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What Role Should Baby Food Pouches Play in My Child’s Diet?
Read time: 3 minutes
What to know about baby food pouches
Done the right way, baby food pouches can be a nutritious compliment to your little one’s eating pattern
Learn the pros and cons of using baby food pouches
Get tips on how to use baby food pouches most appropriately
Just like with jarred baby food, pouches can provide an easy, on-the-go option for feeding your little one.
Pros of using baby food pouches
Benefits of using pouches to feed your little one include:
Minimal prep time
No cooking required
Food combinations that may not be prepared at home
No dangers of breaking glass, as there is with jarred baby food
Additionally, pouches that mix fruits and vegetables are a great way to increase your little one’s acceptance of veggies.
Be sure to also incorporate a few veggie-only purees throughout the week to get your child used to the taste of vegetables. The more exposure they have to veggies, the more likely they’ll enjoy them over time.12
Concerns about using baby food pouches
If used as the primary source of food, using pouches alone:
May hinder oral motor development3
May limit the diversity of foods offered to a child
However, as long as you are moving forward with feeding skills at most of your child's meals and snacks, then using a pouch as a complementary and occasional source of food should not cause any problems.
Important feeding skills your child will advance through between 6 and 12 months include: Purees, lumpy purees and mashes, soft finger foods, self-feeding with utensils, and table foods.
Wondering what your little one should be eating? Reach out to our team of registered dietitian nutritionists and lactation consultants for free! They’re here to help on our free live chat from Monday – Friday 8am - 6pm (ET). Chat Now!
Tips for appropriately using baby food pouches
1. Use a spoon
Rather than only letting your little one suck the puree directly from the pouch, squeeze a small amount onto a spoon and feed it to your baby.
This helps your child use different muscles within their mouth and continue the development of their oral motor function.
Good news: If your child has not put their mouth on the spout of the pouch, anything left in the pouch can be saved for up to 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. If your child has put their mouth on the spout, which introduces bacteria into the food, any remaining puree must be thrown away.
Read more: How do I Choose Store Bought Baby Food
2. Mix soft textured foods with the pouch
An important stage in feeding is transitioning from purees into lumpier, mashed textures. This usually happens between 7 and 9 months.
These advanced textures allow your little one to learn how to manipulate foods in their mouth, as well as begin to use a chewing motion.
If done right, pouches can help your infant progress through textures and develop these important feeding skills. You can achieve this by mixing a pouch in a bowl with other soft, mashed foods.
Ideas for soft mashed foods that can be mixed with a baby food pouch include:
Steamed and gently mashed veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, peas, green beans.
Fresh mashed soft fruit such as bananas, peeled peaches, and avocado.
Steamed, mashed fruit such as peeled apples and pears.
Well-cooked ground beef, shredded chicken, mashed fish, mashed beans or tofu
Be sure to provide your baby with a texture they can handle. If you are first introducing mashed foods, start off with mostly puree with just a few soft lumps and slowly work up to more lumps until your little one can handle food that is mostly mashed without puree.
3. Continue to advance to finger foods
Once your little one can handle lumpy purees and mashes well, it’s time to introduce soft finger foods.
Studies have shown that waiting beyond 9 or 10 months to introduce these advanced textures (whether it’s lumpy purees or finger foods) may cause selective eating or even rejection of certain food textures.15
Moving through these phases as a parent can be a bit nerve-wracking, but doing so in a timely manner is so important for your child’s development.
Even when your little one is beyond purees, or is a toddler, including pouch purees as an occasional part of a snack or balanced meal can be one way to provide vegetables and fruit to your child.
As the popularity of pouches continues to rise, so do the innovations of pouches. For example, some incorporate important nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Feeding directly from the pouch can be a part of a balanced and nutritious feeding routine that also includes spoon-feeding and self-feeding to help build good eating habits.
Learn about: Why Does Fiber Matter for Baby, Tots, and Mama?
We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond.
Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitian nutritionists certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too! They’re here to offer personalized support on our free, one-on-one, live chat platform Monday - Friday 8am-6pm (ET). No appointment needed, no email or sign-up required. Chat Now!
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