Food & Nutrition Child Developement
Instant Baby Food buying guide
Although homemade purees are always the best and most nutritious, instant baby food can be a convenient way to feed your baby on the go and during travel.
What to Consider
Start with easy to digest fruits and vegetables at 6 months. First food should be a smooth puree with a bland taste, with a consistency only slightly thicker than milk (too thick if it can hold its own shape). Only introduce foods with texture (pasta, meat, grains) that require chewing by 8 months.
Check the nutrient information and consult your doctor to ensure your baby is consuming enough of the right nutrients (protein & iron, especially after 6 months). Make sure not to feed your baby salt, as their kidneys are not developed enough to digest it. Once your baby is 1 year old, they can have a maximum of 2g of salt a day.
Organic food will lower your baby's risk of exposure to harmful pesticides. However, don't take this as a blanket label for health as it may still contain lots of sugar or salt.
Decoding the label
Make sure your baby food is free from artificial flavoring and preservatives, as they are challenging to digest. Avoid baby foods which list water as the primary ingredient as they are not nutritious or filling for your baby.
Jar or pouchJars are easy to heat at home in a bottle warmer while pouches are great for on-the-go feeding.
It will take multiple attempts before your baby grows accustomed to certain food so don't switch brands or types of food immediately if your baby spits it up. The more flavors they are exposed to at a certain age the less likely you are to have a picky eater.
If you're planning on storing your food for a long time, make sure check expiry dates. Many organic baby foods have a short shelf life.
Country of Origin/Manufacture
Most organic food brands are produced and certified in a certain country, check to see a countries location of production and certification to ensure the quality of the instant food. Look for USDA, Australia certified organic, etc.
As you introduce foods, keep a food diary to note any allergic responses. Most baby foods do not contain common allergens (peanuts, etc) but make sure to check the ingredients list.
Baby food under 12 months typically does not contain lactose. Stick to fruit, vegetable, and grain purees if your baby is lactose-intolerant.
- Buy 1-2 of each brand before buying bulk to make sure your baby likes it.
- Heat up baby food in a bottle warmer or a pot of warm water and test for temperature. Do not use a microwave as creates hot spots which burn your baby's tongue
- Make sure all food is fully sealed and not damaged, puffy, or past the expiration date.
- Start your baby on small quantities of solid foods once they can sit upright and swallow, after at least 6 months.
- Introduce your baby to foods one by one for at least 3-4 days at a time, making a note of any allergic responses. If your baby rejects food the first time, wait a few days and try again. It can take up to 15 exposures for a baby to accept a new taste
- Water down instant baby food with baby milk or water and gradually increase the concentration so your baby can easily adapt
- If you are feeding your baby crackers or other solids, make sure to cut it up into pieces to prevent choking.
- Allow plenty of time for feeding and let your baby set the pace, only feeding them when they open their mouth. This encourages your baby to express themselves and fosters communication
- Do not reuse food from opened jars after 48 hours
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