They might be convenient but by using baby food pouches, your child could be missing out on some important skills!
Your little one is ready for solids, but where to begin? Baby food pouches are the obvious choice, right? They certainly look like the no-fuss, mess-free option, but there is evidence to suggest that they may actually be doing more harm than good when it comes to your baby’s development.
Childhood nutrition specialist Simone Emery and dietician Dr. Rosemary Stanton agree. Both say that there are so many skills that are hindered or even missed entirely as a result of baby food pouches. So if you are finally ready to introduce solids into your bub’s diet, bear the following things in mind!
At first, solids can be scary for both parents and little ones. We’ve all been there! Giving your baby the best chance of mastering the transition is incredibly important. The muscles required to move food around the mouth, chew, and swallow it successfully require development. Practice makes perfect and exposure to more complex textures and sizes is one way to achieve this. Unfortunately, the packaging and overly pureed nature of baby food pouches makes the whole process more like drinking than eating!
“A lot of feeding specialists and paediatricians are seeing this lack of development of muscles, linking it directly with pouches,” Simone said.
Instead, opt for a see-through bowl alternative like the Little Bellies Organic Baby Bowls. Your baby will be introduced to a variety of textures and flavours, and begin to practice using these crucial muscles. Plus they encourage interactive spoon-feeding which is such a bonus!
You may not have considered it before, but the packaging of food is incredibly important! Baby food pouches prevent little ones from being able to see what they are eating. This can create a whole host of problems, not to mention the difficulties it could create with eating later on!
“They’re not touching it, not seeing it, not engaged with it and we find some children get quite packaged dependent because the only interaction they’ve got with food is seeing the package,” Simone said.
“When a baby locks eyes on their food, leans towards it and uses their lips and tongue to move the food, they are getting more than just nutrition, the baby develops important eating skills. If a food is delivered directly into the back of the mouth, for example when eating from a pouch, a baby misses out on these development opportunities.”
We just love the see-through design of the Little Bellies Organic Baby Bowls. Not only do they make the whole process so much more engaging (just wait until you see their little face light up!), but they are also able to be reused!
Recognising when they are full is Another important skill in your baby’s development. Unfortunately, food is consumed much more quickly when delivered via a pouch. Cue a serious stomach ache! They really limit the opportunity for this feeling to be properly experienced.
“We know it takes a certain length of time for the stomach to signal to the brain that it’s had enough so by squeezing in food basically you risk destroying the natural control mechanism that says ‘stop eating my body is full’” Dr. Stanton said.
Even though it might take your bub a bit longer to work their way through Little Bellies Organic Baby Bowls, interactive spoon-feeding allows them to recognise when they have had enough to eat and learn to self-regulate.
Fine Motor Skills
Food is one of the best resources parents have for their bub’s development! You can use it to guide your baby towards developing the pincer movement and a whole range of other fine motor skills.
“The more they touch things that are of different texture and variety, that tactile resilience helps them become more confident finger painters and develop all those pre-writing skills,” Simone said.
Interacting with food and allowing your child to explore how it looks, feels, and smells, should be an important part of the experience. Yeah, it’s a little messy but that’s all part of the fun! Little Bellies Organic Baby Bowls are the perfect place to start.
“Getting their hands in, feeling food and experiencing food and smelling it and looking at it and playing with it it’s actually a very essential part of children’s learning to eat and learning about food,” Dr. Stanton said.
So if the signs are all there and you’re preparing to introduce your baby to solids, try Little Bellies Organic Baby Bowls and give their tiny taste buds all the benefits of their incredible organic ingredients!
Would you swap your baby food pouches for a see-through bowl option? Let us know in the comments!
The team at Mouths of Mums is working with Little Bellies to bring you this article. Little Bellies Organic Baby Bowls are for interactive spoon-feeding. Their Veggie & Jumble bowls have no hidden fruit sugars to make veg-forward foods a priority, they are also recyclable and reusable. Check out the full Little Bellies Organic Baby Bowls range here.