They are quick, easy and convenient, but a new study has revealed that readymade baby food may not be the best option for your little one.
Researchers from the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Glasgow found that many of those made by popular brands contain high levels of sugar, and do not contain the nutrients that a homemade meal would provide.
Experts looked a total of 479 products from UK manufacturers Cow and Gate, Heinz, Boots, Hipp Organic, Ella's Kitchen and Organix, and nutritional information such as calories, fat, iron and calcium content were garnered from the manufacturers' websites.
Of the items analysed, 79 per cent were ready-made spoonable foods, 65 per cent were sweet, and 44 per cent said they were 'suitable from four months', despite guidelines suggesting babies should be fed only breast or formula milk until six months of age.
The study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, revealed that many of the early weaning foods 'would not serve the intended purpose' of providing extra nutrients or a range of tastes and textures.
In fact, researchers found that babies would need to eat twice the amount of many of these shop-bought products to get similar levels of energy and protein as home-cooked meals, which were much more 'nutrient dense'.
According to the Daily Mail, Rosemary Dodds, senior policy adviser at the National Childbirth Trust, said: "Manufacturers have been dragging their feet, lagging behind current thinking and research evidence that babies don't generally need solid foods before about six months.
"It's time they stopped labelling foods 'from four months'. If babies are spoon-fed pureed fruit and vegetables before this time, it can replace the nutrients from milk."
Did you opt for readymade or home-cooked food for your baby? Leave your comments below...