Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Getting Babies Eating Vegetables With Babease

We started off our weaning journey with baby led weaning. Little’s first food was broccoli and vegetables have always featured pretty highly in her diet. It surprises me how for many babies their first foods are predominantly fruit. It’s not surprising that when moved on to savoury foods, including more bitter green vegetables, they often refuse to eat them. Little had a huge variety of foods in the first few months and she ate all of them. From about 9 months she has been more selective in what she eats, but she still enjoys a good mix of flavours and textures.

A cauliflower, butternut squash and a cauliflower

As Little has got older I have given her increasing numbers of pouches. I am often in a rush and the more food she eats, and therefore less reliant on milk she is, the more I feel the pressure to ensure she has a balanced diet. For the last couple of months Little has been able to suck puree out of pouches which makes them great when we are out. At home when she is hungry and I don’t have anything fresh in I can quickly mix a pouch with pasta or rice to make a tasty meal.

We were sent some Babease pouches to try and I think they are a great concept. They are all dairy free (essential for us), gluten free, great flavour combinations, vegetable based and organic. I love that they are made in the UK and with ingredients sourced in the UK where possible.

A baby sitting in a high chair in the garden holding a Babease pouch with a butternut squash, beetroot and onion on the highchair tray

In the words of Tom Redwood, chef and founder of Babease: “We passionately believe that the exciting journey of food starts from the very first bite.  Our aim has always been to create real food for little ones, encouraging a love for savoury foods right from the start.  We love what we do, bringing our passion for food into our kitchens, sourcing ingredients locally wherever possible and creating recipes that are packed full of flavour.  It’s food for babies, not baby food.”

Current options include: Sweet Potato, Carrot & Cauliflower and Pear & Mixed Berries, with Coconut Water, Brown Rice & Quinoa at stage 1 and Butternut Squash, Quinoa & Beetroot with Onion & Sage and Chickpea, Pumpkin, Tomato & Coconut Cream with Herbs & Mild Masala at stage 2 (7 months plus). Don’t they sound appetising?

Nutritionist Charlie Parker comments:Recent research* indicates that introducing vegetables as first foods and repeated exposure to a wide variety of them during weaning, increases acceptance of these early in life and later into childhood.  Instilling good eating habits early on is crucial for setting a foundation for the future and influencing long term health”. Which makes sense from my experience. Around 6 to 8 months babies will put pretty much anything in their mouths. If they will eat mud, shoes and baby wipes you should be able to find some vegetables they like.

A baby with her mouth wide open and a green plastic spoon with puree on heading her way

I have found that Little is used to pouches being filled with sweet flavoured mush so she was initially confused when I gave her Babease. I tried again later squeezing the pouch into a bowl when she wasn’t looking and preloaded a spoon for her. She happily took the spoon, ate it and asked for more. When she could see the food she wasn't surprised by the flavour. It's a bit like if you pick up your glass of water when reaching for your wine glass!

If you are already struggling to get your baby to eat vegetables, don't worry. Keep introducing different flavour combinations. They might not fancy plain mushed green, but I wouldn't either. Give them whole vegetables to play with or puree like Babease which use herbs and spices to make the food more exciting. Try the foods both cold and warm and lots of different textures. Offer savoury food first when they are hungry, but not when they are so hungry they are already frustrated. A relaxed approach will normally find they start eating.

4 Babease Stage 2 pouches in a staggered line

Babease is currently available from Ocado, Boots, Booths, As Nature Intended, Amazon, or Babease online in the UK or Dunnes Stores and larger Boots in the Republic of Ireland

Disclosure: we were sent a package including Babease pouches to try and review.

* Chambers L, Complementary feeding: vegetables first, frequency and variety, 2016, Nutrition Bulletin, 41: p 142-146 
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