A purpose-designed baby-food maker or blender saves you time and trouble when you’re making homemade baby food - perfect for when you are weaning your baby.
When you wean your baby at around the age of six months, you might want to make at least some of his food. Cooking your own baby food means you know exactly what he’s eating, can adjust your recipes to suit his tastes, and often works out cheaper. Even if you’re baby-led weaning, then you’ll still be making purées, as they’re great for your little one to have as a dip with finger-food.
A purpose-made gadget can make the whole process easier. There are all sorts on the market, ranging from a simple tool to blend food into a purée, to a gizmo that cooks the meal as well.
These ‘one-stop-shop’ gadgets mean there’s less washing up as, for example, instead of using a pan to steam the carrots in before transferring them to a food processor for puréeing, everything stays in the machine’s bowl or jug from start to finish. You might even be able to programme the whole process so you simply press one button and everything happens automatically, allowing you to get on with other things.
The BABYMOOV blender has a big capacity (cooking 500ml, blending 600ml), plus loads of functions - it warms baby bottles and jars, sterilises, steams, defrosts and blends. You can separate foods with the two baskets, and the LCD screen means it's easy to control.
Our mum tester Caroline Kirk, mum to Sonny, six months, and Rowan, five years, said: "Wow! I had no idea such a great all-in-one product like this existed. It’s not cheap, but comes with a lifetime warranty, looks sleek and modern, and takes up minimal space on my kitchen work surface. I particularly like that it collects the liquid from the food so you don’t lose any nutrients."
Our mum tester Leanne Brown said: "This couldn’t be easier to use. The blades are very powerful and produced a lovely purée that’s perfect for any babies who are in the first stages of weaning. The LCD screen is useful, displaying the time remaining, which is nice as I’m impatient and like to see the timer counting down. You feel safer leaving the steamer to do its job, rather than watching over a boiling pan."
This steams, blends, defrosts and reheats. The jug is large enough to prepare lots of food to keep your freezer stocked, but you can also use it for single meals. The integrated spatula means there’s no risk of burning fingers when removing hot food.
Our mum tester Caroline Kirk said: "I like the colour accent, I found this better for preparing individual portions rather than batch-cooking, although it can defrost and reheat baby food."
Great for blending small portions while you're weaning your baby, this Tommee Tippee blender has two speeds so you can create purees, mash, and chunkier foods. It's not very big, so not great for batch-cooking.
Our mum tester Caroline Kirk said: "Easy to clean and assemble, although the lid is a little tricky to put on. I blended steamed parsnips on the fastest of the two speed settings and it produced a smooth purée. It’s good if you’re preparing family meals and just want to blend a small portion for your baby."
How many functions will you actually use?
More functions typically mean a higher price tag. So, consider carefully what you will use – do you like the idea of lots of different modes or prefer something relatively uncomplicated?
What alternatives do you already own?
Thinking about what’s already in your kitchen cupboards will help you work out which functions will be worth paying for. For instance, some baby-food makers also double as a bottle warmer, but if you’ve already got one, then you can ignore this function when deciding which gadget to go for.
How often will you use a baby-food maker?
If you’re planning on cooking all your baby’s food from scratch, then this gadget will probably sit permanently on your worktop. But if you’re simply intending to whizz up some of whatever you’re already cooking for tea at the weekend, then a smaller, more portable machine that you can easily take in and out of a cupboard might be better.
How much kitchen space do you have?
If this will be a permanent addition to your kitchen for the next year, check that the machine’s footprint won’t take up too much of your worktop space, and that its height allows it to slide under your wall cupboards. Or if it’s going to be stored between uses, will it easily fit in your cupboards?
Are baby-food makers easy to clean?
There’s no point saving time cooking if it means you’ll spend more time washing up. Check that the different components can go in the dishwasher, if you have one, and that they aren’t fiddly to take apart and assemble again after each use.
Check what’s included
Some baby-food makers come with additional weaning accessories, such as cube trays for the freezer, or food-storage pots. Think about whether you’ll use them and whether it would make more sense to buy them separately.
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