Baby Weaning

Nom Nom Kids Pouches – The best way to wean?

Reusable pouches are a fantastic product for weaning for so many reasons. There were no reusable pouches on the market when I was weaning my 1st child although I wished constantly that there was. My 2nd child was weaned on the prototypes of what is now the Nom Nom Kids pouch. Using the pouches has been so much easier and I loved seeing people’s reaction to our colourful, fun pouches when I fed out and about.

Feeding out and about

When I was weaning my first child I loved the convenience of Ella’s Kitchen pre-filled pouches and would buy them for my NCT mummy dates and visits to relatives as it was so easy to just squeeze out the food onto a spoon and feed. The pouches could be heated by submerging in hot water which was always available wherever we were – even if it was some I had taken along in a flask. If I had used one of my many Tupperware style weaning pots which were very much in favour at the time I would struggle to get the food heated unless there was a microwave present which there wasn’t always. With my 2nd child I fed out and about in the exact same way except all the food could now be home made and stored in my reusable food pouches.

Weaning pots/trays

With my 1st child I had various pots for weaning from ice cube style trays to individual pots which ended up scattered about the kitchen cupboards and in the freezer. Most were tiny and after the first couple of weeks of "1st tastes" weaning they became pointless as my little ones appetite out-grew the pots. In the end I used small freezer bags with zip lock closures as this was more space efficient and more convenient but so expensive and wasteful. With my 2nd child I filled my prototype pouches with baby food. After 1st tastes a whole pouch could hold 2 meals which I spread over 3 days so I would have 3 different meals on the go and would rotate them ensuring that all were finished by the 3rd day. For example

 

Pouch 1 100g carrot & sweet potato puree

Pouch 2 100g pea, spinach & potato puree

Pouch 3 100g Cauliflower & Broccoli cheese puree

 

Lunch

Dinner

Day 1

50g carrot & sweet potato puree

50g pea, spinach & potato puree

Day 2

50g Cauliflower & Broccoli cheese puree

50g carrot & sweet potato puree

Day 3

50g pea, spinach & potato puree

50g Cauliflower & Broccoli cheese puree

 

I would also do the same with fruit puree’s and feed these with cereals at breakfast or as desserts when my little one still seemed hungry.

3rd stage weaning

As time goes on your baby will happily eat a whole pouch and as their appetite increases so will their dexterity and you will find that you no longer need to make pureed meals for your baby. Whilst out they may be happy to eat sandwiches,  vegetable sticks or pasta dishes. They might even eat food that you can order in a cafe or restaurant.  The pouch can then be used to either transport a homemade pasta sauce or for fruit smoothies and yogurts to give as a healthy dessert. These can be fed directly from the pouch with a little adult supervision at first. It's a great way to ensure that your baby gets the nutrients they need and allows you to relax a little about the nutritional value of the other food they are eating.

From Baby to Toddler

As your baby becomes a toddler the pouches become a really handy item to have in your cupboard. Your little one will be able to feed themselves easily and quickly from the pouch and you will find that you can trust them with a pouch of yogurt or fruit smoothie whilst sat in their buggy or car seat. It really is the ultimate eating on the go accessory for today’s busy and active families. When your toddler goes through an awkward eating stage where they suddenly refuse all vegetables or won't eat whole fruit the pouches can help ensure that they get the vitamins and keep the taste for the foods up. It's amazing what vegetables you can hide in a fruit smoothie!

Filling the Pouches

The pouches are really easy to fill. Place the cap on the pouch and open the pouch so the gusset expands. Hold the pouch in one hand with your thumb at one end of the zip and your index finger at the other end and squeeze so you get a really wide opening. You can rest the pouch on the table as it will stand up on it's own.  Spoon the food in or pour it in straight from the blender depending on the consistency. Once your food reaches the top of the window at the back stop filling and carefully close the zip lock squeezing out any excess air as you go. You can feel it clicking into place as you lock it. It's really strong so don't worry about food escaping.

Labelling food

When using pots for baby food I always struggled to identify what was in the pot. Based on this I designed my pouches with a space to write on the back of the pouch who it belongs to, what’s inside, whether it needs to be kept chilled and/or needs to be re-heated, the date that the pouch was filled and a little reminder to take the pouch home with you. These extra instructions are great for when you send food off to nursery, child minder or the grand parents. 

Storing the Pouches

The pouches stand up in the fridge and therefore take up little space and they really brighten up your fridge! In the freezer you can lie them down flat so they will freeze taking up as little space as possible and then once frozen solid you can line them up in an orderly fashion for easy selection.

When not in use the pouch packs flat so very little storage space is required. I use an old square Tupperware container to keep mine all together after they are dry.

My next invention needs to be a dryer for the pouches as I tend to dry mine on my kitchen utensils!

Long term use

Unlike weaning pots, Reusable Pouches can be used for many years. You can use them initially for weaning and then continue using them at nursery, pre-school and even school.

Why feed your baby home made food?

I have nothing against processed baby food as such but I do feel that homemade baby food really does taste better and tastes more real. Many processed foods are sweetened with apple juice to make them more palatable but that just gets your baby used to sweet tastes. Homemade food tastes like real food. If you puree some carrot and peas it will taste of carrot and peas so your child will grow up knowing what they taste like and recognising the flavours later. To me the whole point of weaning is to get your child eating what you eat (if not better than you!) so starting with real flavours is a great start.

The Nom Nom pouches aren’t exclusively for storing / serving homemade food. You can add a jar of stage 1 or 2 baby food for convenience or add yogurts and store bought smoothies. You could even give custard, mousse or jelly in the pouch! I haven’t tried it yet but you could also put soups in the pouch. I bet my little girl would love some of that famous cream of tomato soup in her pouch (something I wouldn't dare give in a bowl to my messy little madam!).

Baby Led Weaning and Pouches?

The idea behind baby led weaning is that your baby dictates the speed and flavours that they eat. I have every respect for this way of weaning although I chose a mixture of traditional puree weaning along with a good portion of finger foods when I have weaned. Although processed food is not part of the Baby Led Weaning manifest using a pouch does not have to be excluded. The pouch is an implement as much as a bowl and fork. The baby can pick it up themselves and feed themselves so they really do get to lead the way.

Enjoy Weaning

Weaning is a really important part of your baby's development but it should also be fun for you and your baby. Try not to stress over how much your baby is eating or how well they cope with different flavours and textures at first. Some baby's take to solid food quicker than others, some just need to take it a little bit slower. Do keep an eye on their weight and do speak with your health visitor if your baby isn't maintaining his/her weight centile or if you have any concerns over your baby's feeding. 

Further Reading

For further reading on when to wean and what foods you should give to ensure a healthy balanced diet, try the following websites:

http://www.netmums.com/family-food/weaning-guide

http://www.annabelkarmel.com/recipes/category/first-foods

http://www.babyledweaning.com