FOR AND AGAINST: TWO 'INDEPENDENT' MOTHERS OFFER THEIR VIEW

Don't give them this gooey mush
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The Independent Online
Although we mothers are constantly assured that formula baby milk and processed baby foods are perfectly safe, there is only one way to be sure of what your baby is really eating and that is to breast feed and to buy and cook the food yourself.

Weaning a baby is a messy and time-consuming business, so the neat little jars of baby food labelled anything from "spring vegetable puree" to "apricot custard" seem an easy and obvious option for the busy mother.

I soon discovered, however, that despite the tempting pictures and words on the labels the contents usually smell and taste disgusting. The baby spits out the gooey mush after a few mouthfuls, the half-full jar is left to rot in the fridge, and the expense quickly mounts.

Although the jars and tins are marketed as convenience food, I think it is just as easy to mash a banana, or to peel and cook a few vegetables and whisk them up oneself. Once cooked, the puree can be spooned into ice-cube trays and frozen, and then used whenever and in as small quantities as you want. Sweet potato mashed with carrot looks, smells and tastes much nicer than cauliflower cheese out of a jar, and my baby thinks so too.

Despite the inventiveness of the food manufacturers, it is also far easier to introduce a baby to the wide range of flavours and foods that an adult eats, by setting aside a few mouthfuls of whatever one is cooking, than to rush out to the chemist to buy another jar of shepherd's pie or rhubarb custard.

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