reserved for travel.
➡️ Do not use pouches for soothing a child.
➡️ Family meal times should never have a pouch food available for a child ~ they should learn to eat what their family is eating and participate in the interactions of the dining table.
➡️ Pouches disengage parents and kids at mealtime. The SOCIAL interaction with food is as important as the nutrition.
🥦 🥕 🥑