Heinz has announced another recall of a jarred baby food, this time Sweet Potato and Beef Medley. Recommended for 8 months and up. Looking at the pictures, it looks like a puree but is probably lumpier.
My first thought is "Ewww. Who buys this for their baby?". Oh, wait...I probably did. Although I could cook a nice sweet potato, I never got smooth pureed meats.
My next thought is "Food before one is just for fun; breast milk is the primary source of nutrition." Well, we're supposed to say "Breast milk or formula" but statistics say more babies are formula fed at this age then breastfed. But if we're trying to make breastfeeding "normal", then people shouldn't be adding "or formula". It's already assumed, so let's leave it out.
However, formula is expensive and many parents want to get their kids on "solids" as quickly as possible. Current recommendations are no solids before six months, and then basically anything except raw honey, and if you have allergies in the family, avoid the allergens. This is not to replace breast milk though. It's in addition to.
A current "trend" is baby lead weaning. It's not weaning in the sense of taking two weeks to get your baby off the breast or bottle. It's more like baby lead "introduction" to solids. The idea is that you can offer bite sized pieces of real, human food that you would eat, and if your baby is ready, they will eat it. If they're not ready, they won't eat it.
Think back. Waaaaayy back. Back before the commercialization of parenting. What did mothers do? Take a piece of their food, squish it, flake it, chew it, etc and give it to their baby. They didn't have the option of pureed chicken or dried cereal in a box. Why have we fallen prey to the big companies that make us think we're wrong if we don't serve rice flakes or veal Parmesan that looks like something the cat barfed up?
I'm in some Frugal Parenting groups on Facebook. These are geared more to giving away unneeded items, but every day people ask questions about parenting, and not always with a frugal mindset. Like, "What age can I start cereal, baby is 3 months old now". As well as waiting till six months for the biological reasoning of stomach enzymes, I suggest that waiting till six months is also frugal because you can skip cereals and serve real foods. And you'll also save money on cleaning baby clothes LOL.
Yet so many parents are insistent their baby needs infant cereal! Pablum was created by the Hospital for Sick Children during the Great Depression for babies that were malnourished. It's less than 100 years old, a tiny speck in the millions of years of human evolution. Is your baby malnourished? Even if so, there are much better options. Rice, in particular is a crappy food, without much actual nutrition, and it has great negative socio-economic and environmental impacts on tender cultures around the world. These cereals are "fortified" so parents think that's a good thing. What that means is that the natural minerals and vitamins were stripped away during processing (this IS a processed food!) and (lab made versions) were added back in. The %RDA listed is not accurate because these minerals and vitamins are harder to absorb.
It's OKAY to skip baby cereal, and jarred foods, and those pouches. Don't be a media push over. If your great grandma didn't use it, you can survive without it too. Somethings might just make life easier, but it's not a "need". But is also okay to give cereal! I would stay away from rice and wheat though. Why start your baby out on a carb heavy diet when we know it's not healthy for adults? A little homemade oatmeal is nice though (once in a while).