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4 Truths You Need to Know About Instant Baby Food
PHOTO BY @lichaoshu/iStock
  • Breast milk is the best for babies, but by six months you will need to supplement your child's nutrition with solid food because milk alone won't be sufficient to support his growth. According to the World Health Organization, "the period from birth to two years of age is a 'critical window' for the promotion of optimal growth, health, and behavioral development."

    For parents, this stage is a chance to set the tone, so to speak, for the child's food choices for the rest of his life. Thus we try to give them what we think is best for them: pureed vegetables, mashed fruits, and/or store-bought baby food. Two or three decades ago, the latter was the norm for feeding babies six months and above. But why is the new generation of parents suddenly frowning upon it?  For a number of reasons, apparently. Among them:

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    1. Instant baby food can have high salt, sugar, and fat content

    Though it would be easy to refer to the label, the fact is that you don't really know what went into that jar of baby food. There are additives and preservatives. And it likely contains more sugar and salt than what you would prepare for your child at home. Dietitian Sylven Masoga says, "The sad part is that this could lead to your child being obese, or finding themselves dealing with diabetes and hypertension later in life." 

    2. Store-bought baby food may be low in nutrition

    According to a study made at the University of Glasgow, babies would need to eat twice the amount of store-bought food to get the same amount of energy, protein, and nutrients as homemade baby food. It also found that these products being marketed as weaning food do not serve the intended purpose of supplementing your bab's nutrition, or introducing different tastes and textures.

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    3. Commercial baby food may cause your child to become a picky eater

    Masoga says that the flavors these commercial baby food products come in aren't what is commonly served at home. "Starting your child with these type of food may give them an unrealistic expectation of certain foods which you may not necessarily be able to feed them at a later stage," he says, and instead recommends to "accustom your child with the food that you normally eat within the household." Not a bad advice to follow, considering that we can be the reason our kids become picky with food.

    4. Until 6 months of age, milk is the primary source of nutrition for your baby.

    That's according to the University of Glasgow research. Says Gabrielle Palmer, nutritionist and book author, "The thing is, most of the baby food given at four months goes down the babygrow (a British term for onesie or romper). It's wasted, but it makes money for the companies. Babies won't die of malnutrition if they are not given purees at four months, but they will if not given milk at that age." 

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    Instant baby food does offer convenience, variety, and takes the guesswork out of portioning. But we recommend you take a look at the label. 

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