Making food for your little bundle of joy? You’re not alone. More parents than ever are now choosing homemade recipes for their babies in lieu of pre-packaged commercial mixes, and there are plenty of reasons why.
Commercial baby food can contain salt, sugar, and other potentially unhealthy additives. It’s also expensive, and blending your own food at home is, according to the Mint Life blog, up to 50% cheaper than settling for storebought.
But here’s the thing about making a baby food puree: although you know exactly what you’re feeding your infant, you can’t afford to make any mistakes with it. Even a small piece of food can present a choking hazard for your child, while feeding them out of a container containing BPA or similar chemicals could potentially cause them permanent harm. More so than when you’re buying a blender for personal use, you need to be extremely selective when choosing one for your child.
For infants, fruits and vegetables are the recommended components of baby food. It stands to reason, then, that you’ll need a blender capable of grinding them down into a fine paste. That’s not the only requirement, however.
Consider kid-friendly designs
The best baby blenders have accessories like colorful or cartoonish containers and sippy cups, allowing you to prepare and serve your child’s food without having to go too far out of your way. While not a must, they make keeping track of what you’re feeding your child a whole lot easier. They’ll make the baby happy, too.
The Magic Bullet Baby Bullet Care System (affiliate link) is perhaps the best example of what you should be looking for here. Available at a retail price of $79.51 (as of 1/20/2016), it allows you to make an entire week’s worth of nutritional, healthy baby food in less than five minutes. It ships with 6 cups, each equipped with a date dial; a spatula, a short cup, a tip proof tray, several different blender blades, a cookbook, and a nutrition manual.
The Baby Bullet isn’t perfect, of course. The bottom leaks if not screwed in extremely tight, and the motor has a tendency to fail with extensive use. That aside, it’s a great choice for the bundle of joy in your life.
Make sure you’re using non-toxic materials
All the bells and whistles in the world don’t matter if your blender contains BPA or phthalates, both of which are generally present in low-end plastic. The good news is that most modern appliances have done away with them – though you should still do your research to be certain.
Look for variable speeds and settings
You might not want to admit it, but kids eventually grow up. That means they’ll eventually move to more solid food. As such, a blender that can’t be adjusted or controlled will be ill-suited for food preparation.
The Lil’ Jumble MealPro All-In-One (affiliate link), though somewhat pricy at $130 (as of 1/20/2016), is one of the most versatile baby food processors we’ve ever seen. It does pretty much everything you could possibly need in order to prepare a meal for your child, including pureeing, steaming, blending, warming, and reheating. It even sterilizes bottle pacifiers, and in spite of all the things it does, it’s actually easy to use.
It can, however, be a bit of a pain to clean, as food tends to clog up the pipe to the water tank while being blended.
Aim for ease of use and portability
You know better than anyone that raising kids is a hassle at best. You can’t afford to fumble around with a complicated control panel or stumble through a confusing instruction manual. If a blender isn’t usable right out of the box, avoid it.
Portability is a must, as well. This is both for easy storage and because as a parent, you aren’t always going to be preparing your meals at home. Occasionally, you’re going to need to feed your child while you’re out and about.
Believe it or not, an immersion blender such as The Dash Masha 2X (affiliate link) offers just the right blend of simplicity and size. Combined with a portable bowl or cup, it’s powerful enough to whip up a batch of baby food in mere minutes. It’s also easy to store and clean, as the blending components are all dishwasher safe. It’s available for $24.98 (as of 1/20/2016).
Do note that you may have to put in a bit of extra effort if you’re trying to puree baby food, since the design of the blade has a tendency to leave small lumps if you aren’t thorough.
Find something durable
Babies eat all the time, so you need a blender that can handle frequent use. A fragile blender, no matter the power or versatility, simply won’t cut it. You need to look for something a bit tougher than your run-of-the-mill countertop or immersion rig.
Once you’ve found your ideal blender, it’s time to start experimenting. Look up new recipes and nutritional tricks. There are tons of websites and cookbooks containing baby food recipes and recommendations, including (but not limited to):