Readers, I have a terrible, shocking confession to make.
I have all but given up on making meals for S, and a lot of her meals come from packets.
There, I’ve said it. I can hear the gasping from here.
Every time I go to the till in Boots with my basket full of Plum Baby (other brands are available, but S seems to prefer Plum meals mostly) I feel like the World’s Worst Mum, like everyone is looking in my basket and going, “huh, lazy cow can’t even be bothered to make her child some dinner!” I tend to only buy a few at a time so that I don’t look like S has them for every meal, and will always opt for the self-service checkouts at Tesco so that nobody sees what I’m buying. For me, it feels more shameful than buying a copy of the Daily Mail.
Here are my reasons for going down the packet food option:
- Before S even started solids, I was chatting to a friend who said she’d been reading an Annabel Karmel book about weaning, and looking at all these recipes – but she was going back to work, and would quite like the time she spent at home to be spent with her son, not in the kitchen boiling carrots. I’m not back at work… but I am a single mother with a distinct shortage of people volunteering to clean my house for me. And I’m trying to study two OU modules concurrently. So my time is either spent playing with S, cleaning up after S, or doing OU work (or doing this, which almost counts as OU work, since it’s clear avoidance of said work)
- I am picky about which packets I buy. I don’t touch Cow & Gate, and very rarely have Hipp. I tend to stick to Plum, Ella’s Kitchen and Boots Organic – because the list of ingredients is very short, and I can pronounce everything on it. I guarantee you the ingredients in those pouches are of a higher quality than anything I make myself. Can you even buy organic kidney beans in Tesco? I doubt it.
- S is a fan of a particular “4 bean stew” pouch. Seeing that the list of ingredients on the back was fairly straightforward, I purchased said ingredients and made some myself. Genius. Or so I thought. S took one look at the bowl of steaming mush and turned her nose up: “you can’t seriously think I’m going to eat that can you?!” The girl does not like my cooking. And I, for one, cannot blame her. She does, on the other hand, love a particular stage 2 pouch of minted peas and lamb, and is guaranteed to eat the whole pouch every time it’s served up. I know there will be no waste, unlike with the ill-advised 4-bean stew experiment.
- When she can’t tolerate any lumps – a state she reverts back to whenever she is poorly – it’s just easier (and there’s less risk of undetected-lump-induced-gagging) than farting about with a hand blender. As she becomes more able to chew what I feed her, I’m giving her more varied bits – steamed carrot sticks, biscuits, bread sticks, bits of cheese etc – to play with and munch on between spoonfulls of the packet food.
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