“ Brand: Heinz / Age: 4 months „
When I decided to start weaning my son I was advised to purchase baby porridge and baby rice as it was still fairly familiar to baby as it would require formula to mix it up. I purchased Heinz First Food pure baby rice mainly because it was a well known name and I was happy that I would be offering the best to my baby. When he was just 18 weeks old we started him off with a taste on the tip of a spoon and as the taste was so bland he ate it but not very convincingly and we moved onto other products but after a visit to the health visitor I was advised to return to the baby rice but to experiment a bit more. To make the baby rice it is suggested that you mix one level teaspoon of the baby rice with two dessert spoons of mixed formula and then gently mix together and leave to cool. The smell is definately that of rice but the consistency is more of semolina. It is easy to mix and forms a foamy product as an adult it tastes awful so it is a good job it is not for adult consumption! I decided to cook extra vegetables and puree them, as I do not add any salt or sugars to my food anyway this was perfectly fine to do and I found myself mixing the baby rice with carrots, broccoli or cauliflower to gradually introduce other flavours to my son. It works out a much more economical way of weaning your baby especially in the earlier days as the packet of baby rice just seems to go on and on and padding it out with pureed vegetables means you can create meals that will last for a good while. I have not yet added meat myself to the rice but will do shortly as I do want to make as many of my own purees and foods for my son as opposed to spending a small fortune on the baby food jars which don't smell as appealing! As a first food I cannot recommend this enough, it is smooth and easy for baby to learn how to swallow and the flavour is familiar to your child helping them with the adjustment to solid food.
It's a sign that All Is Not Well in any mother's life when she finds herself standing in the kitchen shouting 'STOP GOING LUMPY!' at a bowl of powdered rice. A small irritation in the grand scheme of things perhaps, but when you have a baby yelling for his tea in the background, lumpy rice is the last thing you need. I'd chosen this rice because it is fortified with vitamins and minerals (it also has no artificial colours or preservatives, but this is pretty standard for baby rice so it isn't really a reason to choose this one over any other). It seemed simple enough to make - put some powder in a bowl, add milk, mix and presto! A smooth, tasteless puree that your baby will enjoy. Well okay, probably not enjoy, but eat anyway. I tried more than once to make up the rice following the instructions on the packet, and each time it came out looking like watered-down cottage cheese (nice). I could, of course, have simply chucked it in the bin and bought a different brand. But out of a combination of scientific curiosity, procrastination (I was supposed to be doing the washing up) and having paid nearly two quid for the stuff and being damned if I was going to throw any of it away, I decided to see if there was a better method. The problem, I saw, was that the powder is too fine so that when you mix it with liquid it forms clumps which no amount of stirring or mashing with the back of a spoon will dissolve. This is not ideal as, apart from it looking a bit icky, babies who are not used to lumps in food can gag on them, and this is not a nice thing to do to a six-month-old. First I wondered if using a thicker liquid would help, so I added it to some pear purée. No luck. It just looked like lumpy pear purée. Then I tried adding lots of milk in the hope that once a little of it had dissolved, it would stop the rest going lumpy when it was added. I've never seen whey, but I imagine it to look something like this. With lumps. Finally, after powdering most of my kitchen, I cracked it. The trick is to put the milk or boiled water in the bowl first. Then sprinkle the rice over the top to form a thick layer, as if powdering a cake with icing sugar but - and this is the crucial step - don't mix it until the rice has dissolved. We've moved past the plain rice stage now, so I can't say whether other brands are better than this one, but I wouldn't rule this one out as it has lots of good stuff in it. It comes in a 100g packet, is suitable from four months and is available at most supermarkets and some local shops and chemists, costing around £1.80.
Heinz baby rice is a mixture of Pure Baby Rice with vitamins and minerals. The rice is in a powdered format in a non-resealable foil bag inside cardboard packaging. I used this product when starting to wean my son and initially mixed it with expressed breast milk or fomula. The instructions gave a rough guideline as to the proportions to use initially, although this made the rice barely thicker than his usual milk and very difficult to spoon. As we progressed with his weaning, I made the rice thicker. I found it difficult to mix as the fine powder is prone to clumping and formed lumps, which I had to fish out before giving it to my son. You also have to use it very soon after making it as it dissolves quickly and leaves you with a bowl of slightly thick milk. That said, it is a good first food as it is very bland and does go to a smooth texture if you stir it long enough and fish out any lumps. I wouldn't recommend it above other brands which are more 'flakes' of rice so mix in better and don't dissolve so quickly.
I first started giving Heinz baby rice to my son when he was seventeen weeks old (the earliest recommended age to start weaning) and it was the first food that he had ever tried. You mix the baby rice with your baby's normal milk, whether it be breast milk or formula milk. I first gave him only a few teaspoons full and he seemed to like it, it is quite bland and does not taste of much, however, this is ideal as a first weaning food. After a week of giving him a few teaspoons, I started to mix it with other food, for example, banana or apple and it was definately useful to introduce him to other foods. I have now bought a book on baby purees and some days I still use the baby rice to mix with some purees when I want to introduce him to a new food.
Pure baby rice enriched with vitamins and minerals for healthy growth.