jetsetgreen

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Things I Don't Get : Gerber Baby Food

Huh?


What's the deal with commercial baby food?


Then again, what's the deal with 'baby food' period?


.

50 comments:

FoxyJ said...

Amen! Considering what meat does to a baby's diaper I really wonder why people are in such a hurry to give it to their kids. Blending up a "turkey dinner" like that is just plain freaky...

Azúcar said...

If you were going to feed a baby "turkey dinner," why wouldn't you just feed them, I don't know, turkey dinner?

Same with the other jarred foods?

¡Explicame eso!

FoxyJ said...

Yeah, if they don't have teeth to chew turkey, why feed it to them? I just give my kids pureed fruits and veggies or yogurt or cereal--you know, food for people without teeth. Pureed dinners are just scary.

Azúcar said...

But why pureed foods, period? If a baby is old enough to eat food, shouldn't baby eat food?

eryka said...

You would die seeing the baby food in Spain. It's super scary.

My guy is loving real food. Thanks for your post and links to articles on my blog.

Amelia said...

Your blog is hilarious. Jarred baby food is so slimy.... I know moms who are so proud when their 5 month old baby will eat like 4 jars of spaghetti and meatballs at lunch time. something just seems wrong with that.

~j. said...

Though I don't purchase the "dinners", only the fruits or vegetables alone, and not to be a downer here, but for me, it's the choking. When you know a baby who has died from choking, well...pureed doesn't seem so bad.

jennie w. said...

Surely you don't expect me to puree my own fruits & veg for my toothless little guy! I tried making my own baby food once. Once. Much easier to throw a few jars in my shopping cart. Although I will smash up a banana.

Rynell said...

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that this stuff is for people who insist on feeding their kids "dinners" such as this before they are (dentally or otherwise) ready. They may forget the whole milk before meat idea.

I have been known to zap some fruit or vegetables in a food processor for a very zealous little eater or mine before he was ready for the solid produce.

Chief Momma said...

Funny how timely this post is for me. They had me put my baby on baby food because he wasn't gaining weight. Well I did it and nothing changed, he spit that up to. The only thing I noticed was that he was waking up in the middle of the night in extreme gas pains and we couldn't console him or get him to toot/burp (tmi). Well, I decided to take him off the food and he's gaining weight and not waking up in the middle of the night in pain.

Goobit said...

I was all about the pureed baby food for the 6-10 month age. I had great fears of my baby choking, which he did (on paper from a board book - but he's fine and luckily I knew infant CPR). But before they know how to chew, I thinki it's great. And easy, especially because I work full time and have no time to puree my own food. I barely have time to make dinner. But I'm vegetarian, so I think pureed meat is nasty.

April said...

"What's the deal with commercial baby food?"

Sorry, but I just couldn't help hearing Jerry Seinfeld's voice.

Amy said...

I'm really liking this "Things I Don't Get" series. More please.

Maybe Lean Cuisine should start a line of "Adult Food." Sounds racy, no?

Azúcar said...

To prevent choking: cut up the food into smaller pieces, cheerio size. Or, leave a handle on it, like broccoli. Step 3, supervise.

I also find that people confuse gagging with choking.

If they can't chew, if they can't actually get the food to their mouths themselves, wouldn't that signal that they are physiologically not ready for solids anyway?

Fig said...

What's up with those weird little pickled wieners, is what I want to know.

Azúcar said...

Vienna sausages? GOOD QUESTION.

ClistyB said...

I will cop to a jar of sweet potatoes in the bathtub before rub-a-dub time. I didn't ever buy the other stuff....and until now I kept it a secret because I felt like a bad mom for not doing so.
I am finished with babies now but I would be tempted to buy that new baby food in the fridge area. Because I am a sucker for packaging.

Fig said...

Viennas, yeah, and I think they have special ones just for babies. My MIL eats them (the ones for babies) (and the regular ones too).

Queen Scarlett said...

I did the veggie and fruit stuff too. The meat stuff scares me...and gerber does too... I liked the organic ...or if my market didn't have the organic kind the beechnut ones... I taste everyone one of those suckers before I put in my baby's mouth. If I can't eat it why make them.

My babies needed the food (pureed) so that they wouldn't be hungry all the time. I'm a massive milk producer to begin with and well - they are hungry alligators. The food for my kids helped them sleep through the night. Plus...I know I could do the puree thing myself - but frankly it came down to if getting a shower or pureeing veggies was the best route...I just picked shower. They do have a problem at that stage where they are hungry...they have no teeth. So the baby food works for me. ;-)

ps. Gagging reflex always scares the doo doo out of me... I always think they're going to choke. My husband talks me down from the ledge but still ... makes me freak.

Azúcar said...

The teeth thing--the first teeth we get are our front teeth, and you don't chew with those. The teeth we use to chew with, molars, are the very last to arrive. Most children have been eating solids way before they get molars.

Think of it like this: put a cooked carrot between two boards, press and twist the boards together, tada! Teeth have nothing to do with eating table foods.

ClistyB said...

Azucar you are keeping your composure....but I sense that it is becoming very hard to do so

Azúcar said...

Nope, it's not hard at all, I'm not heated one bit. Tone is really difficult to read online.

Bek said...

I guess I have to be the voice of dissent here. I have a baby that is officially "failure to thrive" and absolutly refused to chew food. She also didn't get her teeth until just a few months ago (she is 20 months now). I don't know what we would have done with out it.

While I agree that the stuff looks (and smells) icky, she LOVED it (esp the turkey dinner..). For some reason, she would let us shovel in as much of the smooth jarred stuff as we wanted, but the MINUTE something with texture crossed her lips, it was over. The lips didn't open again. She won't even eat the fruit chunks in the yogurt (silly kid, that is the best part). Their are lots of calories in the stuff that isn't just veggies or fruit and that is what we go for.

I know it isn't for everyone, but for some people this stuff is great. If you have a good eater, bravo. You are lucky. My other kids were eating ribs and sushi by her age. I think it is like formula, for those out there that need it, we are glad to have it... But my other kids loved it too. I loved that it was easy to pack around. I am not the type to make my own baby food. I must admit, it is a huge relief when the babies start eating table food.

Also, she LOVES those chicken sticks. When I was first pregnant, the smell made me want to scream, but for some reason, they break up really soft and she didn't mind the texture (the baby ones are a bit softer than the vienna sausages)....

Anyway, not that I disagree with the concept, but this is one mamma that is glad to have jarred baby food.....

~j. said...

I understand what you're saying, bek. I've had some picky-with-texture kids, too (though not failure to thrive, just held on to soft foods longer than others, and that's been fine by us). And I don't confuse gagging with choking. In fact, had their gag reflexes functioned properly, those two babies I knew wouldn't have choked, even with the supervision they both had during their incidents (kinder than saying "when they died.").

Maybe I'm off on this last point, of being able to bring food to their own mouths signaling they're ready to eat table food: babies bring things to their mouths long before they're ready to eat. Most things they can grab they'll try to put into their mouth so they can identify it. I've even seen ultrasound images of my kids putting their fingers in their mouth, but that doesn't mean they're ready to eat table food. The reason that kids are fed the pureed stuff is, as far as I'm concerned, to avoid the mess, not because they're not capable of putting food in their mouth.

Azúcar said...

Hey, it doesn't work for everyone, and there are always exceptions. I'm not here to say that you have to do
x,y,z; I am not your child's parent.


I just can't help but wonder why Gerber is so revered, it is almost sacred. I mean, Gerber hasn't always been around, I have yet to read one pioneer journal that talks about stopping at the Piggly-Wiggly to get a couple jars.

So what did we do before Gerber? Why do so many people think it's the only option, the only way?

Tonya G. said...

I think that baby food scares me.

It's just one more step in feeding our children overly processed foods. Some moms are conscientious about what they feed their kids including baby foods (it sounds like your friends are that way) but for others I think it's the gateway to developing a taste for processed food.

Azúcar said...

~J, you're right, they do bring things to their mouths before they're ready for solid foods.

I think the difference is that a baby who is ready will actually eat the food, gumming it and swallowing it; while a baby that's not will push the food out of their mouth with their tongue and not actually eat it. (You know, with some of the cases like Bek's being an exception.)

La Yen said...

I get where you are coming from on this--And here I go disparaging your mid-century--I blame the 1950s.

Our grandparents were so freaking thrilled with the convenience that it stuck, I think. I bet that there are grandmas and great-grandmas out there that would be HORRIFIED to find us pureeing our own baby food. Because "canned is better." (My grandma would.) The whole concept of food companies putting dollars before nutrition was (and still is, to many) inconceivable then. Kind of the same notion of doctors prescribing W's grandma to smoke two cigs a day, for stress relief.

And I know that my great-grandmother breast fed, cow fed, and then "mush" fed the babies until they could eat bread and cooked veggies from the table. But that was Kanab, so...

As for me, I used a lot of the jarred foods simply because I wanted her to eat a variety, and there is no way I am eating peas. Or mangos. Or half of the stuff I fed her. With another one, I would do more pureeing, but I am still going to buy the jars of crap I am not going to make myself!

La Yen said...

One more thing-- I think that the we have to be careful to avoid a complete backlash on the "return to pureeing" or whatever movement. Inner city, poverty-ridden moms are doing a great service to their kids by giving them veggies, no matter where they come from. And here, in the EP, our fresh produce is pretty gnarly, and canned is much better than a lot of the fresh that is available to me. So rather than a mom feel all worthless because she loves the Gerber, remember that it is better than nothing. (Which is not the debate you intended, but I'd hate to see a repeat of the great boobie vs bottle debate of aught-seven.)

k.m. said...

i've think i remember reading a few posts here about what your kids were doing with food products while very unsupervised... ;)

lots of things haven't always been around. but we live in a time where we have a lot of choices based on our own lifestyle. i don't think everyone thinks gerber's the only option, because everyone isn't completely clueless, believe it or not. i think based on their living situation/ priorities they make a choice.

i fed my girl whole foods, but only because i had the time/ inclination to do so. i wouldn't feel less of a mom if i bought gerber.

Azúcar said...

k.m., you’re right, 100%.

I guess I’m hoping that people have thought about it, as my friends apparently have. However, I have met some people who haven’t, they didn’t even think there was another option, or even worse, they feel guilty because they’re not using commercial baby food. If you’ve decided that it’s for you, and for your kids, hey, go for it.

Yen, I was just thinking as I posted this that in areas where you can’t get whole produce and foods, commercially jarred food is a good option (in my mind the windswept tundra of Antarctica came to mind, because I’m overly dramatic.) And hey, there are a lot of times where frozen or canned are a better option than fresh for a multitude of reasons. I love your point about feeding it to her because you wouldn’t eat it yourself, that makes me laugh.

Mary said...

My kids were babies in the 80's and I used very little Gerber. I either mashed it myself or waited until they could handle regular food. I used the "mother bird" method on occasion. They got mostly breastmilk for the first year. I really didn't think about it a lot. The stuff in jars just seemed unnecessary and expensive.

Marge Bjork said...

what's the deal with the girls I went to high school with eating baby food...when we were in high school?

Azúcar said...

The frozen tundra of North Dakota?

Geo said...

I inherited a killer spice cake recipe from my mom and the secret ingredient is baby food prunes.

The Daredevil Mom said...

We always used to get baby food in our Christmas stockings. Family tradition...long story. In college, I would sometimes buy baby food "desserts" as a comfort food snack. They don't sell "desserts" anymore. I guess they had too much sugar. :)

jennie w. said...

I used to buy those teething biscuits way into my teens. I just love a cookie that lasts 15 minutes!

b. said...

One of our pediatricians sneaks into our kitchen at work, late night after the afterhours clinic. He warms himself up a couple of bottles of formula and pours it into a bowl of baby rice cereal and eats it. He totally DIGS it!! His eyes roll into the back of his head and everything.

Eliza said...

I have some issues with processed food in general too, although I sometimes eat it myself (and feed it to my 15-month-old) for convenience. I definitely fed him baby food from jars occasionally when we were traveling, but the rest of the time I pureed what I was eating.

Then I got really sick of that, and also really sick of spoon-feeding. Boring! When my toddler was 6 months old or so I stumbled across Baby-Led Weaning. Probably the same ideas you are talking about, and it was a surprise to me that I could be giving him "real" food that he could deal with on his own. Anyway I did this and really loved it. He has never choked or gagged on anything; got 2 bottom teeth at around 6 months and the top ones came in around 10 months. I can see if I had experience with choking babies I'd be more wary.

It's funny, he's actually pickier now than he ever was when I first started feeding him "real" food. He'd eat anything I gave him up until about 12 months, when he started showing preferences. And I am with La Yen, there are lots of foods I just don't eat, for no reason other than I just never have, so I started experimenting in the produce aisle myself in the name of variety for him. I think it was good for both of us. Although he actually still eats more fruit than I do. That's probably bad.

Now I am tired and the novelty has worn off somewhat and I have to force myself not to give him macaroni and cheese every day. I hope in general though that I am teaching him good eating habits. Who knows.

Baby cereal is disgusting, although I still mix it into soups and stuff that I give my toddler. He doesn't seem to mind.

Eliza said...

Lame, all of a sudden I can't do links. Maybe this will work: Baby-Led Weaning

~j. said...

b. - how can you discreetly spill who that pediatrician is???

Azúcar said...

I'm dying to know as well. Would make sense why some of them push rice cereal like it's going out of style...

Eliza--that's exactly what we do. It was Gill Rapley's research that initially validated my inclinations. It's interesting how everything old is new again.

You might be interested in more on the mythology surrounding introducing solids.

Emily said...

Why don't they make pear sauce for adults? Mmmm.

b. said...

I'll whisper his name in the "wind".

Olivia said...

i had no idea that you could feed a baby real food!
when i was little i got jealous of how delicious the foods listed ont he baby food jar sounded (where's MY peach cobbler?!) so i snuck a jar for myself, hid in the bathroom, took a bite, and discovered it tasted like flavorless paste.

Rynell said...

b.-- I sure love to know which "wind" you're referring to, there are two if I am not mistaken...

I am very impressed or surprised or something...45 comments on baby food! Life is always exciting here.

Michelle said...

I love your Things I don't get! I agree about the baby food I tried it with my first and she didn't take too well to it so with my second child we didn't do gerber baby food at all. And she was just fine. I don't think many other folks around the world use jarred baby food- and it's gross and my girls understood that at an early age.

Ryan and Susie said...

Ok, so I didn't read any of the previous comments b/c there were almost 50...holy crap.

I don't get it either. All you need is a food processor and a freezer. It will save you tons of money and your baby will actually enjoy his meal. Nothing against Gerber, I'm sure their meals are made with tender loving care and are healthy and low in sodium. However, the only baby food I've ever been able to get my kids to swallow is sweet potatoes, carrots and peaches. They were starting to look like oompa-loompas so I had to try a new strategy. The only reason I keep baby food on my shelf is to look like a responsible Mormon women with an adequate supply of baby food storage. However, my collection of jars is looking pretty sparse lately considering each month I have to throw away more and more due to past expiration. But hey, it's all about the image, isn't it?

Sue said...

Well, DUH, the deal is that I was LAZY. And my baby ATE it. Really though, looking back - I don't know. It was just - a milestone. Feed the baby food = exciting. I think we fed her the baby food for a month or something before it dawned on us that - HEY, she can eat FOOD!

By the time my third got old enough to try out solids I was much more jaded. I just threw him a hot dog.

La Yen said...

I asked my grandparents and they said that they did feed Gerber to the babies. Why? They responded: Because we were lazy.

But that their folks just gave them table food.