Things start to get a bit settled down when the baby reaches 5 to 6 months. But here comes the next stage! It is time to start feeding solid food to the baby.
There are so many kinds of commercially available baby food in Japan. Puree? Solid? In a pouch? In a cup? Allergen-free?
Here is a guide on how to choose the best baby food for your baby in Japan.
How to find your perfect baby food in Japan
Choose the type of baby food
There are basically 4 types of baby food available. Each type has pros and cons so choose the one that suits your situation.
1. Jar type baby food
These are baby food that are contained in small jars. They are perfect for taking outside; ready to eat, no mess, small. Note that it does not come with a spoon. Because it is a jar, it is somewhat heavy. Although it is assumed to be consumed in a single meal, if some is left over, you can simply close the lid and keep it in the fridge.
Also, some moms wash and keep the empty jar so it can be reused to carry home-made baby food outside.
2. Pouch type baby food
Pouch type baby food are also ready-to-eat. It is difficult to eat directly from the pouch, so a plate should be prepared beforehand. Many moms use this for eating at home. I always kept a couple extra pouches at home incase I ran out of vegis for my baby. It is flat and light so is perfect for travelling too. Left over food cannot be stored unless you have a plate and a cover for it.
3. Lunch box type baby food
This is my favorite type of baby food to take outside. It comes in two cups; one for staple food (like rice or noodles) and the other for side dish (meat and vegetables). It is ready-to-eat. The best part is that is comes with a small spoon so you can feed your baby anywhere.
It is bigger than the jar /pouch type so you can’t carry many around, but if you are planning to go out with your baby during the day, this type will be perfect.
4. Powder or freeze-dry type baby food
These are better to be used at home because you need hot water and a plate. It is very useful because you can add these to your home-made baby food to improve nutrition, or at busy times of the day. These can also be added to baby food at any stage. They are very light so useful in keeping extra packs at home incase. They can be stored long periods.
I often kept the chicken liver powder and fish meat powder at home to improve iron and protein content of my baby food.
Choose the correct weaning stage
Once you have chosen the type of baby food you want, the most important thing is to choose the baby food that matches your baby’s weaning stage. A 5 month old and a 11 month old baby will be eating different type of food. Younger babies will need to be fed smooth, paste-type (puree) food where as older babies can eat soft but more solid food.
When you look for commercial baby food, check for age categories. Do not give food that is very different from you baby’s age, because it can cause stomach troubles.
Ready-to-eat baby food are available from 5 months old up to over 1.5 years old.
Some baby drinks (like tea) are available for younger stages.
Check for allergens
Sources of allergen are indicated on the package. Make sure you read those labels, especially if it is your first time feeding that ingredient.
Soba allergy might not be familiar to many foreigners. It is not as common as egg or milk allergy, but it can cause serious anaphyliaxis shock for those who are allergic to it (just like peanut allergy).
Commercially available baby food are very useful and can become very handy to take outside or keep at home. Hope this helps!
For information on how to read the labels on baby food packages, please refer to this post!: Guide to understanding baby food labels in Japan