I first reviewed the Fill ‘n’ Squeeze homemade food pouches when my son Gabriele was born and I began weaning with home cooked, fresh and healthy meals. At the time I was looking to provide him with plenty of vitamins, fresh fruit, vegetables and optimum nutrition in a healthy and tasteful way. The pouches were great for making up a weeks worth of baby food in one hit and storing it in the fridge ready for each meal time, and as I didn’t have to worry about washing spoons and bowls it became my babybag must have. Now two years on and my son Gabriele is loving his Fill ‘n’ Squeeze just as much as ever.
It is so tempting to give children convenience food when you’re busy, they may have already had their sensible breakfast, lunch or dinner, but always seem to get a mid-afternoon, or post-dinner nibble spree where they beg for something naughty. Every mother knows that a bag of vegetable puffs, miniature cereals, baby biscuits or, dare I say milkie buttons, are a simple easy snack to keep a toddler quiet, but there is no comparison between homemade fresh food, and that from a supermarket shelf. And let’s face it, shop bought food pouches can be very expensive, which is why the Fill ‘n’ Squeeze is a mothers best friend; because no matter what you have in your fruit bowl or fridge you can be sure that you can make a mountain of food pouch combinations, and as I’ve also discovered, toddler treats for a matter of pence. Gabriele just adores fruit, which I prefer him to have over preservative laden desserts and artificial sweeteners. He also enjoys eating yogurts but sometimes struggles to finish the entire pot which can end up pretty wasteful if you add it up over a week.
I had a few bananas looking rather sorry for themselves as they turned ripe in my fruit bowl and decided to make Gabriele a lovely naturally sweet and fruity banana pudding for his pouches. I began by roughly slicing up two ripe bananas, and adding them to a pan of milk with a teaspoon of organic honey. I heated the pan to a boil and simmered the bananas in the milk for several minutes until they were soft and the milk had thickened into the fruit. I then poured the pan into the Fill ‘n’ Squeeze jug, which I’d attached one of the trusty reusable pouches, and used the masher together with the rubber stopper to puree and pump the banana pudding into two pouches. I screwed on their caps and left them on the window to cool before placing them in the fridge. Gabriele had one after his dinner and we’re going to take the other one with us to the park tomorrow when we go for a picnic to celebrate the Easter holidays. And if Gabriele’s eyes are too big for his belly when we’re out and he can’t finish his pouch, you simply replace the cap and put it away for him to finish later on; no waste, no mess and no fuss. I can pop him in his pushchair after he’s had a little run around and he will happily feed himself.
Gabriele is at the age now, of twenty-three months, where he loves to have his own independence. Whether it be drinking from a juice cup or screwing lids onto pots and bottles, simply undoing his food pouches, feeding himself and replacing the cap puts the biggest and proudest smile on his face. It also saves a whole lot of chasing him around with a bowl and spoon only for him to turn his nose up at it, twist and turn his head away and get food all down his chin, neck and clothes. This way he is in control and he gets excited about his food, as he loves pointing at the cute little monkey on the pretty pouches and says “Mumma, ooh ooh mon-key” which is just adorable.
I also find it helpful when I have to go out and Gabriele goes over to this grandparents who aren’t as used to his eating habits and find it difficult to get him to sit still and finish all of his food. I make him up a little lunch box with a food pouch and bottle of water and know that across the day he will happily feed himself and my parents won’t panic over what to give him. It’s just the right size and shape for his little hands to hold, and all of the edges are round and smooth so I don’t have to worry about him cutting his mouth on sharp corners or hard seams like other food packaging. Fortunately he doesn’t have any food allergies, dietary requirements or intolerance’s, but for babies and children who do it’s perfect for ensuring that meals are safe and free from certain ingredients, sugar, additives and halal.
The pouches are super easy to clean, just like a bottle, as I wash them with my dishes in the sink with hot soapy water and allow them to drain dry. The packaging states that they are suitable for cold water sterilisation, can be used in the microwave, bottle warmer and freezer which makes them incredibly convenient for busy modern families. They’re ready for use straight out the box and I bought mine in a pack of ten. You can use the pouches time and time again, as the screw cap makes them resealable, and they flatpack and take up no space in the cupboard at all. There’s also a handy area to write a food label or date so if you make up multiple batches for the fridge and freezer you can keep track on which ones to use first, and you can measure out how much to pump into each pouch as the jug is in ml, for which a full jug will fill four pouches and takes seconds to do. The handy jug works nicely with a hand blender, and so long as you make sure you don’t leave any lumps then it’s safe for all ages and pumps easily providing the paste is moist. I use my plunger to mash up the food in the jug, as I make sure it’s cooked until soft first, and then put on the rubber cover to pump it into the pouches, which saves on rooting through the kitchen drawers for spoons and mashers and utensils. It all comes apart easily and is a breeze to rinse through and clean. I think it’s also really good to know that the company who makes it state that they operate a low carbon footprint, with the pouches being 100% free of Bisphenol-A(BPA), phthalates & lead.
If you love your Fill ‘n’ Squeeze too then get in touch and tell me what your favourite recipes are, how old your little one is and what you find most helpful about it. As parents it makes the biggest difference to find something that saves you time, money and keeps the little ones healthy so that you can get on with being a family and worry less about the mountain of chores and tasks each day. The Fill ‘n’ Squeeze continues to impress my son and I, so it’s certainly worthy of a share!