Is ready-made baby food as healthy as home-made food?

All busy mums have times when it’s more convenient to rely on store-bought baby food. Many of these packaged alternatives to home-cooked meals contain the same ingredients as you’d use at home (vegetables, fruit, meat, cereals and water), and they’re useful to have on hand, especially when you’re travelling and without access to a kitchen.

Of course, making your own baby food is likely to be cheaper than buying it. And giving baby variations on the meals you are eating encourages her to grow up enjoying the same foods and flavours (minus added salt and sugar) as the rest of the family is. So consider making puréed or finger-food versions of regular family meals (without seasoning or sugar) whenever possible.

Home-made baby food has another important bonus: Its more distinct flavours and wider variety of textures are important for baby’s tongue and speech development. Cooking large batches and freezing them in  small quantities is a fuss-free approach that saves time, too.

You can also buy baby food in portable, freezable pouches that let you squeeze the food onto a spoon. This is preferable to letting baby suck on the tube, as this won’t encourage her tongue development.

Although home-made baby food has clear advantages, it’s worth noting that baby-food manufacturers put a lot of work into making sure their products are nutritionally balanced and appropriate for infants. So if you’re using store-bought baby foods, you certainly shouldn’t feel like a ‘bad parent’.
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