Have you ever tried one of the products from the baby food aisle? Those ubiquitous sweet potato puffs, or "flavored air," as we like to call it in our house? Nearly all of them are completely devoid of flavor, just sweet enough to be palatable to little ones who apparently can only taste sugar, and scientifically designed to make everything in a two mile radius sticky. Us moms still spend a fair share of our time in that aisle, though, despite the lies the baby food aisle is telling us about feeding our kids.
Honestly, I tried to avoid the baby food aisle as much as possible, opting to go through baby-led weaning instead. However, having a foster child with a WIC card (and a daughter just 10 weeks older with some serious food FOMO) meant I spent more time perusing and purchasing from the baby food aisle than I ever intended. Once you're in that dreaded aisle, it's really quite captivating. You begin to believe whatever the marketing companies want you to believe, and start to buy into the idea that your child should (and would) only eat puffs and dried yogurt bites until they're 5 years old.
I'll forever be grateful for the snacks that got my family through flights and road trips with babies, but I had to remind myself on a pretty frequent basis that most of what you learn in the baby food aisle should be taken with a grain of salt. Literally, sometimes, because that stuff is bland AF!
My Baby Needs Special Food
All those products shouting down at you from the brightly colored packaging in the baby food aisle, claiming you need all these special (and possibly made-up) nutrients? Yeah, just no. My child doesn't need whatever element you've distilled from chia seeds inserted into her oatmeal. She needs real food.
My Baby Will Only Eat Vegetables If They're Paired With Fruits
No they do not, especially when they're things like sweet potatoes, which are, by definition, sweet. They don't need to be paired with even sweeter fruits in order to make them palatable to little people. I opted for the straight up green beans or peas and carrots and, honestly, they were surprisingly sweet anyway.
I Should Pay More For Flavored Air
Those damn puffs were the bane of my existence in those first few months when my daughter was eating solids. It annoyed that she preferred the expensive, and what can only be described as, barely flavored air over much more economical Cheerios.
I Need More Equipment
Like those suction cup bowls (which I bought, but my daughter figured out how to undo the suction cup on the first try), or spoons that dispense baby food. Just because it's in the baby food aisle, doesn't mean you need it. Keep it simple because, honestly that food is going to end up on your walls no matter what.
My Baby Can't Handle Strong Flavors
Absolutely false. My daughter can and does enjoy strong flavors in her food, thank you very much.
In fact, I think she likes those stupid flavorless puffs because of the texture, and because there's probably a certain satisfaction to being able to get them from her tray into her mouth. She does not, I am almost positive, like them because they're perfectly bland and great for developing her taste buds.
I Have To Buy More Sippy Cups
There's something so compelling about the sippy cup section, and for months I almost always went home with a new one. You do not need more sippy cups. Unless, of course, your baby won't drink from any of the ones you've brought home previously. In which case, I say feel free to stock up.
My Toddler Can Only Eat Pasta
Or so you'd think, according to the baby food aisle, where 99 percent of the baby foods seem to be pasta oriented.
My Baby Will Love Pureed Meat
I just couldn't bring myself to choose one of the meat-flavored baby foods. It was just too gross. Although, ironically and hypocritically, my daughter now loves hot dogs, which are barely any better.
My Kid Needs The Food Her Favorite TV Characters Endorse
Television characters are splashed across half the baby food aisle, and they're only on the junk we desperately reach for in order to keep the baby in the cart from freaking out and throwing the celery out of the cart. It may have less sugar or sodium than snacks we feed ourselves, but it hardly has less marketing.