Well in my day.....
This week I was visited by my beautiful aunt. I love spending time with her, she has such a different history to mine, and her life country town life now is still such a juxtaposition to my own city existence.
This was the first time she had met my son, and at nine months, he quickly had her wrapped around his little finger. She was itching to get her hands on him, and play and feed and chat to the little guy, which was fantastic, as I could actually get some things done.
We get along really well, we never argue, fight or even disagree really, so it was a little bit of a shock to me when she asked disdainfully if I was "really feeding him that?" when I pulled out a pouch of Rafferty's baby food.
I looked at the packet, and back at her, not quite sure what she was asking... he was nine months, I was pretty sure it was ok to feed him the beef with veggies and basmati rice Admittedly, he still has an aversion to chewing with his six teeth, but still, he eats it hungrily enough when he realises that there is no chocolate pudding to be had (yes he's that sneaky already!).
But no, that's not what she was saying. "Are you really going to feed him that stuff out of a packet? In my day, we just fed our kids what we were eating" with the implication being I was doing the wrong thing.
I dismissed it after she said it, getting on with our day and enjoying her company, but it has been eating away at me a little bit, and I started to think about why I choose to use pouch food (and why the comment upset me).
1.It's easy. When our little boy started eating solids, I had my bored, ready for school five year old at home all the time, my house in pieces (as it still is now) renovating, and a partner who was getting into a new year of running his own business and everything that comes with that. I started out making my own steamed and blended foods, freezing and thawing them as needed, but it was time consuming, hard to keep track of, and it was hard (to find room in the freezer). A couple of quick trips to the supermarket when the child was screaming for food convinced me the easy and convenient pouches were the way to go for us.
2.Variety. He has been able to try a whole lot of different flavours without me having to cook them all. The first time he tried the apricot chicken he hated it. It took a couple of months to come around, but now it's one of his favourites. I think it would have been extremely disheartening and kind of depressing if I had actually cooked, portioned out, frozen and thawed a whole batch of apricot chicken and he spat it out the first few times he ate it.
3.Organic (sometimes). Depending on what brand I was buying, I knew that I could get organic food to feed my little guy. I like to eat clean as much as the next person, but the cost of every day shopping and organic produce is prohibitive. At least with the pouch food, I know that I can provide organic foods for his first foray into the world of solids.
4.Clean - this is a massive one. I would pay double (well maybe not double) for the amount of washing up and half eaten containers of homemade food left in my car, and changes of clothes that pouches saves me.
I think I have had a lot of mother guilt over this one. But after examining the reasoning behind my choice, I'm ok with it. So next time I get a "look", or a disapproving "hrummph", I'll be smiling and opening another pouch, maybe even the chocolate custard.