I recently discovered something that has dramatically improved the feeding of solids to Michael--pouches. Well, I was aware of them earlier this year when I saw my SIL feed her 1yo a pouch with a screw on spoon. How nifty for travel! I decided to get a couple of Plum Organics pouches with the Boon spoon tops for our beach trip a few weeks ago. They were twice the price of the Earth's Best jars I had been buying, but decided it was worth the splurge and convenience for the trip. (I did find a couple of Earth's Best pouches too.)
When we got back, I decided to look into Plum Organics a little more. After all, the pouches were a hit with Michael and came in really great flavor combos. To backtrack a little, I had fully intended to make baby food but had only managed to cook and freeze a few veggies that I would mix with applesauce or cereal. Michael seemed bored and kept trying to grab the spoon, so mealtimes seemed very unpleasant for him. And my attempt at meat/veggie combo purees was apparently the worst thing he had put in his mouth! Anyways, while on Plum's facebook page, I noticed pictures of babies feeding themselves right out of the pouch! What! So I checked a pouch, and sure enough, there were no sharp edges and the spout was pretty much a short straw. Next day, I had to try it. At first Michael just squeezed the squishy pouch and licked his fingers, so I put the spout in his mouth and off he went! He figured it out in no time and loved it! He now gets so excited when he sees those pouches! (I had to let him eat one in Target the other day because he started screaming at the sight of them! Don't worry, I did pay for it. But yes, I've become one of those moms who paid for something after it had been eaten. Oh well, better that than the mom with a screaming baby!) He no longer resists the highchair either! Bonus: I can more easily make lunch for myself and eat it too! We actually share mealtimes now.
So what's to discuss, right? High needs baby gets to feed himself, I get to eat, no more fighting at mealtime. Sounds great. Well, those pouches can really add up at the register. I've looked into other brands, but they just don't have the flavor varieties that Plum has. Earth's Best does have fruit and grain combos and yogurt smoothies that are less expensive and fulfill nutritional needs (I do buy these), but they don't have the veggies like broccoli, zucchini, and spinach. Also, foods containing meat only come in jars, at least for stage 2. In order to appease Michael's desire to feed himself while giving him a dinner jar, I started him on the cereal puffs, literally just last week. He's been pincer grasping everything in sight, so I figured it was time. He's doing great with them! Even though the spinach-apple tastes like ass (even he makes faces), he still eats them! He'll even grab a piece and bite it with his incisors. So cute! For now dinners are ok and hopefully will remain that way when we transition to stage 3. I suppose stage 3 might be easier for me to make since I can just give him soft chunks of meats and veggies instead of trying to find the magic ratios to puree.
So back to price/brand issues. I recently discovered that Target's house brand also had pouches for, get this, 89¢! And puffs for $1.99! The catch? Not organic and simpler flavors like apple/carrot. Gerber also has organic pouches, but they're about the same price as EB. What's my dilemma? Go exclusively with Plum and EB or fill in with non-organic Target brand to save some money? Also, how dependent do I want my child to become on these pouches?
I recently found an article talking about the "pouch phenomenon." It seems that people are giving their kids pouches beyond the "training" stages of eating to feed them when a sit-down meal is not possible, as in beyond the age of 3, even beyond 5. I know, right? I don't know how I feel about that. The whole point of the feeding stages is to get your baby on to regular food, so you can make a meal and your toddler can partake in the same meal, even if you have to chop things up a bit. For snacks, I want to be able to provide fruits, cheese, crackers, whatever I would want for a snack myself. I've already given Michael chunks of bananas and avocadoes, and I let him gnaw on the fruits I eat. I don't want him to become too attached to these pouches. For now, they allow him to feed himself which makes him feel much better about mealtimes--he's visibly more confident which is what we're trying to teach right?
I just don't want the pouches to become primarily about convenience, like so many other things in our lives, always on the go and which I am currently not! Plus I love food and want my baby to share that love and not be a picky eater! There are too many picky eaters! Right now, he will eat just about anything I put in front of him (except when I tried to puree meat with veggies--disaster!). Adults are bad enough walking around slurping on their Jamba Juices and frappuccinos all the time. Do we really want to start the slurpy liquid diet in our children? I don't. We already go to local farm markets and pick our own peaches, apples, and soon pumpkins! I hope Michael is paying attentio--I think he is. I just hope my introduction of these pouches doesn't lead to a later need to wean off of them. So stressful to think of the potential long-term impacts of these types of decisions!
Any thoughts on food training, weaning, pouches? I would love to hear what others think!
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with nor was I compensated by any of the brands/stores named in this article.