Product Type: Cow & Gate food products
Newest Review: ... as introduction to weetabix. This Cow and Gate Sunny Start wheaty biscuits costs around £2 in most supermarkets and contains 12 biscui... more
A Sunny Start to Baby's Day!
Cow & Gate Sunny Start Wheaty Biscuits
Member Name: jo1976
Cow & Gate Sunny Start Wheaty Biscuits
Date: 31/05/11, updated on 17/05/12 (118 review reads)
Advantages: Salt and sugar free, specifically designed for infants
Disadvantages: More expensive than standard Weetabix
Once weaning is well-established, I think it is important to have a structure to a baby's meals with regular meal times and routines. When it comes to breakfast, for example, I always offer a cereal-based product to help establish good eating habits and routines as baby gets older. I find the powdered organic cereals specifically designed for babies are ideal for the early stages as the quantities are very easy to adjust, but I prefer to move on to standard cereal products as my children grow older.
Regular Weetabix is a great breakfast option for slightly older children as it has a soft, mushy texture once milk is added and is also very nutritious. I am reluctant to give this to under-ones, though, as it does contain added salt. I was very pleased to discover that Cow & Gate have recently introduced 'Sunny Start' which are described on the packaging as 'breakfast wheaty biscuits.' Essentially, these are Weetabix specifically formulated for babies with no added salt or sugar. Available in packs of twelve, these do resemble the usual branded Weetabix but are actually a little thinner in depth, looking more like a 'value' range in size. These are suitable for children from the age of six months but no younger, as wheat products in general are not recommended for younger babies due to the gluten content.
I first offered these to my youngest son when he was just over six months old and had moved on to three regular main meals each day. At that point, his appetite per 'meal' was still fairly small and I intended to offer him just half of one of these biscuits initially. That proved to be quite difficult, though, as the biscuits refused to be broken in half evenly and, as they are slightly smaller anyway, I ended up with about three quarters of the biscuit intact with the remainder crumbling away in my hands.I would have found this issue less annoying if the box hadn't actually provided a few serving suggestions, all of which use half a wheat biscuit as the suggested quantity. I'm obviously not going to be the only parent who wants to offer half a biscuit at a time, so it would make the process much easier if the biscuits could be indented or marked across the midway point in some way, making it more likely that they would break evenly.
To be fair, this was actually only a issue for a little while as my little one's appetite grew very quickly and within just a few days he was happy to eat most (if not all) of an entire wheat biscuit for breakfast. As with regular Weetabix, the biscuits are initially hard and flaky but quickly soften with the addition of milk. I always used slightly warmed milk for my little one as he's not overly keen on anything served below body temperature. (He even spits out the first few spoonfuls of yoghurt in disgust!) The finished consistency is ideal for a slightly older baby who is confident with lumpier, slightly textured food. It is, of course, possible to vary the amount of added milk to make the mixture runnier, if preferred, but it is never going to be a totally smooth mixture due to the nature of the wheat. The taste of the finished product is almost entirely the same as regular Weetabix, with the absence of any salt or sugar giving it a much blander, but not at all unpleasant, taste. My nine month old son now happily wolfs his breakfast down every morning so he clearly enjoys the taste and texture. He can be quite a strong-minded character when it comes to eating but he is never reluctant to eat his Sunnystart in the mornings!
One of the reasons why I particularly like giving these to my baby, rather than the organic baby cereals I'd used previously, is because these are fortified with vitamins and minerals. (The biscuits are simply wholegrain wheat with added calcium, niacin, iron, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, folic acid and Vitamin D.) Unlike regular cereals, the vitamin levels are geared towards the nutritional needs of babies, rather than being formulated with older children or even adults in mind, as most regular cereals are. The amounts of added vitamins and minerals is relatively low as these are measured using the 'Labelling Reference Value' for infants with each biscuit providing roughly around 20% of a young baby's needs each day. (The exact quantities vary for each mineral and vitamin.) I appreciate that some parents might not want their baby's cereal to be fortified at all but I find it quite reassuring, particularly as I don't use formula milk at all as I'm still breastfeeding. I mix my son's breakfast cereal with full fat cow's milk (which is perfectly safe to use in this way) and feel happier knowing that the cereal itself contains some added vitamins and minerals.
My main reason for using these rather than standard Weetabix is the absence of any added salt. I obviously avoid any salted food for my baby but everyday foodstuffs such as bread, butter and cheese all contain some added salt. By offering a salt-free nutritious breakfast tailored to his needs, I feel more relaxed about the small quantities of salt that my son might consume as the day goes on, knowing that he is well within safe limits.
The biscuits themselves are not overly expensive either, considering the premium you pay for anything marketed as baby food. I tend to pay £1.99 for a box of 12 from either Boots or Sainsbury's. I have found them on offer for £1.49 at those places too, making them even better value. Surprisingly, these are slightly more expensive at Morrisons where I refuse to pay the £2.49 they were charging, especially as I know they can be bought cheaper elsewhere. At the £1.99 mark, these work out at under 17p per serving, which is not bad at all.
I would recommend this cereal to other parents and their little ones as I feel it is a more nutritious option for children under the age of one, as their digestive systems are still developing. Most importantly, my little one enjoys the taste and texture and is happy to endorse his Sunnystart to the day!
Summary: Weetabix for babies
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