Pierre is now six months old so it's the perfect time for him to start trying out new foods. Over Christmas, he got a selection of Plum organic baby food goodies in his stocking (yes, really !) and has been sampling various weird and wonderful recipes ever since. As he's only just trying out his tastebuds for the first time, he has been testing the First Weaning Bundle starter pack, which contains everything you need to make the first tasting sessions a doddle. How's that for a great timesaver ? No need to spend ages painstakingly reading labels in the supermarket and trying to work out which fruits and vegetables to begin with. The products in this pack are all designed for babies aged 4 months and over (although government guidelines and most health professionals advise exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, if possible).
The Starter Pack contains:
1 x Four grain super porridge
2 x Squash and sweet potato pouch
1 x Blueberry, banana and vanilla pouch
1 x Plum, pomegranate and guava pouch
1 x Mango and banana
1 x Spinach, parsnip and basil
1 x Sweetcorn and carrot
The choice of certain ingredients may seem a bit wacky - I'd never have dreamed of using basil in baby's first purees ! - but as you can see, the recipes went down well with Pierre. I started off with the fruity ones - first up, plum, guava and pomegranate. On the first day, Pierre tasted a couple of spoonfuls then shuddered and made funny faces so I stopped, but on day two, he polished off the rest and still wanted more ! He loved all the recipes, even when I switched over to vegetables. There is no way he ever would have tasted some of the more exotic ingredients, like pomegranate, blueberries, guava or squash, if I'd been making my own baby food, because they're not products that we use in our house, so if you're feeling at all guilty about using commercially-manufactured baby food, don't ! Especially as the Plum Baby mentality is so healthy and wholesome.
As they say on their website : "Our mission is to feed babies well, to nourish them, to make every spoonful matter. To be pioneering in our choice of only the very best ingredients and how we use them. We want to create real food for babies - not just baby food. All our recipes tick the taste, nutrition and quality boxes. And if the convenience of them helps you spend a little more quality time with your baby, that is a huge tick in the box!" That is certainly true - I remember seeing a new mum who will remain nameless, determined to give nothing but the best to her baby, spending hours in the kitchen boiling and mashing veggies, while baby sat sobbing to herself in her playpen all morning ! I wanted to say, give her a jar of baby food from the supermarket and go and play with her instead of being chained to the food processor !
Plum Baby was created in 2006, by a mum of three who is passionate about two things in life - children and good food - and who wanted to combine quality and convenience for mums and dads. Mission accomplished ! "The Plum Way" pledges guarantee that you get nothing but the best for your little bundle of mischief (umm I mean joy !) : 1. Above and beyond organic, 2. Responsibly sourced, flavoursome, nutritionally-rich ingredients, 3. No additives or unnecessary fillers, 4. Creating food as parents first and foremost.
I really love the handy pouches, which I find a lot more practical than the usual tubs or jars. Firstly, they take up a lot less room in the cupboard. Secondly, if you're travelling, you don't have to worry about glass jars getting broken in transit. Pierre has been eating the food at room temperature but if you do want to heat them, the shape makes them much easier to warm up in a mug or jug of hot water because you can just squish them to fit whatever recipient you have. They can't be microwaved however. For the early days of weaning, when baby is likely to turn his nose up at whatever you're offering after a few spoonfuls, they're really handy and mess-free. You just squish out a small amount straight from the pouch on to the spoon and pop the rest back in the fridge until next time. They're really handy for feeds on the go too, as the pouch is easier to hold on to one-handed than a jar or tub, if you haven't got a table to hand.
The girls love the fruit purees in tubs too and eat them as dessert. If you make your own smoothies, you can add some to the mix to get the added benefits of tropical fruit or berries rich in antioxidants, even when they're out of season. 4-year-old Juliette even happily polished off the ends of the pouches when Pierre had eaten his fill !
The only thing he wasn't keen on was the porridge, but that's to be expected because of the different texture. I gave him a few spoonfuls made with milk (a great way of using up the leftover breastmilk in the freezer !) but he shuddered and spat it out after two or three spoonfuls. I'll come back to it at a later date when he's experimented a bit more with lumpier food. You can also add it to the fruit purees, which I'm sure would go down more easily too.
I was intrigued to notice on the boxes that all Plum recipes contain quinoa, which they call their "magic grain". The website explains : "We use quinoa in all our recipes. We believe it's the perfect food for your baby - much better nutritionally than rice. It's naturally gluten-free making it easy for babies to digest. It's a fantastic source of protein and a valuable source of minerals and healthy fatty acids. It's also a natural source of Vitamin E and Vitamin B1." Sounds good to me - and another perk that Pierre wouldn't have had if I'd made my own baby food. Definitely zero-guilt at using shop-bought baby food if it's as tasty and nutritious as Plum obviously is.
I'll leave the final word to Pierre himself. As he can't talk yet, it'll have to be these before and after shots that show him going from decidedly unsure to "Yum, give me some more of that Mum" !
star rating : 5/5
RRP : all products can be bought separately but the First Weaning Bundle is £10 online