Product Type: Cow & Gate food products
Newest Review: ... in this range. The information is clearly written in sections making it easy to read and follow. Inside the box is a plain silver pl... more
Member Name: sandemp
Cow & Gate Baby Balance Pure Baby Rice
Advantages: Bland, no salt or sugar, takes flavour of usual milk or vegetables, versatile
Although government guidelines state that a baby should not be weaned before 6 months of age, baby Freddy was ready long before that. By four months he was starting to demand bottles of milk every two hours, and as he has reflux, it wasn't a good idea to increase his milk any more. And so, after speaking to our doctor, my partner and I decided it was time to start the messy business of weaning him. Although we were very clear that we wanted to give him home-cooked food as far as possible, we knew that the one food that would come out of a packet was baby rice, and as it was on offer at the time we stocked up on Cow & Gate's version, paying about £1 for an 100g packet.
As with most baby rice this comes in a cardboard box, that is easy to open via the 'zip' at the top, within this box is a sealed foil packet that needs to be cut open with scissors. Although the box can be easily closed with a flap, the foil packet is not re-sealable, and if a packet is left open for more than a couple of weeks (or in a damp climate) the powdered rice will clump and become harder to mix.
Cow & Gate baby rice comes as a very fine powder that can mixed with breast milk, formula or water to make a smooth, bland paste that's easy for baby to eat and digest. Although this can be made up very runny indeed, right from day one Freddy liked a little more bite to his food, so I've always used less milk than recommended to make it up. But that's the great thing with this baby rice, if your baby will only take it very runny then you can make it like that, but if they prefer their food thick then that's alright too. Unlike jars, this can be made up to the perfect consistency for the individual baby. I rarely have problems mixing this to a smooth consistency, but it's amazing how much milk a tiny bit of powder can absorb. Personally, I would recommend that you add the liquid fairly slowly, allowing one bit of liquid to be absorbed before adding the next and stir constantly.
Taste-wise, this is extremely bland, there is no added salt or sugar and so the rice itself doesn't actually taste of anything much. For this reason I wouldn't personally recommend making it up with water, but rather use your baby's usual milk. This means the taste is very familiar to the baby as it will taste almost exactly like their milk, only a little thicker. From the very first taste, Freddy loved his rice and as we slowly increased the amount he was eating he began to settle once more. A couple of days after starting him on the rice, we began to add various vegetables and now a month later Freddy has baby rice once sometimes twice a day as we use it as a carbohydrate base (Freddy isn't keen on potato).
In the morning's we mix 6 (weaning) spoonfuls of rice with about 2.5oz of milk and add apple or pear puree, in the evening he has the same amount of rice with lots of yummy vegetables and eats it all up will making a 'num num' noise, making it clear that he's loving his food. Even using this amount of rice a day, a packet lasts us just over a week, and even factoring the costs of buying vegetables, it's still far cheaper than buying jars (Freddy can eat two of these at a sitting).
And so, am I recommending Cow & Gate Baby Rice? The answer is a resounding yes, it is a perfect and versatile first food for baby, far, far healthier than rusks (that contain up to 1/3 sugar). Each packet contains 100g of pure baby rice, with no salt or sugar added, in fact the only added ingredient is Thiamine (vitamin B1). When starting to wean it can be made up runny and then as baby gets older it can be made thicker and added to vegetables or fruit to make really yummy meals. Freddy absolutely loves his baby rice and vegetable dinners, so much so that when presented with jarred baby food, he'll turn his nose up as if to say "it's not as nice as Mummy's". Not only that but is works out far cheaper, and healthier to make this up and mix with fruit for breakfast rather than using specific breakfast cereals. So if you're baby is ready for weaning, then give this a try, in Freddy's words, it's "Num, Num".
Summary: Ideal food for first tastes and beyond