A Guide to Using Baby Food Feeders and the Best Picks
Baby food feeders are a great tool for helping babies six months and older get the hang of solids—offering a safe, easy way for them to nosh on new foods.
As babies make the thrilling transition from liquids to solid food, a whole world of possibility opens up that can be a delight to explore—both for the little ones and their parents. Dietitian Amy Shapiro, the founder and director of Real Nutrition, is a fan of baby food feeders for babies six months and older because they allow parents to introduce different flavors and food types that may not be appropriate for the baby to consume safely in whole pieces.
"Parents can also use it for teething and for busying a fussy baby," she says. "Put solid or frozen food in the feeder and let the child feed it to themselves or give it to them."
While baby feeders are convenient—and can keep baby occupied for extended periods of time—Shapiro warns against overusing the feeder. "I do prefer limiting the frequency of these feeders to prevent dependency and so children can learn to eat food with a spoon to understand their 'full' feelings and to pace themselves," she says. "Chewing food and letting it move around the mouth is important as well, so when you don't need to rely on a feeder, I suggest parents use a spoon more frequently and when available."
Dietitian Jennifer House, of First Step Nutrition, has a few more tips for safely using baby food feeders:
- Don't save leftovers. "The food will contain bacteria from your baby's mouth, which will multiply and could cause foodborne illness," says House.
- Restrict the use of feeders for mealtime, rather than using to distract a baby when they are upset or to prevent boredom. "We're working on creating a healthy relationship with food from the start."
- Know when to retire baby food feeders. "I wouldn't recommend them past a year of age at all when a child should be eating mostly family foods."
With those tips in mind, here are five of our favorite baby food feeders that you can find on Amazon.
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5 Best Baby Food Feeders
Bargain priced at less than $5 a pop, this Boon silicone feeder is made from the preferred material of experts like Shapiro: silicone. "You can clean it easily," she notes. "It also helps with teething [and] can be used with fresh or frozen foods." The small handle lets baby get a good grip, and there's a hole on the bottom where you can attach a tether. Shop Here
These versatile feeders can work with frozen fruits or vegetables as well as ice chips, breast milk, and even medicine. They're made from the highest food-grade silicone (free of BPA, latex, petroleum, lead, and phthalates), and they can be easily washed with soap and warm water or in the top rack of the dishwasher. Shop Here
For teething babies with aching gums, these BPA-free feeders are ideal for pairing with frozen fruits. Only the tiniest morsels of food will make it through the mesh bag, preventing any choking hazard from the solid food while offering sweet, icy comfort. Simply place the food in the mesh bag and snap shut to secure. Shop Here
From the makers of one of our favorite baby bottles comes this pacifier-shaped silicone feeder. The soft, yet durable, design and small size encourages safe self-feeding of fresh and frozen foods. You'll get one mint and one grey feeder per order, with included lids to help you keep the feeder clean on the go. Shop Here
With three sizes of silicone nipples to suit babies of different ages, this baby food feeder set will grow with your little one. You'll also receive two bright green and blue handles, along with a bonus BPA-free bottle with an attachment for easy one-handed feeding of milk or baby foods. Shop Here