First published on www.newbornbaby.com.au
Pouches of baby food are everywhere. They are sold in supermarkets, pharmacies, airports and baby stores.
They are all natural, all organic and brimming with cute messages from their so called creators and testers. They contain lots of fruits and veg, no added sugar, salt or preservatives.
Surely this means that they are good for our babies? Well actually, no. They are not. Have you ever thought about the fact they sold off the shelf, not out of the fridge?
These types of products are packaged in Retort Pouches and are known as AMBIENT or SHELF STABLE products, meaning they need no refrigeration as they go through an extreme heat process where the pouches are sealed and taken to approx. 250 degrees and held for a few minutes. This heat treatment not only kills the bacteria and microorganisms that would otherwise see the food spoil in a matter or days, it also kills most of the nutritional goodness of the meal.
So although they start life with a decent set of inputs, by the time they have sat on the shelf for months, there is not much goodness left in them by the time they get to your baby.
On top of that, they offer little sensory stimulation for your baby as they can’t see, smell or touch the food they are consuming. It makes it all an invisible meal. They also taste really ordinary. They don’t taste like fresh vibrant food, they taste … well, weird … that’s the only word I can think of, other than disgusting. Watch me tasting some.
Elisa Rough, Pediatrician, with whom I have done some work, sees dozens of patients with food-related issues, many of which are contributed to by the over use of Squeeze Pouches. She says, “I feel they may well affect children’s oromotor development and prevent normal tolerance of varying food textures, have an impact on the development of dental caries (along the lines of nursing bottle caries) as well as the social aspects of families “eating on the run”. Ultimately they are a “packaged” food, rather than a whole food.”
Speech Pathologists are also experiencing an increase in patients presenting with issues stemming from these pouches as babies are sucking and not chewing, the tongue muscle is not developing as it should.
So whilst they are super convenient; they are cheap, clean to use, store in the cupboard, or the handbag, and there is a huge range of flavours, they are not great for your babies health, motor skill development or their long-term relationship with food. In effect, they are developing a relationship with over processed (junk) food from a very early age.
They should be learning to love good fresh food across all the colours of the rainbow and all the flavours of the world.
They are OK sometimes, out and about, planes or emergencies, but they should not be an everyday item.
What do you think about Squeeze Pouches? How often do you use them? Have you ever tasted one?
Do you have concerns about your baby’s relationship with food or their oral development? I recommend getting in touch with Elisa Rough, Paediatrician. Elisa Rough, Surrey Hills Paediatrics.