Transitioning into solid baby food is a normal yet significant milestone in your precious baby’s life. Introducing your baby to solid food is fun and exciting. Some parents, they're looking for a baby led weaning first food, while some are contemplating on organic baby food and commercialised ones.
However, introducing a baby first food to your little one can also be intimidating. Nutrients from solid food at this important milestone will impact the development and growth of your little bub.
As such, in this article, you will find a guide on ways to select the best baby food for your little growing star.
The importance of solid baby food
For a baby's first food, solid food is a must to aid with the development of their oral motor function. By moving solid foods from the front of their mouths to the back for swallowing, they are able to work on skills needed for language development in the future.
On top of that, once infants reach six months of age, they require more iron for their growth, which they are unable to get from breastmilk or infant formula alone. Thus, requiring dietary supplements in the form of solid food.
When to start your baby on solid food
[caption id="attachment_275274" align="aligncenter" width="670"] Image courtesy: Stock[/caption]
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding for the first six months of the infant's life, parents are recommended to start introducing solid foods as a baby first food from six months onwards as a supplement.
However, every child is different, and according to AAP, it is the following signs that indicate whether or not your baby is at the right age to begin solid foods:
- Can your baby sit with support?
- Can your baby hold his or her head in a steady, upright position?
- Does your child lean forward or open his or her mouth when food is offered?
If your little one isn't able to do any of the aforementioned, its best to wait a bit longer, at least till he/she is 6 months. That's because the risk of starting solid food too early (before the child is 4-months-old) can put your baby's life in danger.
The solid baby food can potentially get lodged into the airway, not get digested at all, or even put your bub at risk of obesity.
All of these factors can make new parents anxious. But as long as you stick to the age-limit, switching to infant food will only aid in your baby's growth and development. We always recommend that you speak with your paediatrician before making this change.
How to choose your baby’s first food
Pouch or Jar?
Now that your baby is ready to foray into the culinary delights of solid food, your next dilemma is perhaps: which type and brand of baby first food to begin with?
Baby first foods come in many forms and our personal favourite for the busy mother is a food pouch. The food pouch is a quick convenient solution for busy parents. Compared to traditional purees in jars there are three main benefits:
- Mess free: Baby food pouches are suck-able direct from the nozzle. No more cleaning up spills, or having jars of half open puree jars lining the storage space in your fridge.
- Portable: Having a few handy food pouches can ensure that every outing with your infant is fuss-free as you no longer have to bring along a meal portion with your baby's eating utensils.
- Flexible in use and storage: Food pouches can be squeezed into a bowl to allow your child the experience of lifting food to their little mouths when it is time for them to develop such motor skills. On top of that, they are easily squeezed and stored in your fridge as compared to clunky food puree jars.
[caption id="attachment_487471" align="alignnone" width="1254"] Image Source: iStock[/caption]
What to consider in a baby food pouch?
When deciding on the brand of the food pouch, only the best will suffice for your precious one. As such, we recommend considering the following criteria:
- Healthy and nutritious ingredients: Ensure that there is no added sugar or salt and that the ingredients provide the required nutrients such as iron and zinc for your baby's growth and development. Check out our Baby 101 guide for a list of ingredients to look out for when making the switch.
- Presence of allergens: According to the AAP, 1 in 13 babies suffer from allergies. This is why you should either ensure that you introduce your baby to ingredients one at a time, or that the food is made safe for babies with allergies.
- Taste and variety: Getting your baby used to trying different foods and flavours can be fun and will prevent them from becoming picky eaters. Dietician and child nutritionist Sarah Almond Bushell recommends introducing children to new tastes and textures constantly when they are young (between weaning to 10 months) before they become fussy with their foods.
Now comes the next crucial part: brand selection. How do you choose which brand of infant food is the one for your little bub? Fret not parents, we have done the research for you. Read on to know more about the best baby food pouches that you can use to introduce your baby to solid food.
Best First Baby Food Pouch 2023
[product-comparison-table title="Best First Baby Food Pouch"]
Best Organic Baby Food
Why Little Étoile is a great choice
First on our list is Little Étoile Organic baby food. In French, Little Étoile means “little star" and the company’s mission is to help your “little star" grow and glow. Each food pouch is designed by a team of experienced nutritionists, so you can rest assured that every pouch is filled with the nutritional goodness to help your little star shine.
Benefits of going organic
Little Étoile Organic organic baby food's ingredients come from small scale certified organic Australian farms. All produce is grown without synthetic fertilisers or processes just as nature intended.
As you know, organic ingredients carry higher nutrition levels and antioxidants that are perfect to meet the nutritional needs of your little bub.
On top of that, organic ingredients also have lower levels of heavy metals, which are present in fertilisers and pesticides used in conventional farming.
Ensuring the food your little bub consumes is safe and of the highest quality
Food safety and quality is also one of our primary concerns as parents. Food allergy related hospitalisations for infants and toddlers have increased five times over the last decade. However, parents who worry about food allergies can rest a little easier as Little Étoile Organic baby food is free from 14 major allergens (as determined by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand, FSANZ). Each batch is individually tested to give you a peace of mind.
Even though Little Étoile Organic ingredients are certified organic and do not contain fertilisers and pesticides. Each batch is still tested for heavy metals (Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, and Cadmium) so you know you are providing the best for your little shining star.
Features we love in Little Étoile
- Healthy and nutritious ingredients: No added salt, sugar, colours, flavours and preservatives. All ingredients are GMO-free.
- Free of 14 major allergy causing ingredients: Tested and free of egg, gluten, milk (except in custard), peanut, soy, macadamia, crustacea, almond, hazelnut, sesame, walnut, fish, pistachio, cashew, and lupin
- Taste and variety: There are 5 different flavours to try, ensuring that your little one will never go bored!
- Beef, Veggies and Brown Rice
- Chicken, Veggies and Brown Rice
- Vanilla Custard
- Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Corn
- Pear, Mango and Banana
- Apple, Banana and Pear
- Suitable age: For children of six months and up
Convenient Baby Food
Why Gerber Purees is a good choice
Gerber baby food is next on our list. It is one of the most recognisable brands in the market. They have one of the largest product ranges in the market with over 34 different flavours in their organic baby food pouch range. You will be spoilt for choice when selecting infant food flavours.
Gerber baby food has both an organic and a natural range of baby food recipe. Their organic baby food range is grown with Clean Field Farming practices - where Gerber baby food partners with farms to ensure that strict standards are met; from the selection of seeds, to ensuring soil quality, to the eventual harvesting of produce.
Fruits and vegetables are hand-picked only when they are at their prime and not mass harvested at the turn of the season. Because so much effort goes into growing their ingredients, you know that you are getting quality ingredients in your baby first food. On top of that for their natural range, Gerber baby food only works with a selection of farms that are able to meet their quality standards.
They have also developed a proprietary Smart Flow® spout that helps to prevent spills and messes. Flow control means more on your little one's spoon, not everywhere else.
Features we love in Gerber Baby Food
- Healthy and nutritious ingredients: This baby food recipe has no added starch; unsalted, and unsweetened. No artificial flavours or colours.
- Taste and variety: Gerber baby food has the largest range of flavours on the market
- Mess-free: Smart flow control reduces mess during feeding
Fussy Eating Baby Food
Why Happy Baby Organics is a good choice
Happy Baby offers wide range of baby food recipe that will suit both you and your baby's needs. For the environmentally conscious parent, their "Regenerative & Organic" line is made with ingredients that are organic and sustainable.
For babies who are turning their noses up at veggies, their "Savory Blends" line helps you to introduce vegetables by packing them full of flavour with healthy fats and spices. Their "Nutty Blends" line is perfect when you are trying to slowly introduce nuts to your precious one.
Every pouch is developed with an allergist and contains a small amount of nuts. You can now safely and conveniently introduce these allergens to your precious one in a controlled and safe manner.
Pouches are also segmented according to a baby's age and you will likely be able to find a product that meets the needs of the fussiest little eater.
Features we love in Happy Baby Organics
- Healthy and nutritious ingredients: All pouches are unsalted (even their Savory blend) and each pouch is designed by their team of baby nutritionist with your baby's nutritional requirements in mind.
- Presence of allergens: Pouches are prepared in a nut-free facility with the exception of their "Nutty Blends" line.
- Taste and variety: Happy Baby offers baby food recipes that use their purees as the main ingredient to magically create hundreds of new taste and textures for your little bub to try.
Flavourful Baby Food
Why My Little Piccolo is a good choice
Interestingly, the Piccolo story begun around a kitchen table. Piccolo founder Cat spent her career campaigning for good, honest, and natural food as a baby food recipe. Cat enjoyed a varied diet from a young age, including plenty of fruit and veg, pasta, pulses and a little meat.
Food prepared with enthusiasm and love was part of her DNA and that's how she feeds her family and daughter, Juliet. She started Piccolo as a way to provide balanced healthy and tasty food for families.
Piccolo’s products are fully organic baby food, and they have flavours and textures for every stage of your child's development from 4 months onwards.
On top of traditional fruit and vegetable flavoured pouches for 4+ months, you can also find interesting flavours such as "Garden Vegetables Three Grain Risotto" or "Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese" for babies 7+ months.
Features we love in My Little Piccolo Pouches
- Healthy and nutritious ingredients: All products are developed together with nutritionist and come from extensive research on infant nutrition and child development.
- Taste and variety: Baby food recipes include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, good fats and dairy, occasional meat or fish with a pinch of herbs and spices. Start your little one on a culinary experience with new and exciting flavours on their weaning adventure.
Baby Food for Every Stage
Why Plum Organics is a good choice
Plum Organics is founded by a group of parents with the belief that little ones deserve the very best food from the very first bite. They have a range of food pouches separated by stages:
Stage 1 (4+ months): Single ingredient pouches that allow slowly introduce flavours and textures to your budding eater.
Stage 2 (6+ months): Made with blends of fruit, veggies, grains, and Greek yogurt. These pouches start to blend multiple flavours together and are perfect once your little one is more used to solids.
Stage 3 (6+ months): Made with hearty flavours, these meals are developed to help transition your baby to table food.
Features we love in Plum Organics
- Healthy and nutritious ingredients: All of Plum Organics blends are made with organic ingredients, naturally preserved, unsalted, unsweetened, and kosher parve.
- Taste and variety: Different flavours and textures available for all stages.
Baby is ready to eat! WAKODO's Ready-To-Eat Baby Food is a delicious, nutritious alternative to jarred baby food.
And since it's made from natural ingredients, with no artificial flavouring or colouring, you know WAKODO baby food is good for your baby.
So whether you're on the go or just want to make a meal that will fill up your little one without filling them up, WAKODO baby food is a perfect choice!
WAKODO baby food is a line of balanced meals that are easy to prepare and ready in minutes. Each serving has the perfect balance of nutrition and taste. The WAKODO baby food lineup is available in different flavours, including:
WAKODO baby food combines the highest quality ingredients with the nutrition and taste of real food to create a delicious and nutritious meal you can trust.
One more thing, each WAKODO baby food box set comes with a feeding spoon. It's truly a convenient way to give your baby fresh, healthy meals on the go—which means more time for you to rest or do other things while your little one is eating!
Price Comparison: The Most Cost-Effective Baby Food Option
Feeding a growing child can be quite expensive. Brands also do not make price comparisons easy as pouches come in different sizes and price points.
To create a fair comparison, we have done the price research for you. Based on the reviews above you can now make an informed decision about the best infant food that fits your budget.
*Prices are accurate as of January 2023. Prices are from Amazon, Shopee or Lazada unless stated otherwise.
Introduce good feeding habits with your baby’s first solid food
Kara Larson a speech language pathologist and feeding specialist at Boston Children's Hospital mentions that eating is an important learning experience for your baby.
Although sucking from a pouch helps to develop the front-to-back tongue motion early on in a baby's development, the chewing of soft foods helps to develop side-to-side tongue motion needed for speech development later in life.
On top of that, when your baby is older, using a spoon to lift food to the mouth helps to develops motor coordination.
So if your baby is on this journey, we recommend a few additional tips to help him or her transition smoothly.
Incorporate the spoon
There is no harm in letting your baby suck from a food pouch. But if you wish to incorporate feeding skills, offer the spoon and encourage self-feeding. The best way to do this would be to squeeze a bit of infant food onto the spoon and then feed the baby.
The added benefit of transferring the food for your child from pouch to spoon is the reduced wastage and costs.
When your child is ready, you can graduate your child to self-feeding by squeezing the infant food into a bowl and allowing him or her to eat from it with a spoon.
Expand your baby's sensory palate by mixing in cereals, chopped fruits, and vegetables with the food squeezed from your baby food pouch. Not only will these different textures stimulate your baby’s sensory system, but it will also train his mouth muscles to handle a wide range of food textures.
Plus, it will reduce the amount of food you use in the food pouch, making it last for more meal times. However, always consult your paediatrician about the appropriate time to introduce different textures to get the best results.
[caption id="attachment_487470" align="alignnone" width="1222"] Image Source: iStock[/caption]
Baby led weaning first food
Some parents are looking for baby led weaning first food.
Baby led weaning is a method of introducing solid food to babies. In this method, your child feeds themselves by picking up a piece of food and putting it in their mouth. The parent's role is to monitor the child's behaviour and take appropriate action when necessary. This method allows your baby to explore different foods while learning how to pick up and chew solid foods.
There are lots of great baby led weaning first foods to choose from, but we've put together a list of our favorites:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cooked Carrots
- Cooked Green Beans
Tips in choosing baby led weaning first food
When it comes to choosing the best baby led weaning first food, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Make sure the food is soft enough that your child can handle it easily. You don't want to give them something that's too hard for their little teeth to chew on, or something that will break off into pieces and end up choking them.
- Make sure the food is easy for you to prepare—you're going to be doing a lot of this! Try not to buy anything that takes more than 20 minutes from start to finish, so you can get back to your baby with minimal delay.
- Look for baby led weaning first food with lots of different colors and textures so your baby can learn about new tastes and textures as early as possible!
They might not like the taste of their baby led weaning first food right away but they'll get used to it eventually!
For more tips and tricks on feeding with solid infant food, check out our "Baby Food 101 guide".
- Koletzko, B., et al., Pesticides in dietary foods for infants and young children. Report of the Working Group on Pesticides in Baby Foods of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1999. 80(1): p. 91-92.
Also read: Teach Babies to Eat by Themselves with the Best Baby Spoon and Fork Items