The day I pretended that I'd made the packet baby food. Yes, I'm an idiot.

Talk about an a-ha moment. This was the one when I realised I’d lost the parenting plot.

Sometimes, when I look back at my first year of motherhood, I think I was more than a little insane.

Now more than four years into parent world, with a second toddler nipping at my ankles, when I think about some of the things I used to worry about when my first child – my daughter – was small, I wonder what I was smoking. Nothing, obviously, given that I’m a responsible parent.

Take this ridiculous moment. My daughter was eating solids (that’s the parenting word for ‘food’) at six months. And, like many of the nice, well-intentioned mums in my circle, I’d spent a small fortune on teeny-tiny plastic containers for freezing mush into baby-sized portions, clearly ignoring all the ice trays in my freezer that would have been perfect for that purpose. I think we’d also bought a new stick blender, and I spent whatever time I snatched – between being back at work and parenting and remembering my partner’s name – making up huge vats of kid-friendly mush that included lots of brain-boosting protein and bone-boosting dairy, and green vegetables that my girl would never eat again. I’d make up all this mush, then freeze it all, then feed my gorgeous baby multi-coloured gunk of my choosing as many times a day as she’d let me.

That's all great. Home-made baby food is cheap, healthy, and easy to make. Why wouldn't you?

Well, maybe because you didn't have time that week, or you hadn't got to the shops, and you'd realised that baby girl would just as happily slurp down one of those 'organic' slurpy food things out of a squeezy pouch, and then you wouldn't have any dishes to do, or any mush-smeared plastic containers going mouldy in the bottom of the nappy bag. You know, maybe.

So I was the woman who one day caught herself squeezing several pouches of shop-bought baby food into those tiny plastic containers to take along to a play date. I had decided that the mum whose house I was going to was judgey and out of my league when it came to A-grade parenting, and I knew there was no way she would be feeding her kid packet food. So I passed off the squeezy-pouch as straight from the blender.


See what I mean? Crazy.

You can guess what happened. This mum who so intimidated me was not judgey. She was lovely, doing her best, and hilarious about her own parenting shortfalls. We became mates. In my general experience, us mums are much more worried about being judged than we are actually judged.

But it is true, she didn't feed her kids packet food.

It turns out that us mums, with all our insecurities and good intentions, have put a big dent in pre-packaged baby food sales.

In the US, home-made is in second place on all baby food sales, which, in a country that loves its packaged food, is very encouraging.

A recent article in the New York Times on the matter quoted the head of Beech Nut Nutrition, one of the US's leading baby food brands, as saying the problem was with the food on offer. “Today, mums are 50 times more busy and don’t have the cooking skills that women did when we introduced baby food 80 years ago,” said Jeff Boutelle. “But the category is so bad that they’re going to the grocers and spending an afternoon boiling and cooking and filling jars and sealing them because they don’t like what’s on the shelf.”

Which as you've doubtlessly noticed, now means that a lot of the stuff that comes in a jar and pouch is trying desperately to look like it was made in your blender (maybe they're on to my trick). And they're all kale-this, and chia-that, and lumpy and off-green. You know, just like the real thing.

Which means, in the US at least, although less baby food is being bought, the amount of money spent on it has actually increased, because when parents are buying it, they're choosing to buy the more expensive brands.

Maybe it's easier to pass that stuff off as your own. Or is that just me?

Did you, or do you, always make your own baby food, or are you happy with a jar?