UPDATED! Can You Set The New York Times and Psychology Today Straight about Free-Range Parenting?

Readers — In today’s New York Times there’s an article about a new type of food product: a pouch parents can give their kids to suck, rather than making them go through all the rigamarole of, you know, eating food from a plate. Or even a bun. Or even chewing.

Putting aside my feelings about the product, I was shocked to read the inventor’s explanation for why a feeding tube…er, sorry, pouch…is suddenly necessary for kids:

Mr. Grimmer believes the pouch’s popularity can be attributed to the emergence of a new way of relating to our children. He calls it “free-range parenting.”

Parents, he explained, want to be as flexible as modern life demands. And when it comes to eating, that means doing away with structured mealtimes in favor of a less structured alternative that happens not at set times, but whenever a child is hungry.

What Mr. Grimmer is selling, he said, is a way to facilitate that: mobile food technology for the modern family. “It’s on-the-go snacking, on-the-go nourishment,” he said. “It moves with kids and puts the control in their hands.

The article goes on to talk about how kids are so structured that they have no TIME to eat a real meal, so this is a lovely “free-range” alternative. For his part, the reporter adds that he gave his daughter, under age 4, a pouch to suck after her gymnastics class, and another on the way to a party because somehow lunch got skipped.

I feel for the guy. His toddler is already so over-booked there’s no time to stop and eat  the carrots. But to think that is “Free-Range” is so, so, sooooo wrong my brain is turning into a  pouch of plum-spinach mush.

In fact, Free-Range Kids believes just the opposite: We are all for giving kids a chance to do things on their own — play, walk to school, spend an afternoon just drawing on the sidewalk — which in turn gives us parents a chance to do things on our own, too, including get out of the car. Maybe even make a meal. Or have the kids make a meal.

We have to stop this misconception of Free-Range as harried chauffeurs before it grows. Already a  Psychology Today blogger has written a piece about “The Perils of Free-Range Parenting,” which goes on and on about how SHE doesn’t believe kids should make their parents give them snacks instead of  meals. Moreover, SHE doesn’t think kids should be the ones to decide whether or not they’re going to sit in the car seat, or what time they go to bed.

Lady — neither do we!

“Free-Range” is not a (depleting, exhausting) lifestyle.  It’s just the conviction that kids today are safer and more competent than our culture tells us they are. That’s why we can give them  responsibility AND freedom — and not schlep and schedule up the wazoo, to the point where they have to suck their meals in between appointments. Can someone please drop these folks a line and tell them that? – L

For kids too busy to digest a Cheerio.

UPDATE!! Look at this lovely piece by the Pscyhology Today blogger, Dina Rose, realizing that Free-Range does NOT mean “Let kids do whatever they want while we cater to their every whine” parenting. Kudos for the correction, Dina, and welcome!! – L

169 Responses

  1. I see your gripe with the article, but just want to say… I have a 1 year old and I LOVE these pouches. They DO help with some free range principles because I can more easily let him feed himself, and it’s easier for him to decide when he’s done. Eventually I’ll have to stop being lazy and let him go all chaos with a spoon, but for now it lets me give him just a little bit more independence then feeding him myself.

  2. Sigh

  3. I use some pouches like that! It’s not a free range thing, though. It’s a busy-mom-trying-to-do-all-the-parenting-in-a-few-hours thing. If I can save a half hour by having the kids eat in the car, why not do it? If I insisted on having a sit-down meal every night, we would have to eliminate some valuable activities. I think sit-down meals are great, but I don’t think they have to be every night.

  4. I don’t get the pouches, honestly, but my baby/toddler days are behind me. Sadly, though, as a preschool teacher of children aged 3 to 5, I see these pouches in lunches every single day. I’m sorry, preschool children can use a damn spoon to feed themselves, and it will cost their parents so much less money to simply put some applesauce in a bowl in their lunchbox.
    Sorry for the tangent. It’s obvious that the writers of these articles are clearly misunderstanding FRP!

  5. I wonder if the label, Free Range Parenting, is being used as a market tool to sell their product.

  6. We know people who eat in the car, and do homework on the fly….

    I guess we’re a bit different; I personally believe in “do one thing and do it well”. I’ve never been a fan of the “well rounded child” that gets shuffled from ballet to karate to hockey to …… and ends up stressed and disappointed because they never have time to actually succeed in anything.

    My kids swim. That’s it. They swim because the swim club is within walking distance of our house, and they love swimming. Maybe if we lived within walking distance of a wonderful fencing hall they’d be fencers, I don’t know.

    @SKL, as a single parent I can see how harried your life can be, and all power to you.

    We’re fortunate that we are “traditional”; my wife works out of the house and my job lets me be home by 4-4:30 most days. So for us these pouches make no sense. Also, because of our cultural background, dinner is sacrosanct. We have dinner together, at the dinner table, unless one of us is out of the house. It’s our time to reconnect and talk about our plans as a family and our individual achievements and worries and just get goofy and stupid.

    But…. The pouches have nothing to do with “free range”. Like everything else, they serve a purpose but they should not enable hyper-achieving parents live vicariously through their children.

  7. I can’t imagine feeding my kids this kind of c##p.

    How does the child ever transition and learn to move away from the nursing stage…..or perhaps it’s preparation for a life of dependance on the government.

  8. Hmmm. I’m also a single parent and I see no use

  9. Lenore – now that the Free-Range idea is catching on nationally, these are good examples of the expected backlash and misinterpretations that will occur. Don’t get discouraged, but definitely continue to battle on! As someone who has followed every word you have written since that first subway incident, I’m proud that you have gained this level of popularity.

    By the way my 7 year old made his first solo walk through the neighborhood today – returning from a friend’s house on his own instead of making me drive to get him. I remember reading your blog when he was a toddler and becoming emboldened to impact his life this way. I’ve slowly and diligently given him more freedom and responsibility until we were both comfortable with it.

    Keep it up!

  10. Oops …

    for these things. We eat meals outside a vehicle every night. It may be a quick something but it’s not a pouch in the car. If your meals need to consist of pouches in the car, you are engaged in way too many activities.

  11. Ew.
    I love mealtime with my 13 month old. She fascinates me, with her overwhelming desire to use the fork, the way she plays with her food before bringing it to her mouth, studying the textures, the face she makes when she thought it was potato but turned out to be fish. Honestly, the hour we set aside for supper is one of the best parts of my day.
    Slurping dinner out of a pouch in the car? Gross.
    Let’s hope that we aren’t faced with that indignity in our old age.

  12. **WARNING RANT AHEAD**
    I hate these things, on so many levels. First is the tremendous waste of materials involved. 100 calories of fruit will sit in a landfill for 50+ years. Second is the rushing you pointed out Lenore. Studies keep proving over and over how good for our kids sitting down to eat together is. It keeps parents and kids connected, it teaches kids good eating habits. Obesity is not just caused by what we eat but how we eat.Sucking down a snack, in this case literally, does not give our bodies time to realize that we are full. It also does not give our brains time to recognize the act and we forget that we have eaten at all. And if kids are too overscheduled to eat then something besides dinner needs to break.
    My 6 month old is learning to feed himself right now. We are skipping the mush and letting him pick up his own overcooked broccoli and roasted sweet potatoes. He eats what he wants and stops when he’s done, no plastic squirt bottle required. **END RANT**

    So all that said I’m not perfect. I am sure that convenience food will be part of my child rearing at some point. However it is not a free-range thing imho.

  13. I’ve seen those things in the stores. I thought they were for babies who are eating baby food. My youngest is almost 2 and he’s been feeding himself since 9 months old and has been using a fork and spoon since he was like 13 months. I can’t imagine the point.

    Then again, my kids aren’t involved in every activity under the sun. If they were we’d be living in the car and that wouldn’t be much of a life. When we’re out they either wait until we get home no matter how “starving” they are. Or we go out to eat at a sit down restaurant (not fast food).

    I’m more confused about “free-range” being used to describe these products and a type of parenting that leaves the kids in charge (I have read about child-lead parenting which just baffles me). It’s bad advertising for the movement and just adds to the misconception that we don’t care about anything and let our kids run wild which so isn’t true.

  14. I get Lenore’s frustration with the misuse of the FRK movement. That said…

    I love pouches! They are never meal substitutes for us, and we eat our meals together as a family. I keep one in my toddler’s diaper bag for a portable, healthy snack that doesn’t require refrigeration, is resealable, and is healthy (all organic, no added chemicals or crap). I don’t let her have them in the car (she’s more likely to make a mess) and she is immaculate with her use of a spoon and she’s not yet two years old, so it’s clearly not hindering her development. She thinks they are fun and novel, and I like that it’s fun food that is also a healthy choice.

    I agree with the Donna’s comment that if these are meal replacements in the car, then your kid is WAY to overscheduled. That’s a MUCH bigger issue than whether or not your kid likes to eat the pouches.

  15. We tried the pouches. When my almost three year old was younger he kept trying to find the straw to stick in them. Now he just doesn’t want them. My one year old makes just as much mess as if I gave her pudding and a spoon and let her go to town. Whole food, solid food is much less work so we give her the carrots instead of the carrot pouches and when she does have messy things like oatmeal or soup or anything spoonable I just hose her down when we’re done. We are getting closer to her getting more in her mouth than her ears so I must be doing something right.

    As to the use of “free range” I see it like free range chicken. To some it means that the chicken lives free on a pasture and to others it means there is a small door to a small patio that chicken and it’s thousands of roomates can “access”. To your followers free range means letting kids have the independence they are capable of handling in a world that isn’t as scary as some believe and to others it means not being chained to the table or solid food.

  16. I think that you have some super valid points! What the company is trying to market the product as is a load a crap I think. I give them to my two year a few times a week. She stopped eating baby food at 9-10 months. I was so limited what I could feed her because she didn’t really have any teeth and she was picky about textures!! She loved the pouches and still does! I was very concerned at such a young age that she was not getting the proper nutrition and would refuse a lot of ways that I tried to prepare fruits and vegetables. It was not about being lazy whatsoever, but instead a nice reassurance that at that time she was getting the vitamins and minerals important to her. She was able to feed herself with a spoon by 10 months and eats on her own 100%. I try and provide healthy, and a variety of things for her for meals. She likes to eat small meals frequently and is very tiny. I bring the pouches along to the zoo with another snack to have a healthy option, rather than ice cream, or popcorn or other junk food. On days when I can not prepare a healthy meal and we may eat on the run, it is nice to know that she is having something nutritious. I know far too many parents that have 1,2,3 year olds that say my kid won’t drink milk, my kids won’t eat vegetables. So they end up anemic, or have calcium deficiencies. They would rather give their kids supplements and vitamins, rather than trying to introduce other ways. Although my daughter is not big on vegetables, I still constantly introduce them to her. I try new ways and am surprised by my findings sometimes. For instance, she doesn’t like peas…unless they are cold!? I am a fan of the pouches, not so much the free range parenting, the concept, or marketing.

  17. I just saw today’s paper and logged on to alert Lenore, in case she hadn’t seen it. The use of the term free range parenting in this context is utterly ridiculous.

  18. *FRK not parenting! And I am a stay at home mom that has a lot of structure in my child’s day, but also lets her develop her independence along the way. I can not even imagine when she is older, that she would be involved in so many activities that we do not have time for sit down meals! Crazy! How can a child feel successful when they are constantly striving to be the best at everything? Not to mention when they have both parents running around non stop and don’t have any time to just be a kid! What happened to doing homework, playing a board game, running through the sprinkler, and spending time as a family? I do not want to be a professional chauffeur, have my husband eating alone, and my daughter eating out of a paper bag in the car. I do not want her to be so stressed out that she is having migraines at the age of 7..lol. I will encourage, structure, and support, but I think there needs to be some lines drawn with all of the activities, pressure, and letting the children make the decisions.

  19. I remember doing food on the go lots. Not because of anything to do with the free range philosophy, but because a) I was (and am) totally disorganised and b) toddler low-blood sugar level meltdowns are no fun at any time.

    Our ‘travel’ food was mostly fresh or home-made though. I’m way less strict on the ‘no processed foods’ now my child knows what’s out there and has an opinion of her own. But that is not the topic of this post.

  20. Yeah, the Free Range connection to this product does not actually exist. For them to take than angle makes no sense.

    I didn’t like the look of these pouches when they came out. My youngest is two and stopped eating baby food on the early side (he wanted nothing to do with it), so I figured it wasn’t for us. (For parents of babies on the go, though, it could be great. Carrying around spoons and baby food for an 8-month-old is a pain.)

    Some friends with similar-aged kids sang its praises and convinced me to try them. Well, my two-year-old sucked one down in about two seconds. And he was still hungry. It didn’t even give him time to truly digest it and figure out if he actually needed more. Hmmm . . . not so convenient in this case.

    And for goodness sake, it’s APPLE SAUCE. That doesn’t replace a meal!

    I thought about the environmental impact, too. Heavy plastic packets . . . you can’t exactly recycle them. :(

  21. Haven’t these people buying pouches heard of bananas? They come prepacked in a disposable and biodegradable covering and are highly nutritious.

    I agree with MyBloodyOpinion who suggested that “free-range” is being co-opted as a marketing tool. It is what I suspected immediately upon reading about this. In one sense it’s a positive, as more and more people are being switched on to the idea of FRPing, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.

  22. What i sent to the Times:

    ______

    You are right to be skeptical about this food pouch nonsense. It’s not “free range parenting” so much as hands-free parenting. These parents would be better off with a dog as a child evidently takes up too much time. They can’t stop to eat, to model proper self-care, so they create a product that removes the pleasure from food, the smell, color, texture, the things that make food worth the time. Michael Pollan covered this already: food isn’t just discrete nutrients. Artificial baby formulas are still not as good as mothers milk and these silly pouches are not food.

    Parenting is a full time job and, at times, even a contact sport. We would do well to get rid of this compulsion for convenience. Life itself is inconvenient. As I understand it, free range movement is not about convenience but about empowerment and independence, about assessing and accepting risk, about experiencing life. A child sucking on a bag of puréed fruit is not independent, not empowered, and not enjoying all that life has to offer.

    ____________

    I work in a school and haven’t seen these but I’ve probably seen every other packaged food – many of which the child can’t open! How “convenient” is that? Or more to the point, for whom is it convenient?

  23. I really think these pouches are also about less mess. Plenty of people pack fruit, snacks even meals to take on nights they have sports/clubs etc but I’ve found many parents do not like mess, do not like their kid to feed themself etc (because yikes it IS messy) with these things the kid slurps it down, not too much mess (talking babies and toddlers here)

    also I think it appeals to parents who worry. I cant tell you how many other parents I know that worry their kid is not getting the right nutrients and are buying suppliments, baby food with all the extra nutrients, still giving four year olds formula with the nutrients/iron etc. I have a family member lamenting their 3 year old is picky and just doesnt eat enough, so they still buy her these type of babyfood bolognese to feed her. She ate two huge mega ones, shes eating all this stuff all the time!. I laughed and said you know how much my kids eat? all four kids eat out of those tiny ikea bowls for dinner (homemade food though) Kids actually dont NEED that much food. So I also think parents will like to think their kid is going to get all the wonderful goodness they need to be ‘healthy’ which is good in some cases but not necessary for all

    that said I used the pouches for on the go no heating required when I had a one year old and they were great! After two years of age or more I dont think they are necessary.

    I read in the book Vegetable, Animal Miracle by Barbara kingsolver that the more we remove ourself from the food chain (home cooking, growing gardens etc) the more willing we are to eat very processed and often times not good tasting and not healthy food. Very interesting I think.

  24. OK, just because a mom buys these pouches does not mean her kid does not know how to use a knife and fork. Really. It’s just another way of dispensing a snack / side dish. Do you all have the same reaction to pop/water bottles, bags of chips, and cereal bars, all of which are ridiculously easy to eat and do not involve knives, forks, or dish detergent?

    I just discovered these doodads about a month ago. My kids’ friend brings them to school as an alternative to the snack they serve there. (These are 100% organic fruit, no additives, for your info.) So they saw the product in the store and begged me to buy one. They were a hit so we now have them once every week or two – either in the kids’ packed lunch or in the car on the way to somewhere. Before, I’d pack some fruit/veggie at home if I had time, or if not, I’d swing through the McD’s drive-through and get some apple dippers (without dip). The new “pouches” just provide another alternative. I plan to look for still more convenient options like this.

    Excuse me if I like to take my kids to a museum / cultural center and to swimming every week or so. These won’t fit into our schedule if they have to have a “sit down meal.” I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work. Given a choice, I think it’s better for them to have these outings a couple days a week than to have a sit-down meal all 7 days. We actually spend more time together that way, because at home I’d be cooking and cleaning instead of doing something with them. (Besides, I don’t like cooking. So sue me.)

    Some of you folks surprise me with your rigidity on this topic. There’s more than one way for families to connect.

  25. I sent the author of the article an email and a link to this blog.

  26. I saw that over breakfast at a coffee shop this morning–as my 10 month old sat on a bench next to me, sharing my blueberry muffin and making faces at a nice lady in line at the counter–and laughed. Wrong livestock analogy, I told my partner. That’s not free-range parenting. Handing out pouches in lieu of meals is somewhere between slopping the hogs and strapping on a feed bag. Maybe a hybrid of the two.

    The free rangers I know (of the kid variety, not farm) know how to sit down to a family meal, use utensils (even my 10 month old, because we’ve given him the freedom to learn–and the independence to choose what on his plate he forks and puts in his mouth, which usually means he eats a wide variety of foods), CHEW, and have conversations.

  27. I’m glad that these food pouches haven’t made it to Germany yet. The packaging probably wouldn’t pass muster with the German Waste Law, which requires manufacturers to reduce waste at the source. These pouches probably aren’t recyclable either because they are dirty inside. We need products that generate less waste, not more. Fruits like bananas and oranges come in “packaging” that is biodegradable and used for compost. While there are processed foods in Germany, the majority of the food sold here is real. On a more personal note, I’d rather eat and serve my family the wonderful fresh summer fruits than some Frankenfood in a pouch.

    The people who are marketing these products are totally misusing the term “free range parenting.” Eating a convenience food because of being driven from one planned, adult-directed activity to the next is the opposite of free range. That is more lazy parenting than free range. There have been studies that show that kids who sit down for at least one family meal a day have better grades and are less likely to get into trouble with smoking, drugs, or teen pregnancy than those who don’t have family meals. I work odd shifts during the week, but still find the time to have at least one meal a day where the whole family is together.

    But little pouches do serve a purpose……….if you are a long-distance runner or bike racer. Energy gels in little packets have been around for many years and are a great quick source of energy on long training runs or bike rides or races. They are small and easy to for a runner or cyclist to carry and eat on the go and also easy to digest while exercising. But how many of the people in the age group that these “food” pouches are aimed at are marathon runners or cycling in the Tour de France? I would bet that the answer is “zero.”

  28. Yeah SKL!! That is exactly how we treat the food pouches. It is a healthy snack instead of cookies or granola bars, etc, that I can keep in the diaper bag for times when we get caught out, or as a snack when we get home to calm the crazies while I get dinner together. Like an applesauce or fruit cup, but even easier (for us at least). A banana (or other fruit) is a great idea – except it is much more fragile and has a shelf life of about 3 days. These things are shelf stable, organic and only contain fruits and vegetables w/o added sugar, etc. Plus it is a way I can sneak some different veggies in that he might not be willing to try if presented with them whole on his plate.

    The idea that someone is using these as meal replacements is pretty disturbing. Even if they are using some other variety with protein that is a more complete meal, it still seems only a couple of steps from Wall-e. Better than mcnuggets in the backseat? Maybe, but that’s not really an endorsement.

    But to Lenore’s actual point – I don’t see where this has anything at all to do with free-range parenting. That is just a complete misunderstanding of the term. One of the major points of FRK is to stop the over-scheduling of your kids time so they actually have the chance to be a kid. This is to FRK what the veal industry is to pasture-raised.

  29. For the record, the product I’ve been buying is Materne go-go apple squeeze. Not sure how it compares with the Plum thing they are talking about. Supposedly it’s a very popular snack among French kids.

  30. I used the pouches too, but simply because of the convenience to myself (less mess)- that’s my admission to lazy parenting….

    Second to that, I’d like to point out that what that article seems to attribute to ‘free range’ parenting sounds more to me like attachment parenting principles run amok.

    “Letting kids choose their own bedtimes”? Yeah, that’s what a crappy parent who doesn’t want to be the ‘heavy’ does. And to my mind, it borders on ACTUAL neglect (rather than benign neglect which is what my grandmother; mother; and I, all practice).

    And being a ‘Free Range’ parent has NOT once induced me to skip making dinner. The days when I let my kids forage for food (crackers and cheese and fruit) are the days when I’ve worked a solid 8, am not feeling well and my husband isn’t home.

    Confusing ‘free range’ and ‘attachment’ (which has been bastardized to mean: “Make Sure Your Kids Are Your Friends And Always Like You Because You Let Them Do Whatever They Want And Buy Them Everything They See On TV”) parenting is the equivalent of saying that common sense and the teenage years are the same thing.

  31. Oh, Lenore, the indignity of it all! To have the meaningful, honourable, heart-centred effort of the FRK movement you birthed being used in the most mercenary, least contextually appropriate way imaginable…

    And in closing: the Earth needs another mass-produced, over-packaged single-serving snack food like it needs a collision with a gaseous planet ten times its size. Enough already!

  32. I can’t believe that anyone would think free range kids means the kids are in control and the adults are along for the ride! I am definitely the parent and will tell them when meal times are. Free range doesn’t mean they eat whenever they feel hungry! Also in free range aren’t we supposed to do away with so many structured activities in order to give the kids time to run around the neighborhood and built stuff out of junk and have kid driven physical activity games instead of soccer 6 nights a week?!!! No need to rush around inhaling smooshed fruit, play outside, but come in when the streetlights come on, it dinner time :)

  33. I agree with Donna. (Yes, Donna, I mean it, I do.) Not to judge anyone personally for what they’re doing, but yes, if you are running from activity-to-activity to such that you consistently need something like that, the actual “need,” I would say, is to cutdown on the number of activities.

    That said: SKL You made me laugh with your post. I agree somewhat. I think the point some were making (and it’s what I believe–I know, here with go with LRH’s beliefs again, ha ha) is that we shouldn’t feel compelled to be CONSTANTLY go-go-go one activity to the other, but we ought to connect around the dinner table and just have relaxed time without rushing everywhere all the time. I believe that too, but as you said, 1 day a week–big stinking deal. I mean, 6 out of 7 isn’t bad. And you hate to cook? Oh my goodness, you’re just such an AWFUL mother (I’m being sarcastic).

    It’s like I tell my mother, who at times can be SO judgmental not just of me as a parent, but of other people (in terms of thinking if you don’t eat-drink-marinate your kids 24/7 and “helicopter” them then you’re unfit etc)–I myself like to cook. Seriously, I like to cook, most of the time anyway, and I take pleasure in preparing a full meal for our kids. It’s not at all unusual for me to cook eggs, sausage, toast, biscuits in the morning and come night-time have a meal of chicken with rice & mixed vegetables (it’s a “convenience dinner” in a bag, but still), mashed potatoes, field peas, corn-on-the-cob, and even collards, all as one meal. I do that ALL the time, but I am not going to judge/criticize someone who just gives their kids cereal in the morning & goes out to eat at night as being a “lazy parent” or what have you, just as I don’t like being judged as lazy because I like to get the car seat that’s easiest to buckle (not the safest, I figure they’re all safe enough) and like to get our kids velcro shoes rather than tying shoes because I hate re-tying shoes 30 times a day.

    I like convenience, so sue me. I’m not going to judge someone who wants convenience with cooking anymore than I appreciate anyone judging me for wanting convenient and easy-to-use car seats and shoes etc.

    LRH

  34. Nanci True that. Free-range is NOT about negligence or laziness, although I will admit I do like how it allows me to boot the kids outdoors for awhile & not have them “underfoot” every minute. It is about letting your kids enjoy childhood, and relaxing on the idea that something is going to happen to them if they’re outdoors alone (at the right age) for more than 5 seconds, or you leave them in the car for 1-2 minutes while you go inside & pay for gas. But you are to TEACH them some things as well as letting them figure out some things for themselves.

    And yes, it does NOT equate to having the “inmates run the asylum.” One need only spent a few minutes to see it: my wife & I most certainly are the ones in charge, most emphatically. It is from a position of LOVE most of the time, but we are most certainly the ones in charge. When they were infants, their feeding schedules and nap schedules were most certainly schedules, & we’re rigid as a wood plank about not EVER letting them sleep in our room, or letting them eat junk food when they haven’t even touched the “real” food they’re supposed to eat. That free range equates to letting the kids trample all over you–nah. Not even. Some are attachment parents, some are practicing “detached parenting” (that’s me), some are just doing whatever & no label applies to it–but free-range is not about any of that at all.

    LRH

  35. I see Free Range in this sense being used in the feeding animals sense. Free range chicken and cows wander around a field eating as they go, whenever they want, so why not get kids to do the same thing?

    I can see something like this product being useful in some situations. They’d be great for small children and travelling for example, if you could get them past airport security – easy to use, healthy, no refrigeration, no mess. And I could see keeping one in your purse for when you’re running behind schedule, or caught somewhere, and you have a cranky child on your hand, as it certainly beats most junk or fast food.

    But if feeding your kid via squeeze pouch is the default option for meals, I’m not sure when the child is going to learn how to eat real food, or how to sit down and eat dinner at the table.

  36. Well, I do give my youngest daughter, who just turned one, a pouch probably once a day, along with whatever she is having. So lunch today was an apple/mango pouch, with cuts of cheese, sliced grapes, sliced chicken, and milk. However yesterday lunch was at Subway, and she chowed down on some apple slices, cheese, tomatoes, and turkey because we had to be downtown due to my son’s Jujitsu classes and I didn’t pack her a lunch beforehand. Tomorrow chances are I’ll give her one for breakfast along with whatever we’re having, as she loves it when I put them in the fridge and they are cold on her teething gums. We’ve been using them since she was about 8 months old and could hold on to them. I wish they were around when my older kids were babies. We skipped the entire baby food in jars and instead she’s had sliced foods of whatever we’re having. / End Tangent on pouches.

    I think that the author meant Free Range as the same as Jennifer above me, in the feeding animals sense. Regardless, I think he should have used Free-range feeding, instead of free-range parenting, but semantics. I would also not make a pouch a main course, but more an addition to whatever you are having, though I could see them being used as snacks, but again chiming in with the above if you’re running around so much that you must make mealtime in the car that is a sign to slow down.

  37. I don’t agree the misplaced reference to FR parenting is just about semantics. The explanation given for the term in the article is “a new way of relating to our children” and “Parents, he explained, want to be as flexible as modern life demands.”

    That suggests that he thinks that the attitude towards convenient ‘mobile food’ is just one aspect of this and one that fits in with the philosophy of Free Range Parenting.

    It is clear to me that he just made it up because it sounds cool and he’ll do whatever it takes to sell his product. But it is very bad publicity for the FRK movement!

  38. Heh, they have a similar product in France but the marketing is all different. It is aimed at 5-10 yo as a healthy, easy snack you can put in their bagpack while they are running around exploring the world. For the longest time, their ad was a couple of kids running aroung outside, swimming and monkeying around on a tree (no parents in sight for the entire ad except for the mom putting it in the bagpack at the begining) and drinking the thing hangning upside down from a branch. Basically as a replacement for a candy bar, not a meal.

  39. And only 2 comments on the Psychology Today article so far? (One of which is mine) Come on FRKers, we have to prevent this abuse of the FRK term from spreading!

  40. Goodness so many feeling about a little pouch.

    “A little bit of everything” is my mantra. Then I don’t have to get all worked up about something like this. A pouch here, and one there? No problem!

    /Lou
    http://Www.bestof2sisters.com

  41. @AG, There is a drinkable yogurt in a disposable/recyclable container in Germany, but the marketing for it is similar to that of the French product. It’s touted as a healthy snack that kids can have when they’re out playing. The ads show kids playing outside, taking a break for this snack, then going back to their game. There were no adults in sight in the ads. Like the French product, the drinkable yogurt is marketed as a healthier alternative to a candy bar versus being a replacement for a full meal.

    There is a time and place for these types of convenience foods in a pouch or bag. As I said in my previous post, long distance runners and cyclists use special energy gels in a pouch. Food pouches may also be good for the Scouts to have in their backpacks as emergency food, though I would be concerned about the package breaking and getting the mushy food all over the other things in their packs. My son keeps some energy bars in his Scout backpack because they are a compact source of calories. The Army has prepackaged Meals Ready to Eat for soldiers who are in the field without access to fresh foods.

    I do have a problem with foods that were designed for one purpose being marketed as full meal replacements. For example, energy bars were specially designed for endurance athletes. Gatorade and other sports drinks are also marketed as “healthier” alternatives to soda (even though some contain even more sugar than the same amount of cola). Those types of drinks were originally designed as electrolyte replacements for people who sweat a lot while exercising. That said, both my husband and I eat energy bars and drink sports drinks. But we are also endurance athletes (he does long bike rides and hikes, I run half-marathons and marathons) and only eat energy bars and drink sports drinks on the days when we are doing long workouts. We couldn’t imagine sitting down at the dinner table for a meal of Power Bars and Gatorade. I have also seen Ensure, which is a product for older people who have trouble chewing but need the calories and nutrients, being marketed in the States as a meal replacement. Whatever happened to having meals with real food?

  42. People, this post is not about whether or not the pouch is good or bad! Because that has absolutely nothing to do with free range parenting!

  43. @Jennifer,
    I actually took a couple of those pouches through airport security with no problem, and they were great to have on a long flight! As I was packing for the trip, I realized I had granola bars and crackers, but I really wanted some fruit. We had some bruised bananas that didn’t look like they’d hold up for the trip, oranges (but a sticky mess of orange peels on the plane didn’t sound like fun), and some applesauce pouches I had picked up on a whim for my kids’ picnic lunches at the park. So, applesauce it was!

    Sure, they’re overpackaged and not great for the environment, and they shouldn’t replace real fruits and vegetables, but for an occasional quick portable snack that isn’t messy, they work pretty well!

    (I really don’t get how they associate them with FRK, though – sounds like they just picked up a buzzword to get some attention).

  44. My daughter (5) loves those types of things. It is more of a novelty for her.she does eat them as snacks at home, or for lunch sitting at the table either at home or in school. It does get her to eat fruits that she wouldn’t ordinarily try on her own. I don’t use them as an alternative to actual food though. Yes it would probably be cheeper to buy the fruit and give her that, but she is less likely to eat it, and if I have to just throw it away then the money is wasted.

  45. Kids are snacking WAY too much. The little darlings won’t keel over if they have to wait a bit for the next meal. Parents need to recognize when kids are truly hungry and when they’re bored. If I was a toddler being shuffled around in a car all day, I’d be pretty cranky but it doesn’t I need a pouch of something.

    As for using them as a meal replacement ….am I the only one who remembers a PBJ sandwich and an apple? I opened my Benji lunch box this staple meal all through elementary school. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated and takes about 1 minute to make.

    I’m not sitting here polishing my halo because my kids do have a snack after school (we don’t have dinner until 7pm). But on the weekends, it’s only breakfast, lunch and dinner and no one has died yet!

  46. [...] Lenore Skenazy: Can You Set the New York Times and Psychology Today Straight about Free-Range Parenting? [...]

  47. Sigh. Don’t you hate it when someone hijacks a word or phrase that has a perfectly good meaning and turns it around to mean something else? Especially something essentially opposite? My own pet peeve is “unschooling,” which has somehow morphed from a rational homeschooling philosophy that works toward letting a child take responsibility for his own education into “let your child sit around all day and play video games,” or worse, “let your child make all the rules.” Mr. Grimmer’s attitude seems more in line with the latter philosophy, whatever that is, than free-range parenting. Get your own term and leave ours alone! :)

  48. Ugh. Banging my head on the wall…

  49. I don’t have a particular problem with the idea of these things in themselves as a snack, but I don’t like the idea of normalising skipping meals due to overscheduling, and I super don’t like this being mis-described as ‘free range parenting’!

  50. I always considered my kids to be pretty free-ranging, but never consider THIS take on it! They spend a lot of time wandering through our yard foraging, such as….free range chickens do!:) Whatever happens to be growing in the garden, blackberries, mulberries, herbs, wild plants they know are edible, fruit from any tree they can find….They’re like my little goats! Both this marketer and the Psychology Today blogger seem to have no idea what free range parenting is all about . Our family (at least) strive to spend the least amount of time possible shuttling back and forth to activities and in the car (thought that’s hard when there are SO many great parks in my area to explore!) and eat dinner as a family every night. Like a poster many comments up stated, we are a very traditional family. Dad works, mom cooks, the kids play and we eat together:) Free Range to us means letting our kids be kids, and explore, and create, and learn, and be bored, under their own supervision! But dinner time is dinner time, and bed time is bed time, and while there is room for flexibility, we are the parents, and ultimately the decision is ours. I could see how these pouches might be good for a quick snack in the younger years, or an occasional novel treat, but the actual piece of
    fruit or vegetable is likely healthier and cheaper and just as portable. I suppose I could argue that Free Range parents (if they are like our family, at least) would be the LEAST likely to use these on a regular basis. Meh. I’d probably buy them once or twice, and that would be that. With only so much money to spend on food (and my kids are well aware of that fact!) our dollars tend to go to the most simple, basic, healthiest options.

  51. In Brave New World they replaced food with pills. Saved time and eliminated that pesky need to eat; just as they eliminate love, death and created happiness with a drug. One of the defining characteristics of the human animal is the ability to make choices about what we eat and to enjoy food beyond the simple need of subsistence.

    Beyond the intellectual objections, these pouches take an apple, double its price, add chemicals and create non-biodegradable waste. Why wouldn’t you just give your kids an apple? Or a plum. Or a peach?

    these pouches fall into that same trap for me as Baby Einstein videos. The product isn’t really bad; the problem is people pretend it is healthy/good for you. It’s not. It is junk food.

  52. I use these pouches first thing in the morning for my daughter (2 years old). We have to leave so early to get her to daycare and get to work that trying to give her a full breakfast doesn’t make sense. Also, she gets a breakfast meal at school at 9AM. The pouches provide her with a quick, easy and non-messy option to get something in her stomach as she’s getting ready to head out the door. I also keep a couple in my diaper bag as an alternative to crackers or cookies when we are out and about. She loves them, they are full of fruits and vegetables and I also buy the organic ones in hopes that they will be better for her. I don’t think that using pouches as a true meal replacement is appropriate, but I do believe that they are better than some of the other crap I am seeing kids eat these days.

  53. This is sort of gross – encouraging kids to keep eating baby food when they are no longer babies. Inspiring a whole new generation of super picky eaters who will only eat food that’s pureed. Barf.

  54. If these were true Free Range Kids they would be going in the kitchen and making themselves a sandwich to take on the road!

    As a school nurse, the problem of parents snacking their kids nonstop drives me insane. Imagine what a good dinner these kids would eat if they didn’t have to have a snack on the way home from soccer practice. Kids should exercise, get REALLY hungry and eat a good well rounded meal. If they refuse dinner because it is not pureed mush in a bag, then they eat nothing. They won’t refuse forever.

  55. “It’s like I tell my mother, who at times can be SO judgmental not just of me as a parent, but of other people ”

    Who could possibly have guessed that? ;-)

  56. “People, this post is not about whether or not the pouch is good or bad! Because that has absolutely nothing to do with free range parenting!”

    Thank you Lin!

    I don’t mind people going OT on tangential points like whether the food is good,, but let’s NOT lose sight of what’s going on here. It’s not even whether the food itself is “Free Range” or not — to think that’s even debatable is to miss the point. Free Range is not about what kind of food you use, it’s about how you relate to your kids and teach them to relate to the world. You can do that with or without pouches. You can use the pouches Free-Rangishly or not.

    If we get too sidetracked into arguing over the POUCHES, we’ll miss the point that a major media source that a lot of people read to get info on current trends just represented Free Range as being about feeding your kids whenever they want, and implied that not having time for regular meals is not only consistent with, but characteristic of, Free Range. And THAT’S what’s wrong here.

  57. It’s wrong because it’s wrong, and it’s wrong because if you try to intelligently discuss Free Range Parenting with others, they’re going to think you mean child-controlled chaos. Maybe some Free-Rangers believe in that philosophy, but that’s not what Free Range *means.*

  58. I have seen these in stores and they look disgusting to me and I couldn’t really figure out the point of them. Our kids are involved in a number of activities, but I’m home and I make sure to prepare dinner at a time that doesn’t disrupt activities. In fact, in the true following of free range parenting, on days that my kids have a lot of activities, they help me (sometimes doing it themselves) put the dinner in the crock pot. I even left my 9-year-old home during the winter months while I was taking his sister (and the other three kids) to her ballet class, which was from 4:30-5:30 and he did the finishing preparations for our crock pot meal (putting the biscuits in the crock pot for the last 30 minutes and heating up the green beans in the microwave and then setting the table) so we could eat right when we got home at 6 before taking off to drop off the older kids at soccer at 6:30. THAT is free range, not eating out of a little pouch.

  59. Wow, that’s just insane. Not even commenting on the product, just their liberal use of the “free range” term. Lenore, you INVENTED the term, have they even read your book? They seem to have no idea what it actually means.

  60. I know lots of people go through the puree stage, but honestly, I never had time to cook stuff that way. E mostly he got solid foods that I was eating too. My mum was horrified at the mess at first, but soon realised that we’d avoided that stage when you go to solids and the kid has to relearn how to handle the stuff. At 3, E is less messy than many adults. I could see people using these for convenience, but a kid who is used to homecooked stuff would probably rather mum handed over an apple.

    H

  61. I’m with you, SKL. Personally, I do find that the pouches fit into my Free Range “lifestyle.” Here’s how: I bring them along to my son’s Little League games for my daughter to eat. My son is NOT overscheduled; he does ONE extracurricular activity, which is Little League, and which represents a three-nights-per-week commitment for three months of the year. No, we cannot fit in a sit-down meal on a night when we have to be at the field by 5pm and the game will be over at 7:30-8:00. I work fulltime so it just is not possible to put together a “real meal” for those nights. I make sandwiches and cut up carrot sticks and so forth. And I also bring the applesauce pouches, for my daughter.

    Here’s where the free-range part comes in. While I’m sitting there watching my son play baseball, my daughter (age 6) is roaming freely around the park. She can go from the baseball diamond to the playground (a distance of about 100 yards) and back again, at will. When she’s hungry, she’ll come over and suck down an applesauce pouch, maybe crunch a carrot stick or two if I’m lucky, and go back to playing. Is she going to sit down on the bleachers and eat an applesauce cup with a spoon? Don’t make me laugh. She’s six. She can barely sit still long enough to take a sip of water. So this is why I like the applesauce pouches — they are quick and easy, no mess, easy to toss into my bag, resealable if she doesn’t eat it all (although that rarely happens at her age), and the contents are 100% fruit, no added sugar or preservatives. And it’s not any much more plastic waste than one of the little applesauce cups.

    Don’t get me wrong: I agree with Lenore that this advertising campaign is ridiculously misinterpreting what most of us mean by Free-Range parenting. I don’t use the pouches to avoid meals on busy overscheduled days, and I definitely haven’t made a conscious choice to abolish “structured mealtimes” in our family! We still have sit-down meals at home quite often. But it is true that sometimes family life is hectic, and sometimes when you’re on the go you do need quick easy snacks, and the applesauce pouches are one of the many (healthy, not-overly-processed, organic when possible) snack items that I go to for those situations. So yes, push back against the false claims in this article, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    By the way – another commenter suggested bananas. We love bananas, but they don’t do well as “toss it in your bag for when you need it” snacks. They do bruise pretty easily and my picky kids will reject a banana if it has too many brown spots.

  62. I honestly think they have conflated the term freerange as used in animal husbandry with freerange as used to describe a parenting philsophy. Freerange parenting doesn’t involve letting your kid graze at will in a pasture, which is what this pouch is more closely akin to.

    Just let the kid eat wherever and whenever as long as food is available (and not too messy apparently) — that is more like freerange chicken farming.

  63. The message and interpretation are horrible. The pouches themselves are actually 500x tastier and easier to use on road trips when your babies are eating solids, but can’t really handle the kind of food you run into on a cross country road trip. When our son grew out of them – we could even use them in smoothies and sauces. They really are good.

  64. Hey, it WORKED!!!!!! Dr. Rose just put a followup post on the PT blog, agreeing with Lenore and acknowledging the correction:

    http://itsnotaboutnutrition.squarespace.com/home/2012/6/22/free-range-parenting-and-psychology-today.html

  65. **Easier to use than jarred or homemade baby food. Mostly because of the leaking, glass breaking, and bulk associated with the jars.

  66. “I honestly think they have conflated the term freerange as used in animal husbandry with freerange as used to describe a parenting philsophy.”

    It’s sort of an understandable mistake. The phrase DID come from animal husbandry in the sense of “not keeping them cooped up” but not to the extent of “letting them run wild and fend for themselves.”

  67. But that said, I don’t think Mr. Grimmer made that “mistake.” I think that he used the term in a way that was convenient for his marketing project, without much caring whether it had a previous context or not. And Dr. Rose carelessly went with his definition rather than clarifying that it was an idiosyncratic usage invented for commercial purposes.

  68. Calling these things organic is as offensive as calling their use free range. While it may be true that pesticides were not used to produce the fruit that became the concentrate that became the puree that was then boiled, heated, treated, stabilized and mass produced–that is hardly the intended meaning of organic.

    Same goes for “Natural.” Sorry but these things are not 100% “natural.” Natural is an apple–you wipe it off, bite it and chew it. Unnatural is an apple substance that is concentrated for flavor (increasing the “natural” sugar content) and then has lemon juice concentrate added for stabilizing and is then heated for pasteurization and squeezed into a piece of plastic where it is sealed at high temperature.

    I understand the need for convenience. I begrudge no one a few moments of ease or peace. But please please stop pretending this is a healthy choice. A homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is far more healthy than one of these things in every way–environmental, nutrition, learning to eat as a human, family relationship, etc.

  69. Yeah, for the record, my kids eat on the go but thay do NOT decide *when* (or, usually, what) they are going to eat. I’m actually a bit on the militant side in that respect. For example, on Wednesdays I pick them up at daycare at 6:30pm and we drive to a museum. The kids are given their “picnic dinner” after putting on their seat belts, and they have about 20 minutes to finish it before we get to our destination. They are stuck in their seats and we chat about our day, etc., while they eat. They are required to eat neatly, waste not, and dispose of their wrappers afterwards. They are given *enough* healthy, satisfying food and are not allowed to demand other food later. (I might or might not provide a small fruit snack later – at my discretion.) So no, I don’t use convenient snacks as a way to be minimally involved in my kids’ meals. I use them (sometimes!) because they save me time, reduce mess, and help keep things interesting for my kids.

    I found the description of the author’s sense of “free range parenting” to sound more like what I’ve read about relatively permissive parenting of tots / preschoolers. They bemoan the fact that their kid won’t eat anything except chicken nuggets and Goldfish crackers, and even those are refused at meal time. So rather than let the poor dear discover what “hungry” feels like, they put snacky food within the kids’ reach and let him pick at it at her leisure, in between running from room to room, etc. I’m not sure what I think of that. On one hand, in the big picture, this is pretty much always temporary, and I do understand having a kid who makes meal time unpleasant and will lose weight rather than eat. On the other hand, I don’t believe a little occasional hunger is a bad thing, and I personally found ways to get even my picky kid to eat without resorting to anarchy. But bottom line, I think you can go through periods of food anarchy and still be either helicopter or free-range (or neglectful as the case may be).

    My idea of free range as it pertains to food is that my kids learn how to responsibly plan, prep, eat, and clean up after a meal. It involves learning proper table manners so they can be trusted to eat in a nice restaurant, and also learning primitive cooking skills so they can survive in the wilderness without much gear. It involves being well-versed in good nutrition and other health aspects of eating, and having a good attitude toward the environment and God’s creatures. It isn’t about being lazy nor about being perfect. It’s about being ready for the big bad world at an appropriate age.

    Unfortunately, advertisers and journalists can pretty much call things whatever they want. It’s like being called a “homophobe” if you don’t want anal sex taught in elementary school. Or a misogynist if you don’t want your 13yo to be able to get an abortion without your knowledge. I wish I could figure out how to get people to realize that hearing something doesn’t make it true. Because even if we rebut it, we probably aren’t going to be heard as loudly as the original statement was.

  70. At least Dr. Rose wrote a correction. As far as the pouches themselves go, I sort of see them as free-range neutral. I think it’s a bit reckless to go about assigning “free-range” or “non-free-range” designations to every product, activity or parenting choice we hear about, without taking into account the larger context in which it’s used. Free-range is much more about a lifestyle and a philosophy that guides and informs parenting than it is about any one product.

    Personally, I’ve used the applesauce and banana-berry pouches as snacks for my daughter, especially when we’re going on an outing and I want a healthy, easy snack. Sliced apples don’t hold up well in plastic baggies in the summer heat. Using it as a meal-replacement? Maybe for young babies, but not toddlers. Toddlers are supposed to be practicing with real foods so they can learn how to handle different textures and tastes, and learn how to feel themselves. Why would you want to keep them on purees? And if you do, when ARE they going to learn to get actual food, from a plate, onto a fork, and into their mouths? Which is a skill that is actually pretty important in the real world.

  71. I won’t comment on the product – in truth, I don’t understand it. However, it is a sign of change – of progress – when advertisers use ‘free range’ as a sales hook, no matter how mangled their understanding.

  72. I thought the guy was using it in the “free range chicken” sense, not FRP, though that’s no better come to think of it.

  73. Forget the pouches….the problem is that, again, someone is taking the free-range principles and distortng them. We as free-range advocates have enough to deal without this guy making free-range something it’s not. It’s not about shuttling kids to and from, and “feeding” them liquid diets because we are so busy we can’t stop to eat. That’s not FRP

  74. My six-year-old eats the applesauce ones (organic, only fruit) in her lunch at school. Why? Pre-portioned, easy to finish in the 15 scant minutes she has to eat lunch, no spoons and containers to lose or accidentally throw away, and it is simple for her to pack her own lunch in the morning. She does not have to find a container with a matching lid, get the jar open, portion the applesauce, remember a spoon, get the container closed properly, etc. It functions as the “treat” in her lunch, which usually consists of a sandwich that she makes herself, a piece of fresh fruit, and the applesauce pouch. On days that she doesn’t choose applesauce, she has some other packaged treat like fruit leather or a granola bar. I don’t think these pouches are supposed to substitute for real meals. They are convenience snacks.

    So the stuff is sucked…so what? If I said I was giving my kid a yogurt and fruit smoothie that she drinks through a straw, would that be bad parenting? It’s the same dang thing, but doesn’t require preparation or refrigeration. But hey, I often make bread from scratch. I can’t believe those parents who rely on packaged, pre-sliced bread to feed their kids. So lazy!

  75. I’m not gonna lie, I love those applesauce pouches. My 14 month old loves applesauce, but she is not coordinated enough to spoon it herself, and she’s at the age where she doesn’t allow me to spoon feed her anymore. The pouches are perfect. I don’t mind a messy toddler (believe me, she’s messy A LOT), but when we’re at the playground, or even in the backyard, I don’t want her hands all sticky with applesauce then going on a slide, or in the dirt.

  76. I also want to add that I follow Baby Led Weaning, so my kid does eat normal whole fruit and pretty much everything all the time (she ate a whole tomato for a snack today), but these pouches are good for on the go.

  77. I agree. I’d feed my (hypothetical, future) child a piece of fruit, or a Ziploc bag of baby carrots, or a PBJ, or even a Clif bar, before giving them this kind of garbage.

  78. I’m not too sure why you think it’s garbage. Do you eat applesauce? Yes, it’s boiled, heated, and “mass-produced”, but so is Mott’s applesauce, which I’m sure most people eat. The ingredients on the label of the applesauce pouch is… wait for it… APPLES. Wow! How awful!

  79. I think “free range” should be a trademark term, unfortunately. The term is being used incorrectly and it is being used for marketing purposes. For shame!

  80. “Kids are snacking WAY too much. The little darlings won’t keel over if they have to wait a bit for the next meal. Parents need to recognize when kids are truly hungry and when they’re bored.”

    Hallelujia, Chris, THANK YOU!!!! My husband’s family can’t go to the mailbox without a bottle of water and a snack of some kind. Being a little hungry or thirsty is not going to kill you.

  81. Honestly, I weep for the way we humans have decided that it’s okay for us to live in ways so we create so much waste that can’t break down into the ecosystem again, all because our kids turn their noses up at a tupperware full of crackers or a banana with a spot on it. WE didn’t make the stuff, we just buy it, but isn’t there some responsibility we can assume for the way things are evolving?

    I know, I know… There it is in the grocery store, who can resist? All of those easy, individually-wrapped items in their cute packages… I used to LOVE packaging. Hell, I once *designed* packaging for a living. Eventually, the spiritual and ethical hangover caught up with me and I realized that I was part of the problem, and it’s a big one.

    At our kids’ school, they used to have “litter-free lunch day” once in a while. The idea was to pack a lunch that included no packaging, no waste, just food, and whatever couldn’t be eaten could be used again or composted. It was already weighing on my spirit, the individual-portion applesauce cups, plastic-wrapped snack bars, individually bagged carrots, chips, what-have-you… not to mention the more-packaging-than-nourishment Lunchables™, so I thought the school had a great idea there.

    Still, I found it logistically challenging and kind of a chore to pack a lunch without packaging, and just packing lunches in general enormously tedious and perplexing. Until I found THIS!!

    http://www.planetbox.com/

    Oh, how it changed my life for the better! (Picture me in a wasp-waisted dress with an apron, holding this item to the side like a 50’s model during a commercial break on Ed Sullivan.) People, if you like the idea of “litter-free lunches,” this is the lunch kit for you! It’s so fabulous for us. Makes packing lunches fun! And it’s as cute as any pre-pacakged snack food, too. If you order, tell them Mollie from Canada sent you. I’m possibly their most rabidly enthusiastic supporter! :-)

  82. The most free range words in the entire Times article were from Edward Abramson:
    “Stop worrying, your children will not starve if they miss a meal.”

    Was anyone else appalled by the descriptions of parents esp, the author trying to cajole her kid into eating, eating, and eating more? I also read and mostly followed Baby Led Weaning. It shows a great respect for a child’s capabilities and natural protection mechanisms. It talks about how the gag reflex in an infant is further forward in the mouth in order to teach them to CHEW the food. And it explains how purred food trains a kid to use sucking to get food in. To work around that protective gag reflex that is supposed to teach them to chew. I’ve seen it in action and it really is amazing to watch an infant learn to eat real food. And now… well my daughter is 16 months old, and unlike the Times author and her 22 month old, I’m not cajoling my daughter and trying to force food into her mouth until she says “OUT!” My 16 month old is given what we are eating, along with spoon and fork, and eats along side us…. with occasional, but diminishing, use of hands. As for mess on the go… well the diaper bag does have a lovely stash of wipes, they work just as well on faces and hands (and I did check they made of the same stuff as the pacifier wipes.)

  83. WTH does those applesauce in a pouch things have to do with free-range parenting?! Or ANY parenting style for that matter?! Do we label the kind of parents who make a meatloaf as “retro parenting”? Should we now associate a type of food with a parenting label now?? I’m so done with the labels, and all the negative, uninformed, comments that go along with them. Ya know what those pouches are? They are on-the-go snack foods for toddlers who don’t have the dexterity to eat a bowl of it with a spoon and NOT get it all over themselves. Did the author pitch a fit when hamburgers were invented? Oh, blasphemy! Ground beef patties on a bun?! What laziness on the part of moms who make this garbage! What’s wrong with a patty on a plate like civilized people! Give me a freaking break. Get over yourself, author.

  84. It’s disheartening to see so many judgmental comments on this site, of all sites. I think allowing other parents their choices is at the heart of ‘Free Range Parenting’ as this site is dedicated to it. Whether or not your child drinks fruit puree from a pouch or not is not likely to ruin them.

    My wife and I used them pretty extensively with our child when he was younger. He loves feeding himself, and always has. Before he could reliably use a spoon (still questionable, but getting there) the pouches let him do it. He’s now 17 months and mostly eats with his hands, but the pouches are still useful in a pinch.

    It never ceases to amaze me how judgmental parents are, even those (and sometimes ESPECIALLY those) who’s stated philosophy is supposedly not judging others.

  85. I remember the only food in a pouch was astronaut food!

    My son had serious feeding issues and lived off pediasure. The child has a limited menu of what he will eat, every day we work to diversify foods along with massive temper tantrums . As your child develops they need to also develop their taste buds. Nothing more wonderful then having your children eat with a fork and knife, something deemed yicky by most children.

    Remember in Wall-E where everyone was drinking a cupcake in a cup and the captian wanted to grow pizza.

  86. I didn’t get through all the comments to see if this was already said.

    I think the misuse of the term is due to it’s similarity to Free-Range Chickens, where the core point is to not force feeding the chickens, letting them peck and scratch at will. Hence you may get a few clueless people limiting the free-range idea to merely food – those too clueless to spend 30 seconds on an online search. I suspect that the two people mentioned were just to lazy to properly define their term.

  87. I have personally purchased something like this product two times. It wasn’t from this company, but it was 100% apple sauce in a pouch.
    Each time we were making an 18-hour trip in the car with a three-year-old.
    Something like this is a handy road trip snack. It’s not messy, easy for her to feed herself and nutritionally (the ones I purchased at least) it was just apple sauce. However, turning ENTIRE meals into mush and shoving in pouches?! It’s totally cool if you’re an astronaut – or maybe throwing an astronaut-themed birthday party? Other than that… all I can thing is – gross. Just the thought of slurping down some sort of mush makes my gag reflex twitch.

  88. Here’s the email I sent to the NYTimes journalist:
    Dear Mr. Richtel,

    Cursory research into the phrase “Free-Range Parenting” would have revealed a book & website by Lenore Skenazy. What is important here is that Neil Grimmer’s description of “free-range parenting” is a strange distortion of a term that has been written about for several years.
    As a journalist, you should have fact-checked this term before you both quoted it and used it as the crux of your article’s title. It is misleading at best, and shoddy journalism. Yes, he shouldn’t have used the term in such a distorted way, but you have compounded the problem immensely by quoting him without any apparent skepticism.

    I suggest that you interview Ms. Skenazy (she lives in NY!) and write an appropriately long & prominent article that does right by the term Free Range Parenting.

  89. Mollie, I checked out the Planet box. It did look really great!! (But also awfully expensive, so unfortunately I won’t be getting one right now.)

    SKL – Hallelujah to “There’s more than one way for families to connect”! My small family doesn’t have traditional sit-down dinners every night (or even close) due to my husband’s work schedule, but we’ve found other ways to bond. It’s nice to hear someone else say that’s OK.

    As for the original topic, I haven’t tried the pouches, but I don’t see them as a Free-Range (or anti-Free-Range) thing – just another example where the phrase “everything in moderation” applies. I do think they should have checked with Lenore before using the term in advertising, though!

  90. My kid eats what we eat, and he’s done it since he was two. We took a two-year break from spicy foods just for him, but now we’re eating them again, and so is he. At age 4, he knows his way around a Chinese menu and is well-versed in Italian cuisine and the local seafood options. (And he can order for himself now!) He’s worked long and hard to learn to use his silverware correctly, including a knife, but now he’s a pro at it. The very idea of any food just for kids makes me cringe. Food for kids is always sugarier, fattier, and less naturally nutritious than real, home-cooked food that us parents eat. I don’t see when I would ever want him to slurp his supper down in the car and then go watch TV later when my husband and I sit down to eat. I’ve never even bought him a juice box – he drinks water from an open cup, just like me, and he has his own travel mug for the beach.

    I’ve seen so many people who have special cupboards just for “kids’ food” and it’s all low-quality, low-effort, high-packaging junk. Forget that. Grilled salmon and broccoli is better than goop in a pouch any day, and the way to convince your small child of this is to serve it to him, repeatedly, without a lot of noise.

    Now, if your priority is to condition your kid to open his own cupboard and get his own single-serve bag of Goldfish while you’re busy doing something else, that’s cool. But my kid serves himself too. Sure, he begs and begs for a glass of orange juice or whatever. But recently, he’s started pouring his own OJ and putting the carton back in the fridge himself. And just last week I woke up to find him chowing down on leftover pasta for breakfast. That’s pretty free-range, and I didn’t even encourage him!

  91. While I can imagine that they can be convenient, I am opposed to these pouches.

    Food pouches aren’t really food. The sensory aspect of food is essentially removed. This encourages unhealthy eating habits.

    Bananas, grapes, avocados, and a large variety of other foods are just as conviently “wrapped”.

    Less mess? Only for the parent. For the rest of the humans on earth, the packaging on these pouches will add to our landfills for about 1000 years. Kids are pretty easily washable.

    But, we need to have “on the go” snacks? Kids don’t really need to eat every hour. Humans (toddlers and up) have survived on anywhere from one to three meals a day for millenia. I have a friend that packs snacks for her kids for every concievable activity… the consequence? Her kids rarely sit down for complete meals and mostly subsist on cheese, yogurt, and a handful of snack foods. An occasional “tide-you-over snack of some form is perfectly reasonable. More than that undermines healthy eating habits.

    None of this, however says much about free range parenting… except that kids can go out and play without provisions, and parents can rest easily that no one will starve (literally) in the hour or so to get home and fix something for the whole family.

  92. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that I believed that all meals need to be formal events consumed at home. There is a wide gulf between home-cooked meals consumed in the family dining room and being too busy to CHEW. If you are too busy to consume actual meals, as opposed to subsisting on “on the go” snacks as this article suggests you should be, and too busy to even chew those snacks, you are way overscheduled.

    “But, we need to have “on the go” snacks? Kids don’t really need to eat every hour.”

    AMEN!!! I hate seeing kids constantly walking around with food or running back and forth between handfuls food and play. Human beings do survive without food constantly present. And kids can take the time to sit down and eat an entire snack or meal that requires chewing before going back to play, even at the playground.

  93. I was reminded instantly of this:

    http://www.theonion.com/video/new-wearable-feedbags-let-americans-eat-more-move,14238/

    Seriously, I find the idea that a sit down dinner is an unrealistic dream, as was said in the NY Times piece, to be seriously depressing. And wrong. Food doesn’t have to be something you just shove down your throat between activities- it can be an art form, and one of the great pleasures in life!
    And yeah, the waste created by these applesauce shots bothers me.

  94. “If it were just about food, we would squirt it into their mouths with a tube,” says Robin Fox, an anthropologist who teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey, about the mysterious way that family dinner engraves our souls. “A meal is about civilizing children. It’s about teaching them to be a member of their culture.”

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200760,00.html#ixzz1yYPPZ4CC

  95. K–love the “less mess” comment. Hit the nail right on the head.

  96. @Olympia, That piece from the Onion was too funny! Thanks for sharing it.

  97. Even though I have tons of responsibilities, you’ll find me in the kitchen at midnight cutting up fruits and veggies that my toddler can have as finger foods or use the fork if he chooses at a mealtime that has become “what he wants” because it’s what he’s use to. Pouches just strike me as lazy parenting and a lack of prioritizing.

  98. I usually love everything I read on this blog and enjoy the comments a lot. I feel like I really relate to a lot of the people on here and love finding people in the parenting world who think in similar ways. This discussion about the pouches really bugs me though. People seem much more judgemental than in other discussions.

    I use the food pouches a lot and my son loves them. We also have three sit down meals a day and dinner is always a family affair. He gets LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies and uses a spoon to feed himself. He is 17 months old and doesn’t always fill up completely when we sit down to eat so in an hour he may be hungry. Because we like to play outside A LOT and are at parks, playgrounds, zoos and other fun locations much of our day we pack snacks to keep up well fueled. The pouches are easy to pack, healthy, organic fruits and veggies, and easy clean up. They allow us to hike, run, play, and do all the fun stuff we like to do. I don’t feel guilty at all for giving them to my son. He shares my snacks too and never gets the packets for meal replacement (they really aren’t hearty enough for an active, growing boy!)

    I don’t like the idea that these pouches mean parents are lazy. I’d much rather pack those along on a hike than full apples and bananas simply to save weight in the pack. We can eat the fresh stuff when we get back from our day playing outside! I do wish they were in better packaging though! I hate the waste side of them.

    I agree that the way they are selling the product isn’t great. But with all the crap out there at least these pouches can help kids eat veggies they might not want otherwise. They could be eating cheetos!

  99. gap.runner- My pleasure!

    From my experience, the idea that food is just something you shovel in to give you the fuel for more “important” activities is uniquely American. Just look at how you’re rushed through restaurants in the U.S. In my (limited) European restaurant experience, you weren’t rushed whatsoever, and you also weren’t offered a children’s menu to ensure the kids could shovel as fast as the adults. I liked that.

  100. Megan- I agree shaming people for using the pouches -no matter the circumstances -is wrong. It sounds like you’re using the pouches to help enable an active life for your kid, which is great. In my case, it was the article implying that sit down meals are impossible, that all kids need is a steady supply of the pouches to keep going, that set me off. The article was just stupid.

  101. “It’s like being called a “homophobe” if you don’t want anal sex taught in elementary school. ”

    SKL, what schools teach how-tos on ANY sort of sex in elementary school?

  102. The pouches are just another option out of millions. Buying some doesn’t mean you now live the “pouch lifestyle” and you can have your kids’ teeth removed.

  103. Uly, there was an article last week about parents complaining that a principal explained (graphically) to fifth-graders what oral and anal sex were, during a lesson on HIV. Many considered the parents uptight and behind-the-times.

  104. Gah!!! I HATE the term lazy parenting! Every parent has different priorities, whether it be healthy food, time with their children, money, or whatever else under the sun a parent is concerned with. Just because said parent prioritizes a different issue, or feeds their child in a way you wouldn’t, or, God forbid, takes a shortcut or uses a convenience food to make life a little easier and more enjoyable for their family, does NOT make them a lazy parent!!!!! A so-called lazy parent is one, I imagine, who does not parent all, who neglects a child in all areas of life, even an abusive parent! Someone who parents differently than you or has beliefs you do not hold or uses different products than you is NOT lazy!!!!!Can’t we just all say we love our kids, and want what’s best for them, even though that “best” is widely different???

  105. Actually, serving whole apples and bananas is just as lazy (that’s why I do that too, ha).

  106. I hope SKL and others appreciate my post, it’s sincere.

    I agree with maggie 100%. “Lazy parenting” basically means you DARE to consider your own interests in your daily life as a parent, rather than it being 24/7/365.25 all about the kids, and doing the hardest thing on a list of options because “I care.” (No, I am NOT necessarily talking about prioritizing your time with your mate or a guy/girl in this, for the most part.) If you take a shortcut to save yourself some grief & give yourself some spare time to actually be an adult doing whatever for 2.5 milliseconds, you’re lazy.

    I’ve heard it all. You’re lazy if you let your kids play vs spending every single moment trying to make sure they speak 11 languages and write their name caligraphy-style with a fountain pen by the time they’re 2. You’re “lazy” if you let them stay in the car for 2 minutes while you go inside & pay for gas. You’re “lazy” for getting them shoes that use velcro, vs shoelaced shoes. You’re not a good parent if you get a car seat that is easy to buckle vs getting the “safer” one that is 15 times harder to deal with. You’re “lazy” for letting your infant child cry-it-out at naptime vs spending 45 minutes going back & forth rock to sleep-put them down they’re crying again-pick them up, rock to sleep some more-put them down, oh it’s okay–oops, they’re crying again, I better do it all over again. And you’re a bad parent if you want toys that are battery-operated to have a very obvious “off” switch that IMMEDIATELY silences a “musical” toy.

    I try not to judge those sorts of things (I may have the opinions I do which I expressed near the end of the attachment parenting post, but even then I’m simply stating what I think the principles are, not judging PEOPLE–regardless, judge a parent for being lazy, not a chance.) Me, for instance,I very often cook my kids a full sausage-eggs-biscuits in the morning–come night, I may cook them a meal with meat & potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, green beans, collards, all over a hot stove. And frankly, I’m an advocate of the “let’s all sit around the table, and NO TV etc” school of thought.

    But you know what? I am not going to judge a mother that lets her child have cold cereal (vs my sausage-eggs-biscuits deal) to make it easier on herself. If <SKL or anybody else wants to give their child apples & bananas to make it easier on themselves, I say, fine. I mean, gee whiz, you would think, based on the responses of some people I hear talk, is akin to kicking your child outside in 20’F weather–naked, wet, and locking the door. For 9 hours. While it’s snowing.

    Heck, why stop there. The meal I make, I mean, I use “convenience” bags and canned vegetables etc. Am I not “good enough” because I don’t grow peas & corn in a garden I maintain? Am I “lazy” because I wash dishes in a dishwashing machine and not by hand if I can help it? Should we be using a “washboard” instead of a washing machine or else we’re lazy?

    And of course, the free-range stuff–I’m “lazy” because I’ve taught my kids to, most of the time anyway, be able to navigate smaller parking lots without my having to hold their hand. I’m “lazy” because I expect them to follow me on-foot in the store vs being pushed around in the grocery cart (I need all the room, and they are 3 & 5). I’m “lazy” because I allow them to dress themselves & don’t have a cow if they put their pants on backwards?

    Some people, I tell you.

    LRH

  107. Kathy V – good for you for being up at midnight to get snack together for your kids.

    Personally, I need sleep. There is NO WAY I would be up at midnight doing that. If I did that I would be much more likely to have a car accident the next day while driving to the store, playground or therapy, work, whatever.

    Especially as my kids generally are up with the sun, and in our northern climate, that mean up at 5:00 am or earlier. When they were little, I could leave them to play for a little bit, but not too long or they got into things.

    Like others, I can see that these things may have their place, but they are not something I would consider getting for my now older kids in general. Would have been nice had I known about them when my son needed to do a skin grafting inside his mouth and couldn’t eat solids for over a week.

  108. “I mean, I use “convenience” bags and canned vegetables etc. Am I not “good enough” because I don’t grow peas & corn in a garden I maintain?”

    LOL, LRH! I’ve thought that before, too. I make my own bread.(it doesn’t make me better than someone who buys it. I am not somehow superior because I do it. I bake it because I like to bake. I think it’s fun to experiment with different kinds of bread.) But I have thought to myself that I’m not really making it from scratch as much as I’m assembling it from scratch – after all, it’s not like I milled the grain myself :)

    That being said, I’ve never seen these pouches before. I do not care for the waste they create. It doesn’t bother me that people feed them to their kids. But feeding your child pureed fruit or veggies from a pouch has nothing to do with a philosophy which espouses allowing your children age appropriate independence and refusing to succomb to the pervasive culture of fear.I find myself irrationally annoyed at this attempt to co-opt the term for marketing purposes.

  109. I am so happy that Dina posted that update. And it prompted me to browse her blog and I discovered I agree with most of what she says on teaching kids healthy food habits too.

    Maybe those who want to continue the discussion on the pros and cons of the pouches could take it to her blog? I hope she would appreciate the extra traffic if the comments are now on the topic of food for kids.

  110. I read the article too & I can understand why you are upset, but since I understood what he mean by the Free-Range term I didn’t think much of it. I’m not sure how many older kids really eat his food. I wonder more if the article is an attempt to promote / market it as a convenience food for all kids. To me it’s more of a baby / toddler food & is great for a younger child that needs to eat often. I personally think they are great for my one year old, but as he gets better at self feeding & less messy I would prefer he eat real whole foods. These are handy to keep in your car since they don’t need refrigeration before they are opened & are not too perishable. They are Organic Fruits & veggies so they are healthy on the go food like an energy bar or a glass of milk or protein drink. Much better than fast food. My almost 6yr old turns his nose up at them, but my one yr old loves them

  111. Wow….seems everyone here has an opinion….but for some reason mine isn’t respected or appreciated. Thanks.

  112. As I am reading some of the comments, I’m a little put off by the judgement. IE pouches = bad parents. They are a tool like anything else, they can be very useful or over used. Every situation, child & family are different. My experience with my oldest child when he was young was that he was always hungry & I always had to have food in the car or my purse just in case. I had milk in the containers that didn’t need refrigeration & energy or granola type bars, why are the pouches any worse? Due to the crappy economy, the high price of gas & everything else I try to combine my errands to not be wasteful. I also have an older son that I have to pick up from school & errands to run, market, misc shopping, doctors appointments, etc. Some days I’m out all day & my kids are not over scheduled. My son has 5 days of school & they baby has mommy & me once a week. Please lets be more kind & understanding of people who live differently than ourselves. Thanks, sorry for the rant.

  113. Uly, there was an article last week about parents complaining that a principal explained (graphically) to fifth-graders what oral and anal sex were, during a lesson on HIV. Many considered the parents uptight and behind-the-times.

    REALLY? (This is astonished really, not sarcastic really.) Can you provide a link? Because, while the story itself isn’t so shocking (with the many schools in the US, some of them have to be headed by true weirdos) the response seems very surprising. I’d like to read it myself.

    Kathy V, yours isn’t respected because your opinion is “people who don’t do things the way I do are lazy, terrible parents”. Nobody is going to respect that opinion because, quite aside from the fact that it’s insulting, it shows a total inability to consider things from another point of view. Talk about laziness!

  114. I can see these being useful for trips and whatnot, just as a quick snack until you can find a place to sit, or during a long bus ride(did the same with Yops for my kid), but to replace regular feeding time? That’s just lazy.

  115. P.S. I just realized….why is an article about a product in Psychology Today and NY Times?

  116. This is awesome!!! (That Dina “heard” us and totally gets it. So exciting.)

  117. Kathy V, aside from the fact that you don’t say “what you do is lazy parenting” and expect “respect” in return, your comment showed a dire lack of critical thinking. The existence of a product that makes something easier for some people, some of the time does not indicate anything about those parents. You cannot tell me that you have never utilized any product that made childrearing more convenient for you. Of course I’m not at your house, but unless you grow your own cotton / shear your own sheep, weave your own cloth, and use that cloth on your kids’ butts instead of paper, and then go down to the creek to beat it against a stone to clean it, hang it out to dry, and do the same over again, you take advantage of conveniences. Unless you train your kids to poop and pee outdoors 24/7 year-round, you use convenience products. If you have ever used a microwave or tossed any packaging into a trash or recycle bin . . . you get my point. All of that is actually “lazy parenting” if the term is to be applied the way you applied it. So either it isn’t lazy, or we are all lazy. If we’re all lazy, your comment is meaningless. So that’s why we didn’t “respect” it.

  118. And as for cutting fruits at midnight – they get brown (or otherwise less appetizing) by the next day. I might not want to serve my kid brown fruit chunks. Sometimes I do serve them a little discolored, but I don’t make a practice of it just to prove I’m a diligent mother.

    I agree that this product isn’t the most environmentally impressive one. However, the same could be said of many things we use more often than an applesauce pouch. Hopefully there is a way to redesign the pouch for reduced environmental impact. Meanwhile, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

  119. Uly, sorry, I don’t have a link. Maybe if you google fifth grade, principal, HIV, and look for something in the past week or two.

  120. I was thinking about these things more and the whole Wall-e connection kept popping into my head. The future in Wall-e is full of fat people that move around on sleds and eat (slurp) cups of food all day long. And that’s after they destroyed their world with a ton of waste from convenience food. I’ve always thought that the idea isn’t that far off with the way the world (okay, maybe just the US) is heading.

  121. To those of you who are amazed that your 7yr old get get around the neighborhood without needing tto be picked up: i was biking a 2mi paper route that involved a main road and everything by the age of 8. Let go. Provided you live in a safe town/neighborhood, just let go.

    I never had a “play date” as a kid. I had soccer practice, neighborrhood friends, the woods/swamp out back, trees to climb, a basketball hoop on the front of the garage, and a bike. That’s pretty much all that’s necesssary to entertain your 7-16 year old.

    Big wheels, tricycles, and a brother kept me entertained before then. Onne kid is harder to entertain than two. Have two kids or very good next door neighbors.

    …and then, let go.

  122. My question is – These things are BABY FOOD. That is their original purpose. They are made by Gerber and other babyfood manufactures as well as this company. I’ve never seen them but I imagine that they are found on the baby aisle with all the other baby food (an aisle I have no reason to enter anymore which would explain why I’ve never seen them). They are nothing more than the stuff in the baby food jars put in a different container. Heck they say “BABY” right on the packaging.

    For any other baby item that parents of non-babies use, everyone here is all over it and the infantizing of American kids. If kindergarteners without health issues were showing up at playgrounds and schools with little jars of baby food, everyone would be outraged. But we’re supposed to shrug our shoulders at feeding kids well past the baby stage baby food because it comes in cute packaging? We’re suddenly more judgmental than usual for thinking that baby food should not be marketed as an item that all kids need instead of as something for babies?

    I can certainly see where they would be handy for babies. I probably would have used them when out and about myself when my girl was eating baby food. I can’t get on board with serving elementary school age children baby food because it comes in a cute container. Sorry if that is too judgmental for this group. It seems pretty consistent with the general free-range views here to me.

  123. Donna, you may have missed the comments where some of us noted we were talking about a different product, from a completely different source, aimed at school-aged kids. The product is in a pouch, so somewhat similar in presentation, but it’s not baby food; I just bought some yesterday in the peanut butter aisle. Unless you think nobody over age 2 should be allowed to eat apple sauce.

    I have seen the baby food version and yes, it’s in the baby aisle and no, I’ve never been tempted to buy it.

    I would look at it more like a “grown-up” water bottle or travel mug. Just because it very much resembles a “sippy cup” doesn’t mean I’m anti-free-range if I let my kids (or myself) use one.

  124. Sorry, I did miss the comment. I’m stuck in a part of the world where new things don’t appear so I’ve never seen them.

    If this is simply traditional apple sauce in a slurp container – like go-gurt – then I just think it’s gross and there is no need for it (apple sauce and yogurt can be saved for times when they are not an inconvenience and something else, like an actual apple, served if you need to eat on the go) but to each his own. I’m not buying them but whatever.

    If you are talking a wide range of fruits and veggies pureed and put in pouches to suck, then I stick to my original comment. It is just baby food being marketed to non-babies. Moving baby food off the baby aisle doesn’t actually make it not baby food. It is not akin to a travel mug in that most food is not meant to be consumed in a pureed form or via sucking beyond babyhood. An adult consuming a liquid in adult form in a spill free container is not actually the same as an adult consuming food in baby-form and in a spill-free container. They would be handy though for those with broken jaws or recent major dental work/orthodontia. If that makes me judgmental on this issue, I’m judgmental.

    And I DO feel like I am drinking out of a sippy cup when I drink out of many sports bottles. I only like the ones with wide openings that are more like travel mugs.

  125. And the people in the article seem to be claiming that they are feeding their preschool and schoolage children this actual product. Or something closely related as they are serving strawberry-banana and carrot purees. That is just baby food. Might as well have them open the Gerber jar and go at it.

  126. I think the way these pouches are marketed as something kids should be eating constantly is what’s gross. Now and again? Sure, why not. All things in moderation and so forth. But constantly, because “kids are so busy”? Just off. Kids don’t need to be so constantly busy that they never have time to chew. Learning how to eat properly is more important than endless karate and ballet appointments.

  127. Why are kids eating constantly anyway? My parents never toted around snacks wherever we went. Like anything, moderation is the key here.

  128. Winnie- Not long ago I read an article about the explosion in kids’ snacking- when asked why she always had snacks on hand, a mom said, “to stave off tantrums, of course.” Gotta appreciate her honesty! I think there’s an engrained cultural belief -eagerly encouraged by snack makers! -that kids should never be allowed to feel the slightest ache of hunger.

  129. Why is moderation even the key in feeding your post-baby children what is essentially baby food (whether packaged with pictures of cute babies or cute 6 year olds)? And if it is okay on the go, is it also okay at home? “I don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight, son, so here’s some jars of strained chicken and rice and strained peas. Bon appetite.” Why is pureed food in a pouch acceptable food for everyone when pureed food in a jar is not?

    This seems to be more than commonly-consumed pureed foods, like apple sauce, packaged in pouches. And I am talking about children outside of baby age. I see no problem with babies eating baby food regardless of how it is packaged.

  130. Donna- I think it can be fun to eat something developmentally inappropriate at times. Key Words: At Times. But truthfully: food in a pouch wouldn’t be in business if it was marketed as just a fun food to have on occasion. Because it is pretty much baby food. I’m reminded of my three-year-old nephew playing “baby” with his sister the other day. He was wearing a diaper at one point, something he hasn’t had the real need for for quite some time. And while he thought the diaper was fun for a bit, eventually he said, “I don’t like it. Take it off.”

  131. @Olympia–I’ve never met a kid who wanted to eat baby food or wear baby clothes or whatever, past “baby” age, so I’m surprised that these jars of pureed fruit mush (which are, as many people have said, essentially baby food) are selling so well. I’ve never seen them for sale in Australia or in Canada, and I’d never heard of them until I read this article, so maybe it’s just an American thing, or maybe I haven’t noticed because I only ever visit the baby aisle of the grocery store when I need Q-Tips, which isn’t very often.

  132. You know we are seeing children coming to school with poor muscle tone around their mouths. One of the recommendations our preschool teachers give parents is give your child an apple with the skin on to eat – the chewing motion will help develop muscle tone. Poor muscle tone can contribute to problems with articulation. Its amazing how many kids bring processed fruit to school for lunch as opposed to a piece of fresh fruit. My school is in a low ses area and the cost of processed fruit is way higher than fresh fruit – so I have no doubt that this sort of product could and will catch on here in Australia.

    BTW on a brighter note – our preschool teacher went to a Dept Ed sponsored early childhood conference, can you guess which book the DEC is recommending? Yep Freerange Kids!!! Our teacher was talking it up in the staffroom -hooray maybe this is the start of something big – lets hope so.

  133. Well, since I’ve seen both types of pouches before I saw this article, I interpeted many of the comments to be about the stuff I buy, which is grown-up applesauce (with or without other fruit) in a pouch, not baby food. Most of those talking about the baby food were giving it to babies / tots, it seemed to me.

    You are entitled to your opinion that the presentation of Materne go-go applesauce and go-gurt etc. are gross, but my kids think they rock. I don’t buy go-gurt because it is messy, but the Materne pouches are not. If my kids thought they were “gross,” obviously I would not buy them – they are not cheap nor extremely nutritious. I do assume that the pouches will be a short-lived fad, like the mozzarella cheese sticks my kids begged for last year and now dislike.

    I have nothing against the occasional ingestion of baby food, by the way. It’s just ridiculously expensive for it to make sense for anyone who can eat something else. That said, I recall when I was 9 and had the job of feeding my baby brother. I used to sneak and eat some of his Gerber tutti fruitti and custard pudding. What can I say, it was tasty.

    I agree that many kids have way too many snacks nowadays. My kids don’t; I never have been one to keep my kid supplied with food and drink 24/7. We’ve had no more than 4 meals/snacks per day since my kids were a year old. (I might add a 5th [fruit/milk] due to some sugar issues one of my kids is having.) We don’t “graze” – neither I nor my kids. I just think that when you’re eating, you should focus on eating, and when you’re doing something else, you shouldn’t be thinking about food/drink. I know too many people who can’t get through a half hour without either eating or planning their next meal – and they have the health problems to prove it.

    While I don’t like the tone of the linked article, I also find it a bit ridiculous that people assume that kids who use these products won’t know what to do with a chewy food or a knife and fork. Really? Kids eat over 1,000 meals per year. There are plenty of opportunities to practice chewing, cutting, spearing, and shoveling. My kids have been eating with utensils when appropriate for over 4 years. They can suck on an occasional pouch without losing their touch.

  134. Althought I am a stickler for encouraging healthy food habits early and never even understood baby food in jars myself, it really isn’t going to permanently damage a child to be given these when they’re very young or as a snack when they’re older. But it’s the marketing that is very anti free-range. If kids don’t even have time to sit down for a meal, they’re not going to have time for free play.

  135. Lin, that’s probably true sometimes, but on the other hand, the idea of combining eating with travel time (sometimes) can contribute to more free play. If I pick my kids up at 6:30pm and take them to sit down and eat dinner at home or in a restaurant, there is really no time left to do anything substantial before bed. If they eat in the car while in transit, they’ll have time to play around in an unstructured manner at the pool or park or other kid-friendly place. Either way they are stuck in the car between stops. Of course I make sure we have plenty of sit-down meals together, but I also need to make sure they get time to blow off some steam. Otherwise nearly all of their playtime takes place in a “very safe” (and limiting) daycare center.

  136. You know, applesauce, puddling, jello cottage cheese and more have been around for quiet a while, and you don’t really need to chew any of those. The fact that chewing is or is not required is not the issue.

    The issue is that this is marketed as “free range”. But as I see it, it is only “free range” in the same way that chickens are free range. Chickens are free range if they go out in the pasture and eat any goody that they can find, be it tasty leaf, or more tasty bug or slug. For a kid to get “free range” in terms of food, the kid needs to go get it and eat it. I would argue that the parents who let their kid walk to the convenience store with a dollar are more like how the chickens eat. This “might” be free range in the same way if the shelf is stocked with things and this is what the kid picks out.

    But, Lenore advocates way beyond what chickens do. It is allowing kids to make choices about their time – and, how to get there on their own if at all possible. It is about giving kids time to be kids, to explore, to learn about nature, to make friends with kids in the neighborhood without arranged dates and mom there to supervise in case there is an argument. It is learning about the people in your area, adults and kids. It is about learning in an age appropriate manner how to be safe, secure and happy without unnatural restrictions or cages. (Oops, back to the chickens. Children shouldn’t be in cages although some parents do try to keep them that way to keep them “safe.”)

  137. @SKL. Firstly, I don’t see sitting down for dinner together as taking up valuable time that I could’ve spent in a better way. And secondly, my child used to eat snacks in the car all the time when she was a toddler. Because I do believe they need to eat more often at that age. (I still didn’t see the need for processed food, but that’s beside the point) But having food on the way home because you might aswell use that time in the car for something productive – which I believe is what you are saying – is still very different to what the article describes. Which is basically that kid’s time is so over scheduled that they just don’t have any other choice but to have dinner in the car.

  138. You don’t have to have over-scheduled kids to be busy & not have time for a proper meal. My oldest son is one of those kids that doesn’t want to stop & eat, but the second he gets into the car he wants to eat. I am not with him while he is at school & while the teacher can make him sit with the other kids for snacks & lunch she can’t make him eat. Sometime I have to run an errand or make a stop before we get home & having a snack in the car is a lifesaver. Also I have found that when traveling or going to museums or parks & such or even the mall the food available is often not healthy & I would prefer to bring a healthy snack. While I am not advocating these pouches for older kids they are far from junk food or processed food in the sense that they are not like jello, pudding or Twinkies or something. They are not much different than snack packs of fruit without the sugar & they don’t need utensils.

  139. I have seen these types of products in Starbucks and figure they are light years better than the many high calorie baked goods offered alongside them in the same cases.

    I would much rather feed my child one of these pouches, than pull up to the nearest fast-food greasefest and go the fried pink slime with a side of soggy potatoes route.

  140. I remember years ago when I was on a job and I worked late along with an IRS agent. She had a 6yo at the time and had to pick him up from afterschool at about 6pm. The kid had last eaten at 11:45am and was starving. He was crying. She had to grab some McD’s because it was just too much to ask him to wait for a sit-down meal to be served. I’ll bet she would have loved to have a stash of convenient, neat stuff to eat in the car for times like that. (I dare you to call her “lazy” for being in that situation.)

    Lin, I agree that it’s all about the parents’ choices, and most of us could avoid eating in the car if we wanted to. I used to forbid it until about a year ago when I decided that (a) my kids were too old to worry about choking, (b) they were capable of not smearing the backseat full of food, and (c) we could get more done at our destination if we got the eating out of the way. Before that I used to do the sit-down meal at the destination (picnic style), but I weighed my priorities and decided to change things up. I’m not saying there’s no other way or that everyone needs to do that. I’m not disrespecting others’ choices to do differently. But I’d like people to understand that parents can make a “different” choice without being lazy or having sick priorities.

    Just for context, the place I take my kids to on Wednesday nights is one most of you would probably find valuable. There are several kid-friendly museums, some with hands-on exhibits, one with an outdoor live wildlife exibit (like a little zoo), and some with nice places to climb and play. On Wednesday evenings in summer, there is a weekly music festival right there on the green, and each week the theme is a little different. Reggae, Irish, hippie, you name it. There are exhibits and workshops for the kids – again, different each week. The place is full of different people and cultural stuff. It’s also an awesome free-range opportunity for kids to run around and get comfortable with all different kinds of people. But the food options are horrible. So, I do what I think makes the most of our Wednesday evenings. It has nothing to do with being lazy or over-scheduled or “infantilizing” my kids.

  141. SKL, just to get back off topic for a sec, I did find a few articles on the case you’re talking about (and with more information I think it’s entirely overblown, but that’s par for the course) and just a simple glance at the comments on various articles finds a lot of outrage over the class and not ANY comments calling others homophobes unless they actually say something like “The only type of sex is between a man and a woman to make babies and anything else is disgusting and perverted and those people should be shot” in which case… yeah.

    The more information is a. every parent had a chance to check over the curriculum and withdraw their child if they didn’t agree with it (and the complainers didn’t) b. this doesn’t violate the curriculum and c. the class in question simply mentioned that certain STDs can be spread through oral or anal sex, and one child asked what they were so the principal teaching the class gave a brief definition of same. Frankly, I would’ve done that in her place. Too many kids just a little older than those 5th graders think it’s okay to have oral or anal sex, even unprotected, because “it doesn’t count”. Better to nip that little idea in the bud.

    More importantly, though, I’m not seeing in the comments anybody blanketly decrying that anybody who objects to sex education at this age is homophobic.

    Admittedly, the article I’m reading is on Fox News. That might be skewing the results. If I find another one on a less right-wing website and it concurs with your earlier comment, I’ll definitely retract this one.

  142. Where were these when I was a kid?

  143. Dear Dina — thank you for the update :)

  144. Uly, the parents were informed that there would be a lesson on AIDS, not that oral/anal sex would be described to their children. Even my 5yos know there is a deadly disease called AIDS, but they don’t know how exactly it is spread. I thought the purpose of AIDS lessons in elementary school was to reassure children that they could not catch it just by sitting next to an infected classmate.

    I disagree with the way the principal handled the question. That can’t be the first time a kid asked a question that wasn’t appropriately answered factually in that setting. What if the child said “what does f*ck mean”? What ever happened to “ask your mother” or “maybe the librarian could help you later” or “oh goodness, we’re behind schedule, time to start the next section”? Why did the words “anal sex” need to be in that presentation in the first place?

    If some kids are at risk of being sexually active at age 10, those kids should be counseled privately. It isn’t appropriate to explain oral and anal sex to a roomful of other parents’ 10-year-olds, in my opinion.

    As for the range of community reactions, even if the word “homophobe” doesn’t show up in the comments, there are reactions to the effect that you’re uptight if you don’t realize your 10yo needs to know this. Blech. It’s just one in a series of situations where outsiders step into the proper role of parents and decide what their young children are ready for. They aren’t ready to walk to school or buy milk alone, but they need to know what anal sex is because they might try it. Hmm. How are they gonna try it if they are never allowed unsupervised for ten seconds?

    I remember being 10. The absolute last thing I needed to be thinking about was that.

  145. SKL, I wouldn’t call the IRS lady lazy, but I would call her unprepared. First of all, if the child was in a paid afterschool program, he should have been offered a snack. If they don’t for some unheard of reason, she should have packed a snack for him to have after school. Also picking a child up at 6:00, she should assume that evn with a snack the child is probably very hungryand I think I would have a small nutritious snack on hand anyways, like a small bag of nuts, carrot sticks, sunflower seeds, or an apple. I personally find pureed fruits and vegetables in pouches to be overpriced and nutritionally inferior to fresh produce. And in my experience fresh fruits and vegetables are extremely convienent to carry around. I guess they take a bit more work in that some of them require cutting and alot require washing. But I just do that myself and it doesn’t take long. Of course I’m all about living frugal, not wasting, and whole foods, which I realize isn’t a priority for everyone. So for convenience sake, maybe the pouches are easier for some.

  146. Jessica, that might make sense if she’d known she’d be working late for sure, or if it happened quite regularly. But she normally picked the kid up much earlier. You wouldn’t keep fresh fruits in your car or briefcase all summer just in case you “might” work late. They don’t keep that well. As for sending a snack with the kid, she told me the school didn’t allow them to have snacks. (This was an afterschool program at the public elementary school.)

    Fact is, hindsight is 20/20, but it’s nice to have access to something that isn’t fragile in a pinch. I’m sure we’ve all had situations where we didn’t think of every possibility in advance and relied on some convenience to get us through.

    I also used to stock little “milk boxes,” because of the time I was stuck taking two sick babies out in the cold rain when milk ran low. It was such an unpleasant experience that I wanted to make sure that never happened again. I never really needed the milk boxes but I felt better having them, and I’d bring them for picnics in order to use them up before they expired. I also still keep little packets of peanut butter, cereal bars, and a couple other things that I can grab on the way out the door if I don’t have time to prep anything. It’s not a lifestyle, it’s more of a buffer. It beats having to rely on McDonalds in a pinch. The other time convenience foods come in handy is when I pick up my kids in the evening and they have a note saying “bring a disposable sack lunch tomorrow.” My grocery store is a half-hour drive away, and I might have plans for the evening. Even if I’m out of bread (which I don’t use often) and kid-friendly fresh fruit, I can throw together a couple sacks of healthy food.

    This side discussion is kinda funny to me, because normally I’m a “less is more” kind of person. The things people typically stock up on, I don’t. But having a week’s worth of super convenient foods seems reasonable to me. It gives me a buffer against stress. Much cheaper than a spa day or pills, LOL.

  147. My daughter is 8 & has been enjoying the applesauce pouches since we discovered them at Trader Joe’s 2-3 years ago. They are the ones from France & we’ve discovered another brand as well. They are applesauce mixed with other fruit and are organic and only fruit. They are convenient for school & picnic lunches and don’t require a spoon. Not that i think packing a spoon is a lot of trouble, but just one less thing to worry about and not forget to throw in the lunch box.

  148. The pouches in question are baby food. They are 100% organic. And they are fantastic for babies and toddlers – as a baby food. They even have a spoon attachment (reusable) to prevent “slurping.” I loved using these when my son was a baby, even in our own home just like other folks buy Gerber or whatever. (And when we flew home at Christmas everyone in the airport stopped to ask what we were eating, as it seemed simple, civilized, and without mess.)

    And though we’re on to bigger and better things now, when my almost 2 toddler refuses green veggies for a day or two, he will still reliably eat a spinach, peas and pears packet or brocoli and apples pack and I have zero issue with that. Afterall it is organic and it has no additives whatsoever. (He even uses his own spoon.)

    I’m sorry these folks in their marketing stepped on the “free-range parent” term, but I truly don’t understand all the hate out there for parents who buy baby food for their babies (and tots) out of a pouch instead of a bottle or little plastic box?

  149. I’d be concerned about what the pouch itself is made of. It may contain completely apples (or whatever kind we’re talking about), but mashed up apples that don’t need to be refrigerated, and aren’t in glass? I don’t trust it.

    Anyway… Aside from the fact that sitting down and eating dinner is important for several reasons already mentioned by others… How much time does it really take to just mash up some of whatever the adults are eating? Or – for toddlers/kids too old for baby food – to just hand over some of what the adults are eating? Do these busy parents not eat? Are they eating while driving (and managing not to make a mess with something their kids will make a mess just sitting and eating, probably because they haven’t been given the chance to eat messily so that they can learn to eat neatly)?

    @SKL “You wouldn’t keep fresh fruits in your car or briefcase all summer just in case you “might” work late”

    *shrug* I always did, when I worked out of the house. If I didn’t end up needing it after a few days, I’d just eat it/feed it to the kids anyway and replace it. It’s true I didn’t leave them in the car in the summer, or at least tried not to, but I always had them on hand. And I don’t see how prepackaged foods are more disposable than the same foods made or packaged at home.

  150. Having a week’s worth of snack foods is more than just a buffer for when kids are hungry. It is also called being prepared for an emergency.

    I used to live on the San Andreas Fault. We were supposed to have bottled water and easily prepared food for about 3 days to a week. The school actually asked that all parents send in stuff exactly like this so that if there were an earthquake while kids were in school, that they would have something to snack on until parents were able to get them. We commonly had power outages each winter of 2 or more days due to mud sliding with trees that would take out power lines.

    When I lived on the other side of the continent, we lived in hurricane area, which again, is better to be prepared ahead of time. And, because we were a “southern” state, we also occasionally got huge snow storms that our county was totally unprepared to handle, meaning that much of the county could be a week before the roads were cleared (and, often had downed power lines to boot.)

    Having snacks like this, as well as the crackers and cheese and peanut butter, jerky, dried fruit and such is all just part of being prepared, and yes, it is nice to rotate it out before it goes completely bad and you waste your money.

  151. Sigh. Why does everything have to be all or nothing? Why is it not OK for me to use something you don’t have a need for? What ever happened to “to each her own” when discussing something that isn’t hurting anyone? Or did I miss the memo saying that we all have to have the exact same priorities? Did I ever say the human race would die out without pouches?

  152. “What ever happened to ‘to each her own’ when discussing something that isn’t hurting anyone?”

    I would venture that our collective use of individually-wrapped, single-serving anything is hurting us all, and most other forms of life on this planet. And if you think I’m just being hysterical, you’re in great company. Most of the word’s leaders and corporate CEOs would agree with you.

  153. So mollie, I guess you never eat or serve an individually-wrapped, single serving anything. Awesome. More power to you. I’m not big on waste myself – I do it less than most – but I’m not pointing any fingers because (a) that’s not what I was placed on this earth for, (b) I’m not perfect, and (c) it isn’t actually kind or helpful.

    As I’ve said before, what’s the use of a spotless physical environment when it comes at the cost of a friendly social environment?

  154. I gave these to my one year old nephew when he lived with me last year. They were a big time saver and they were also easy for him to eat on his own. They were also the only thing he’d eat when he was teething.

    Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with giving a little one a pouch of food every once in awhile. Especially when they’re in that messy stage. I didn’t always have the time to deal with the spoon dropping, food slopping routine in the mornings while I was trying to get his older brother ready for school.

  155. SKL, I’m about to burn a whole lot of jet fuel as a passenger on flights criss-crossing North America with my kid, I eat produce that’s been grown conventionally to be shipped from the far corners of the earth and take-out meals that come in a clamshell that will serve a purpose for about four and a half minutes and last millennia, I drive a gasoline-powered car, I heat my house with electricity, I have a top-loading washing machine and an electric dryer. If I were ever on a high horse, it’s thrown and trampled me long ago.

    But it honestly grieves me that I cannot find a way to live in community and live in a way that’s not raping the planet. Sure, I could go off into the woods somewhere and live “off the grid,” growing our own nuts and beans and drinking from a well, but the isolation would surely kill me. I need people. So every day, I look at my life and shudder, knowing I’m definitely part of the problem, but not knowing how to stop this fast train to hell.

    Individually-wrapped everything is something I consciously avoid. I know. Yay for me. And if I don’t buy it, thousands of others will, so who cares? And if the manufacturer didn’t put it in a single-serving throw-away package, most people would buy it in a larger package and parcel it out into ziplocs that would get tossed as well. But the sheer amount of plastic used in something like a yoplait yogurt container or one of these pouches just freaks me out. Bottled water is something else that leaves me nearly gasping with despair, even though not even a decade ago, I used to buy 40 little mini-bottles at a time at Costco to serve at parties!

    Anyway, no, I’m not saying you’re wrong or bad to buy these things. I’m just saying that I cannot, with the consciousness that I now have, agree that “it’s not hurting anyone.” Eventually, our love of convenience will be the death of us, I think. And I’m just as much a part of that death as anyone, pouch purchases or not.

  156. Honestly, our pouch consumption is nothing compared to the reams of paper my kids bring home from school. That really makes me cringe.

    Compared to most folks, my family consumes much fewer non-renewable resources. Most popular products never make it into my shopping cart, and I rinse and reuse ziplock bags. But I don’t believe that the earth is such a wuss planet that a few pouches will do her in.

  157. OMG…free range parenting??? WTH???? So now, not only do we have to deal with their air of entitlement in the workplace, but in 30 years we will have CEO’s sucking nourishment from pouches and demanding that their staff do the same to “save time”. SMH People, people, PEOPLE, please realize that every single quality thing we take out of our parenting roles like the security and love children feel from knowing that parents take time out of busy schedules to make make good homemade meals, and actually serve them to them one time a day (at least), is another quality value that will be removed from society on a whole. I can’t even believe that one parent commented that sit down meals aren’t necessary every single day….where they do that at? I’m 38 with teens ages 18, 14, and 15. I’m a single working parent and my kids will tell you that with me working 40+ weeks, they got dinner every single night until the youngest was 11. By then the oldest, at 15 was able to cook a meal every now and then. I’m in favor of free-range kids, because I think the helicopter parenting has gone bananas. Hell, I was a free range kid and I’m GREAT! Sadly, my kids haven’t had the same opportunities to be as free range as I was, but they are free range enough for kids who live in urban city limits. Safety must be considered when dealing with crazy adults, gang members, and a bounty of homeless people. Yet, they’ve been able to “roam” off to certain destinations with a cell phone in hand just in case.

    Back to the pouches though…that’s just ridiculous. I’m not in favor of making it a habit of feeding kids in the car, because that leads to teens and adults who end up using drive thru’s as a means of daily eating….VERY SCARY! Instead of spending time with loved ones…those elderly will certainly spend more time in the care of healthcare professionals. Let’s think about these long term repercussions, please people. Then again, if you’re feeding your kids from a pouch on a regular basis, maybe long-term isn’t in the visuals. You’re just thinking about getting through parenting for the next 13 years or so. SMH Slow the hell down, will you?

    Free Range Kids…I’m saving your site as a favorite of mine. So far, I haven’t seen not ONE THING that isn’t logical, even in a fast paced, uber technical, pro-greed society like we have today. Kudos to you.

  158. tmsudds, you are funny. If I took up our whole evening to cook and serve a sit-down meal to my kids every day, we’d all be fat from not getting enough exercise. No, I don’t think making time for evening exercise is bringing me to an early death. But if it makes you feel better to put me down, go for it. That’s the only way some people ever find happiness. So be happy.

  159. @ SKL…it wasn’t a put down, but an observation. My disapproval of someone else’s parenting style doesn’t mean that I think you’re a bad person or that you deserve less respect as a person or less respect as a parent. If you feel my disapproval is a put down, that was not my intent. If someone chooses to disapprove of my parenting style (which has indeed happened. lol) I would NEVER translate it as a personal attack or put down. I hope you’re able to remove your personal feelings from the matter and realize that my comment wasn’t even about you specifically, but more on my opinion regarding the value of spending time preparing quality meals for children on a regular basis as a caretaker. We are all adults here, right?

  160. And by the way, it doesn’t take all evening or shouldn’t take all evening to cook and serve a meal to children. There are great meals that can be cooked in less than 20 minutes, like home made stir fry. I tend to keep chopped onion, peppers, and other vittles in the freezer for these occasions. You can also accompany the meal with either toast or jiffy and kids love the sustenance, IF they’re used to eating non-processed foods that are healthy for them. I started all of my kids on pureed green beans as a baby food starter. They will grab a piece of fresh fruit or veggies over anything else as a snack and I don’t buy sodas, cookies, etc. We play xbox kinnect games like dance central together now that they are teens and when they were younger, we actually went outside to play badminton or toss around a football. My kids are actually extremely in shape…have six packs without weight lifting and have always had superb muscle tone. They are also athletes…good ones too. We don’t own a mower with a motor…the teen boys get out there and push the old fashion kind with a blade…we have a half an acre. I trim bushes and other foliage in our yard. It’s a team effort and since we sit down together to a meal more than your average family today, I don’t have to pull my hair out to get them motivated to cut the yard. I simply say, “Boys…the grass needs to be cut.” They get up and they do it. Because when it’s dinner time…guess what? I get up and do it…leading by example.

  161. Sudds, If your long post riddled with “SMH” and “PEOPLE PEOPLE” etc. wasn’t a put-down, you have a very strange way with words. You seem to think you have a lot to say, but nobody is listening when you say it in such a judgmental way. You sound like a crazy person. “OMG, it’s a POUCH! It’s the beginning of the end!” Really. If you’re a single working mom like me, chances are you’re pretty down to earth, but you don’t sound that way.

  162. Again, it would be conceivable that an adult person who is strong enough to give birth and manage a household would also be psychologically strong enough to with stand a text “SMH” and a few caps. Have you ever been a part of an intense team led think tank at work that affected bottom line decisions? I wouldn’t think so, because you are very sensitive…extremely sensitive. Here is an example of a put down…”a mother who cannot manage to work and feed her kids a home cooked meal is of no better use than a circus clown.”

    Now…I am in no way comparing you or any other mother a circus clown, but merely demonstrating what a put down really sounds like. Yes…I am very down to earth and I am a single working mother…my oldest is 18 and now I see why she has such a strong disposition and mind.

    No matter what you say or how you say it, I won’t agree with the value gathered from feeding a child from a pouch and I will stand on my opinion that I think it’s absurd. Again…that’s MY opinion and in no way is designed to make you feel like less of a mother or a human being. I assigned no value to you or your character by stating my opinion. I think the action is absurd…not the person. However, with these responses you keep posting, I’m starting to question your sound decision making abilities. I’ll definitely have to share this lil “debate” with my teens as an example of how to accept a difference in opinion without taking it personal. Thank you so much SKL. No doubt the conversation will more than likely take place over one of our lovely daily home cooked meals. *big smiles*

  163. Oh, I’m strong enough, sudds – I just think people ought not to use this forum as a place to criticize different parenting choices in the way that you did. And then to say they were not actually being critical. So yes, feel free to show your kids that you said “I can’t even believe that one parent commented that sit down meals aren’t necessary every single day….” and explain to your kids why the poster who’d said that should have felt nothing but enlightenment. And in turn, why you are so much more enlightened that you can let the poster’s reaction go without repeated comebacks. (Or not.)

    Nobody attacked you for your family traditions or actions; only for the way you spoke of others. Perhaps you and your kids can discuss the difference and whether or not it should matter.

  164. I never said I didn’t criticize you. I said that I didn’t put you down. Huge difference. Yes, I did criticize you and I won’t apologize for that. In everything that you’ve said, I have yet to take one thing personal. Again, you missed the point. I said that I’m going to show my kids this debate/comment exchange as an example of how not to what people say in disagreement so personal or take it as a personal attack. You really don’t listen too well do you? Yes, another critique and observation on my part. Again, not a put down. I haven’t let your comments go, because you keep commenting to me. If you keep commenting to me, I’m going to reply. I don’t feel like you attacked me or my family traditions at all. I just think you’re being too sensitive to the matter and should probably get over it.

  165. LOL. Maybe we should move this side discussion to a psychodrama forum.

  166. No thank you. Have a nice day.

  167. How will kids who learn to get their nourishment from pouches ever learn to enjoy the different textures and tastes and smells of real food? How will the learn that eating as a family at least some of the time is a pleasure in and of itself? How will they ever develop table manners? Oh, wait, they don’t. Seriously. I recently had the pleasure of having a young “lady” of about 17 or 18 sitting in my line of vision at a restaurant. She could not yet manage to get food on her fork using another utensil, so she deposited bits of food on her fork with her finger. I kid you not.

  168. Hey, those pouches are great for a picnic lunch with a five year old during a semi-rigorous 4 mile hike in the bear infested Smoky mountains! They are mess free (just toss them in the back pack with the peanut butter sandwich), nutritious (well, the applesauce kind I found was) and light weight. We had a great hike, too!

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