What role should baby food pouches play in my child’s diet?

Baby food pouches are widely used by parents, especially when it comes to feeding on-the-go. Since they do not need to be refrigerated, you can send them to school or daycare, or toss them in your bag to bring to the playground, while traveling, or wherever your family is going!  Aside from being a convenient way to provide a snack, pouches can also be a tool to help promote appropriate eating patterns and skills for your little one. Pouches can be fed in a variety of ways, in addition to their spout; depending on the age and feeding abilities of your baby or tot, a pouch can be poured into a bowl and fed with a spoon, or your child may practice self-feeding with baby or toddler-friendly utensils.

Sometimes it can be quite challenging to get your child to eat vegetables, especially if your child is a picky eater. Pouches that mix fruits and vegetables are a great way to increase the acceptance of veggies by your little one. Try to 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 it is they’ll enjoy them!

An important stage in feeding is transitioning from purees into lumpier textures, or soft solids. These purees allow your little one to learn how to manipulate foods in his mouth, as well as begin to use a chewing motion. Pouches can be a great way to help your infant progress through textures and develop these important feeding skills. You can achieve this by mixing a pouch in a bowl with steamed and slightly mashed vegetables, meats or whole grains, then feeding it to your little one with a spoon.

Some ideas for foods that can be steamed, gently mashed, then mixed with a pouch include – carrots, potatoes, squash, peas, green beans, and even proteins such as cooked ground beef, finely shredded chicken, beans or gently smushed fish.

As the popularity of pouches continues to rise, so does the innovations of pouches, that have ingredients like fruits and veggies and incorporate important nutrients like omega-3 ALA’s and fiber. Feeding directly from the pouch can be a part of a healthy feeding routine that also includes spoon feeding and self-feeding to help a child develop.