Today I had a red mist moment and decided war needed to be declared on baby food pouches. Speaking to a mum about her 8-month and catnapping of quite frankly ridiculous proportions. Spending an hour of my Sunday discussing and problem-solving this extreme catnapping of 10-minute day naps. To finally be told she was feeding her baby food pouches during the day.

I swore. I was totally furious. Not at the mum but at the food companies producing these food pouches. We have a whole generation of babies and children addicted to them. They are like cupboard drugs and a lot can hardly be described as a meal replacement. At best the dessert and breakfast options are a sugar hit. I am growing to despise them with an intensity that surprises even me. Parents think they are healthy because they have labels on them such as organic. Oh, these companies are so very clever. They are preying on time-poor parents and fooling them into thinking they are giving healthy food.

baby food pouchesIt’s about time I had my soapbox moment. I have allowed it to be swept under the carpet for far too long. Enough.

Most meals need to have a good amount of carbohydrates and protein to help sleep. The food also needs to be calorie dense with plenty of fat to help brain growth. Did you know that 80% of your baby’s brain is formed by the age of 2 years and it’s mainly made of fat so it makes sense that food needs to be calorie dense with plenty of fat to help that brain grow as well as help to reduce baby sleep problems?

The ratio I talk about to help sleep is one-third of protein and one-third of low glycemic carbohydrates.

baby food pouchesHere’s what Choice has to say on these baby food pouches aka kitchen cupboard drugs: https://www.choice.com.au/babies-and-kids/feeding-your-baby/first-foods/articles/packaged-baby-snacks

I had a read of the offending food pouch the little baby had eaten and didn’t sleep and it only contained 7% carbohydrates in the form of organic oats. The rest was fruit puree. How exactly is a baby of over 6 months supposed to sleep off fruit puree I ask you??!? Exactly. So here it is my name and shame list of food pouches that are least likely to help babies sleep. And beware the first ingredient named as that’s the one there is MOST OF in the pouch.

Here is a list of the least nutritious baby food pouches to help baby sleep

  • Farex creamy baby porridge 6 month + – 31% full cream milk, 31% apple juice, water, 14% oats, 3% wheat bran – why is there 31% fruit juice??? how is that going to help sleep and why not put pureed the whole apple in?? At 17% it’s too low in carbs at 17% total
  • Heinz Chicken, Sweetcorn & Mango – Vegetables, Water, Mango (15%), Chicken (10%), Rice, Cornflour, Coconut (1.0%), Spice – only 10% protein – WOW way too low, and doesn’t say how much rice. This should be brown rice but I’ll bet it isn’t. No wonder babies are not sleeping:-(
  • Heinz Pumpkin, sweetcorn and broccoli – Pumpkin (63%), Sweetcorn (16%), Water, Broccoli (4.5%), Quinoa (1.7%), Cornflour. Water is added for cooking and to ensure appropriate texture. .Now, where is the protein? Hello, protein are you hiding somewhere? No? Oh, they forgot to put you in!! Nooooooo. The only saving grace is the high carb at 63%. Another sleep disaster.
  • Heinz simply vanilla custard – Water, Full Cream Milk (25%), Sugar, Cornflour, Unsalted Butter, Cream, Natural Vanilla Flavour. Oh dear me it doesn’t get any better…I like the full cream milk and the cream, a good %age but where are the carbohydrate and some fruit? Que????? As Manuel would say in Fawlty Towers. Exactly Manuel, Que???
  • Heinz summer fruits gels – Fruit Juice, Vegetable Gums, Vitamin C, Food Acid (Potassium Citrate). Oh dear me…this is tragic. It’s like giving SUGAR to your baby. This has nothing good about it. Too sad:-(

Here is a list of the better food pouches for baby sleep

  • Rafertys garden organic banana porridge – 96% Whole Oat Flour 4% Banana Flakes Electrolytic Iron – Much better at 96% carbs but where are the protein and only 4% fruit??? And I’d like to see cream for brain growth.
  • Rafertys garden Banana & Apricot Multigrain baby breakfast cereal – 44.2% Whole Oat Flour 44.2 % Brown Rice 8.9% Banana Flakes 2.7% Apricot Flakes Sunflower Lecithin Electrolytic Iron – a whopping 97% carbs, excellent but again where is the protein? And calorie dense?? And a measly 2.7% banana flakes:-( Banana’s are great for sleep but I’m not sure that 2.7% will make much of a difference!
  • Rafertys beef casserole (10 months +) – 37% Tomato Puree, Cooking Water, 11% Macaroni Pasta (Durum Wheat Semolina), 10% Carrots, 9% Beef 7% Onions 6% Diced Tomatoes 0.5% Herbs 0.2%Garlic Contains Gluten from Wheat – Only 9% protein, way too low and only 11% carbs, again way too low to help your baby sleep. And not calorie dense.
  • Bellamys organic broccoli, beef and brown rice – organic brown rice (19%), water (18%), organic broccoli (15%), organic beef (12%), organic carrot (10%), organic onion (9%), organic apple (9%), organic low salt soy sauce (soybeans, wheat, salt, water)(4%), organic garlic, ginger, & “Chinese” five spices (Szechuan pepper, star anise, fennel, clove, cinnamon)(2%), organic vegetable oil (2%). Total organic ingredient = 100% – protein way too low at 12%, carbs 19%, oh dear 🙁 
  • Rafertys garden banana, pear and mango yoghurt – Yoghurt (83%) [Milk, Sugar, Cream, Milk Solids, Live Cultures (inc. probiotics acidophilus and bifidus)], Pear (9.3%), Banana (6.0%), Mango (1.7%). Provides 83mg of calcium per serving and 93mg per 100g (average quantity). Good amount of yoghurt however if they’d added oats the sleeping potential would be much better. Yoghurt isn’t great for sleep. And 17% fruit, a bit measly.

So hopefully I’ve got you all thinking. I’m not saying abandon all baby food pouches but look at what exactly is in them. You may need to add some extras of your own to help it have sufficient nutrients to reduce your baby sleep problems. However, if you do make most of your own food you can help your baby sleep MUCH BETTER by controlling the ratio of protein and low glycemic carbohydrates and adding some extra calories to help baby’s brain grow, rest and sleep much better. After all, sleeping baby = happy mama 🙂 Or make your own healthy food pouches? There are a few companies out there doing the pouches now.

Further reading: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/home-cooked-meals-not-healthier-than-prepackaged-food-for-young-children-uk-study-20160719-gq98we.html

Learn more on my blog about diet and its effects on sleep 

Yoghurt Can Sabotage Baby & Toddler Sleep

No cook purees – Ideas aplenty