One of the things I checked out when we toured Merida before we moved was the baby food aisle as Connor was soon going to start on cereal and then move on to solids. I was thrilled to see Gerber brand baby food jars on the shelves and delighted that there were local favorites like mango and papaya. They didn’t have Gerber boxed cereals but they did have Nestle, so I felt good about the selection I would have for Connor. Granted, I know I should have been ready to assimilate more but I wouldn’t have been able to read all of the local brand labels in Spanish so, being slightly overprotective on what my baby eats, I was relieved that I wasn’t going to have to fret over what I was feeding Connor, after all it was Gerber.
However, I still packed up a box of baby foods and cereals to take with us on the airplane. I wanted a few weeks supply so I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to read any labels right away as I knew I was going to be overwhelmed with all of the other things we had to buy and figure out. We first ran out of fruits and vegetables so I went to the grocery store to buy some. The vegetable section seemed quite limited but was workable. They had mixed vegetables, carrots and peas but there were no green beans, sweet potatoes, and squash, which my other two had loved. They had a couple of other combinations though so I bought what I could and grabbed some fruits and went on my merry way.
Then one day I ran out of the Gerber cereal we brought with us so I bought some of the Nestle canned cereal. I opened the first can of oatmeal and thought “hmm, this smells sweet.” Connor didn’t like it very well so I opened another kind we bought (I wasn’t going to throw the other away; I just wanted to see if there was one that he wouldn’t fight me on). “Hmm,” I thought, “this smells sweet too.” I didn’t remember baby cereal ever smelling sweet so I tried to read the labels. I was surprised to see that the second or third ingredient on both cans was in fact sugar. So, I looked at the labels of the Gerber fruits and vegetables and they had sugar added too. Now, I try to really watch how much sugar my kids eat, so I was taken a back by the fact that sugar was added to all of these things. I cross-checked the US Gerber site just to make sure that sugar wasn’t added to the products I was use to buying Stateside. I was relieved to find that sugar wasn’t listed as an ingredient on the web site of the foods I checked, but frustrated that it was on the jars of food sitting in our pantry. NUTS!!
Back at the store, I read (or best I could read) the back of all of the labels of the baby food jars. Most of them listed sugar but then I saw some Heinz brand baby foods that advertised “sin azucar” (without sugar). I bought what I could and called my mom who was soon coming to visit to place my order. She brought down several boxes of cereal, some of the fruits I couldn’t get without sugar, and some of the old standby vegetables that we had fed Griffin and Abbie. A friend FedEx-ed a few cereal boxes to us to get us through until my mom arrived. We also fast tracked Connor to eating “real” food. I would have never dreamed of doing such a thing with my first-born but I’ve found I’m a little more lax with Connor on some things . . and he’s turning out just fine!
I’m still not sure why all of the Gerber things had sugar added when they don’t in the States. Maybe it has something to do with local tastes but even then, that doesn’t really make sense to me. Anyway, with the help of a few friends and family, Connor made it through and I didn’t feel like I was feeding my baby boy straight sugar (okay, so I can be a little dramatic at times).