10 Best Baby-Led Weaning Kitchen Tools
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I’m a big believer that preparing wholesome food for your family shouldn’t cost a lot.
While cooking more at home is a great way to save money vs. eating out, there are a few home kitchen tools that will make your life a lot easier as you and baby embark upon this solid food experience together.
Here are 10 of my favorite baby feeding kitchen tools that I hope will make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable and efficient :)
1. Instant Pot
I am super late to the Instant Pot insanity, having just purchased one of these combination slow-cooker, pressure-cooker and yogurt-maker kitchen contraptions recently.
I’ve always had a 3-in-1 Fagor cooker (this one: pressure, slow and rice cooker) but I wanted to see what the IP hype was all about.
We have 7 kids, so I cook in what you might consider larger-than-normal quantities and was looking for a second multi-functional cooker anyway. I went with the largest Instant Pot, the 8-quart capacity (click here for link).
I’ve only been using it for a few weeks, but so far so good. I think a lot of the “controls” are just different names for variations of slow or pressure-cooking, but the ability to make yogurt really stands out as a unique feature in the IP.
A few IP recipes that work great for baby-led weaning that I have made so far:
2. Grape Cutter
I feel like not a week goes by that I don’t sing the praises of the grape cutter.
When I first heard about a tool that cuts grapes for you, I rolled my eyes too.
…but hear me out: whole, intact grapes are a choking hazard for babies; but, you can easily and safely serve babies grapes (and cherry tomatoes) by quartering them.
But quartering grapes is TEDIOUS.
When my quadruplets were doing baby-led weaning and we got to grapes in their 100 First Foods sequence…I was pulling my hair out trying to cut individual grapes in four. For four babies.
The grape cutter isn’t perfect - I wish you could cut more than 1 or 2 grapes at a time, but it is faster than slicing, especially if you’re doing a lot.
Here is a link to the OXO grape cutter on Amazon.
If you think a grape cutter is gimmicky - here is a really cool article from OXO behind how they built the grape cutter. I love that it was invented by a parent equally as annoyed at quartering grapes as I have been!
3. Lucky Iron Fish
The Lucky Iron Fish is an iron ingot used during cooking. It acts as an in-home fortification system for iron transfer.
There’s some research to indicate cooking with cast iron can increase iron release from food. One study from India showed 16% increase in iron content of foods cooked in cast iron vs. teflon.
While the Lucky Iron Fish doesn’t have exact data as to how much iron release occurs when cooking with this tool, it has been used successfully in Cambodia where anemia affects 44% of women.
It should be noted that some of the product material says not to use with babies. I tried to speak to the manufacturer about why this is and they were unable to provide any explanation as to why it might be dangerous, just that they include that language out of an “abundance of caution”.
I have used it to make iron water I then use in some soups and stews and sauces. And I’ve also made this Creamy Carrot Soup from the Lucky Iron Fish website that is pretty good too.
It helps to keep in mind that other factors increase or decrease iron absorption; including vitamin C containing foods (like carrots) can help increase iron absorption from other sources.
4. Little Partners Learning Tower
A few years back Little Partners sent me one of their “Learning Towers” to try out, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
This is an adjustable kitchen counter step-up so you can safely get your kids to the counter to cook with you. Now I guess technically this isn’t a baby feeding tool - but if you have bigger kids, include them in prepping food for the whole family when you can.
This helps increase their interest in the foods the family is eating and a food they prepared is a food the potentially picky eater is going to be more interested in eating!
There’s probably a manufacturer limit of how many kids max you should put in the learning tower - and I’m sure I’m violating it most days at my house, but you can pretty easily fit 2-3 toddlers in there to help you out (…gets a little too close for comfort after that I think :)
5. Crinkle Cutter
True confessional: I have had a crinkle cutter languishing in my kitchen tools drawer for years. It never got any use - until I started working with Dawn Winkelmann, MS, CCC-SLP (@msdawnslp) on a number of baby-led weaning projects.
Dawn LOVES the crinkle cutter. And she got me hooked too, here’s why.
The crinkle cutter is a really cheap tool that can mix up the texture of some of the foods your baby is eating. Dawn uses it for foods like tofu, zucchini and cooked veggies like carrots and sweet potato.
Not only does it provide a new sensory experience for baby with the variety of jagged edges, but the crinkle cutter provides grip to help your early eater get at some of those trickier and more slippery stick and spear foods you’re offering early on in baby-led weaning.
In the recent course we developed “The 100 First Foods Field Guide” Dawn spends a lot of time professing her love for the crinkle cutter, and I spent a lot of time crinkle cutting foods with her for our 100 foods videos inside of the course!
(If you missed out on the 100 First Foods course the last time around - click here to get on the list to be notified next time it is live!)
6. Stasher Bags
You know how you didn’t know you needed something until someone gives it to you and then you’re like, “Where have you been all my life?!”
That’s Stasher Bags for me.
A friend recently sent me a bunch of the Stasher reusable storage bags for our kids and they are amazing!
These are extra thick, silicon reusable storage bags that obviate the need for clunky tupperware or food storage containers or pesky plastic bags.
They can go in the dishwasher, oven, freezer, sous vide machine (!) and they even hold liquids no problem. I’m going to invest in some of the standup ones soon (check those out here) but right now the sandwich bags are definitely a great addition for prepping baby food ahead of time in an alternative to plastic.
You’re likely aware but the AAP says that some common food additives may pose risks to children - this includes plastics. So… cutting out plastic for feeding where you can is a good idea.
7. Air Fryer
I got roped into buying an air fryer when I originally went out to get my sister one and then they were on such major sale one Christmas I had to buy myself one.
But I’m glad I did.
Now I am not advocating low fat cooking for your baby - in fact, fat is good. Fat is an important source of calories and helps babies’ brains develop.
So while lots of adults “fry” in an air fryer for lower-calorie fried food outcomes - I like it for a totally different reason.
The TEXTURE of foods you make in the air fryer is different that what you can achieve from your typical kitchen appliances.
I’m not a fan of counter-top appliances, so the air fryer does live in my cabinets most of the time. But when I bring it out I like to experiment with all sorts of different tastes and textures in this glorified version of a convection oven :)
I have the XL air fryer - here’s a link to the particular one - but the smaller ones work well if you’re ok with smaller batch cooking.
And if you’re not sure what to do in an air fryer, here is an easy recipe for Tofu-Crusted Tofu Nuggest that work for baby-led weaning. Because this recipe contains two different allergenic foods (soy) and pistachios (tree nut), be sure you’re not introducing BOTH of those for the first time at once.
8. Apple Corer
Another great kitchen tool for baby-led weaning is the apple corer.
Raw apple slices are a big choking risk for babies and older kids, but babies can have apples if they are prepared safely.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to peel, core and slice appease before cooking in water to soften. The apple corer saves a ton of time if you’re batch cooking your softened apples for babies by eliminating the tedious tasks of coring each individual apple slice.
If you’re looking for a quick read to get up to speed with baby-led weaning check out my e-book “THE QUICK START GUIDE TO BABY-LED WEANING”. This 16-page e-book is jam packed with everything you need to get on board with BLW.
The quick-start guide also contains my recipe for Baby-Friendly Cinnamon Cooked Apples. Click here to grab your guide.
9. Cuisinart Food Processor
I’ve had a lot of crappy kitchen tools in the past. But none of them are Cuisinart.
I think everything they make is top notch and I have 3 different sizes of Cuisinart food processors in my kitchen that I use almost daily (hand-held immersion blender, small 4 cup chopper, and the 14 cup big daddy food processor).
Last year after I started having to cook for babies numbers 6 and 7, I justified upgrading to the 14 cup food processor from Cuisinart and am glad I did.
This is a kitchen tool I use multiple times a day. In fact, it’s one of the very few appliances allowed to live on my counter (…mostly because my husband pointed out how many times in a day I took it in and out of the cabinets when cooking).
I like the shredder and slicer attachments and they’re great for making shaved brussels sprouts fritters which I use in baby-led weaning.
But you can also puree meats with formula or breastmilk in it, or quickly mash up or mix up the textures of lots of other easy BLW foods with it too.
If you’re interested in more baby-led weaning recipes, come check out my membership group The Baby-Led Wean Team. It’s a super supportive online group packed with BLW trainings, info about offering allergenic foods and LOTS of BLW recipes. Each week I host a live BLW training and a live BLW Q&A session for members to ask your burning baby-led weaning questions! Click here to check out the membership group
10. Cherry Pitter
Full disclosure: I don’t own a cherry pitter yet. Just bought one because I am SO TIRED of pitting cherries for my babies and toddlers.
Will keep you posted on how it goes but here is the one I purchased. I basically love all kitchen tools from OXO - with one exception: their straw cups. (The plastic breaks when you drop them on the floor. And all babies do some days is drop straw cups on the floor :)
But back to the cherry pitter - removing the pits from cherries and then quartering also renders them safe for baby-led weaning.
Looking for more information on getting a SAFE start to solid foods? Check out my FREE online workshop “BABY-LED WEANING FOR BEGINNERS: How to get your baby to try 100 foods before turning 1 without you having to spoon-feed purees or buy pouches!”
Everyone on this free workshop gets a copy of my list “100 First Baby Foods” and I’m sticking around after for a BLW Q&A session, so bring all of your baby feeding questions to the workshop!
Click here to sign up for this free online workshop.
Tools I DON’T Recommend for BLW
…and speaking of things I don’t buy when getting ready to feed a baby - here are a few you can steer clear of:
Mesh teether are tremendously popular because they APPEAR to allay fears associated with choking.
But mesh teether take away baby’s ability to truly explore and experience perfectly safe foods that don’t require a “barrier” from.
They are dangerous for babies who already have teeth as they can pull baby teeth out as baby sucks food through the mesh strainer.
Furthermore, mesh strainers give the illusion that babies can’t eat whole intact foods like soft fruits and vegetables, meats and starches - which they can - and which is precisely what baby-led weaning helps babies do.
Spoons That Squirt
Someone once gave me a spoon that had a hollow handle you load up with pureed baby food and then “squirt” into baby’s mouth.
A product like this completely disregards the fact that babies can - and should - start to feed themselves from an early age.
Babies can start using a spoon around 6 months of age. At first you have to pre-load the spoon and offer it to baby, allowing and helping baby to self-feed.
But this is way different from “squirting” food into your baby’s mouth, which is totally unnecessary!
Baby Food Makers
I’ve also received my fair share of “baby food makers” sent to me from various baby feeding companies over the years. Most of them are nothing more than a steamer that then purees food.
I have two items in my kitchen that already do this: a pot and my hands (or a food processor). Some of the more expensive baby food makers claim to serve food at the “perfect consistency” or “appropriate temperature” - thereby justifying their insane price tags.
Personally, parents and caregivers can manipulate consistency and regulate temperature as they fulfill their “Division of Responsibility” roles in feeding baby!
Don’t even get me started on produce washes…
You know these products - the ones that claim “water” isn’t good enough to wash “potentially harmful pathogens” off of food you are about to feed your baby.
Produce washes are another in a long line of unnecessary gizmos and gadgets that you feign food safety, but are also unnecessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintain that washing your fruits and vegetables under water is the recommended routine for removing potential pathogens.
Use a little elbow grease and friction, but save your money on the fancy produce washes!