Jars and pouches vs home-cooked food

What’s best for babies – and mums?

Should you only give your baby food you’ve cooked yourself?

Or is ready-made baby food the only way to go for busy mums? Two mums give their views.


Name: Karyn

Occupation: Journalist and mum

Little one: 1 daughter, Jessica

Karyn says:

“At first, everyone goes into it with the mentality of wanting to be the ideal mum. I got myself a hand-blender and started making things for Jessica, but she only ate food when it was fresh, not when it was defrosted, so I started to think it was a bit of a waste of time and money. Plus, she likes quite a lot of flavour, but all the stuff we eat is chilli-based, which is no good for her.

All the pouches say they’re 100% organic, which reassured me. They are so good nutritionally now, and they have really good combinations – it’s better for her than my cooking which often doesn’t work out! Rather than mushy jars, I tend to go for the meals in tray-type things where the food is like a proper meal.

If I was at home all day with her, maybe I’d do more cooking but it just isn’t practical when you’re working. The other thing is that Jessica has her own routine – if she had her dinner when we eat, she wouldn’t eat until 9 o’clock at night. She has lunch earlier than we do too.

It certainly hasn’t put her off food – she loves it! She’ll eat from our plates and she’s not fussy at all. In fact, I can’t think of anything she doesn’t like…”

Name: Ruth

Occupation: Teacher and mum

Little ones: 2 daughters, Sophia and Eleanor

“Even if the food they put in jars is organic, it’s still going through an industrial process. I didn’t want that for my child, so I decided that everything that went in her mouth would be what I’d cooked myself – I even grow some of my own food and get my organic food box delivered once a week.

I make the food in bulk, so for instance I purée a batch of carrots and freeze it in freezer cube trays. It doesn’t need to be fiddly. When you need them you can just take some out and pop them in the microwave. One of the arguments for making your own weaning food is that it’s also probably cheaper, especially if you make a whole load.

I wanted my children to have international palates and to experience a mixture of tastes and flavours. Prepared baby food is a bit limited in terms of flavours, but you can easily make things like korma and dahl yourself.

So far, they’ve both enjoyed eating most things, although sweetcorn never went down well with Sophie, but she ended up eating nearly everything else I tried.

Cooking your own food is time-consuming, but I’ve made time to do it. I feel so passionate about it. If you make time for cooking for the rest of your family, why not make time for your baby?”

Make your decision on which route to use based on what works best for you and your baby

Jars and pouches vs home-cooked food