6 months old
Commercially Packaged Baby Food
Parents nowadays have many more feeding options than in the past, so it really depends on whatever methods best fit your lifestyle and preferences.
- Although it’s generally believed that everything is better homemade, baby food is one area that is still free of added salt, sugar and extensive processing.
- If you have a concern, all of the ingredients are listed right on the containers. Look for brands that use as few ingredients as possible, preferably just the fruit and/or vegetable plus water.
- A lot of parents find themselves heading to the organic food section for their babies (at least for produce, dairy and meat) even if they never cared so much for their own food. The price tag will be heavier, but at least you’ll know that the foods are free of pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals.
- If interested, check out our round up of the best organic baby food.
- There are also plenty of options outside of your grocery store’s jarred baby food aisle. More all-natural alternatives include Ella’s Kitchen and Plum Organics.
- If you can’t afford to go organic, commercial baby food (especially single-food fruits or vegetables) rarely contains fillers or other additives.
- Just to be sure, always check the ingredient list for things like sugar, corn syrup, thickeners or other unrecognizable additives.
- Also check that there isn’t any dairy, egg, wheat or other ingredients that your baby hasn’t been introduced to yet.
- Along the same lines, some brands are starting to sell DHA- or ARA-enriched baby foods to possibly boost your baby’s brainpower and heart health. While there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with this (besides the increased price tag), don’t offer these to your baby until he or she has been introduced to egg yolk. These beneficial fatty acids come from eggs.
- One of the biggest perks of store-bought baby food is the obvious convenience. Not only is popping open a jar easier than steaming, straining and mashing, but they also come in reusable containers to store in your fridge.
- And because each jar is portioned out, your chances of wasting food are much less than if you prepare the food yourself.
- Another possible benefit is that the fruits and vegetables used in these jarred containers were packaged soon after they were picked, meaning they might have more nutrients than if they’d been sitting on a supermarket shelf.
- Also, commercial baby food is divided into different age stages, with each one at a perfect texture and consistency. This is probably most beneficial to beginning eaters who need food to be smooth and thin, rather than older babies and toddlers who can basically eat whatever the family is eating, only cut or mashed with a fork.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that the factory conditions might be more sterile than your home kitchen. However, some parents might feel comfortable cleaning their kitchen themselves than trusting that a factory was clean enough.
- One more perk: Well water and certain vegetables (like carrots, beets and squash) can contain certain levels of nitrates – which can be dangerous if your baby is exposed to too much. Baby food companies, on the other hand, test all of their food for nitrates.
- Even if you prefer homemade baby food in most cases, it’s always good to have some pre-packaged jars on hand for emergencies or traveling.
- Before opening a jar of baby food, wipe the top clean.
- Store unopened baby food in a cool, dry place.
- Make sure you hear a ÒpopÓ when you open the jar, otherwise the safety seal was broken. If you think the seal might have been broken, don’t chance it.
- If you don’t think your baby will eat an entire jar of food, spoon out a portion into a bowl and store the rest in the fridge. If your baby has already eaten out of the jar, bacteria and enzymes from his or her saliva can be deposited into the food and cause it to spoil more quickly. If your baby wants a little more from the jar, use a fresh spoon for the next helping.
- If reheating refrigerated leftovers, keep in mind that babies don’t have much of a preference for hot food. However, if you think your baby would like it better, reheat on the stove or steam it in a glass bowl over hot water – not the microwave. Microwaves can cause hot spots that might burn your baby’s mouth.