You may have seen baby feeders, whether mesh or silicone, and wondered what they are for. They are a great tool for feeding babies and toddlers—and are especially awesome for teething relief. There are many on the market though, so today I’m sharing the best of the best.
A baby feeder is made up of an easy-hold handle and a little pouch with lots of holes. The idea is that the holes allow some of the flavor and texture of the food to come out, without the concerns that may come with larger pieces of food.
This means you can worry less when it comes to choking risks.
One thing to keep in mind: They don’t allow babies to have the full texture experience of the food—since the texture is mostly the mesh of the feeder. That means you don’t want to use one of these for every meal (or even most meals).
Lots of exposures to lots of textures helps babies and toddlers gain confidence in handling all sorts of foods, which can make feeding kids a lot easier over the long run.
But an infant feeder can be a handy tool to have in the mix, especially if on the go, starting to transition to baby food, or trying out a new food that has you a little nervous.
And they are a great way to offer cold teething relief to soothe baby’s gums.
Baby Fruit Feeder
Many people like to use baby feeders to offer fruit, either fresh or frozen, since the product is a safe way for baby to suck on and explore the flavor of a wide range of fruit.
TIP: Another name for this is Baby Fruit Pacifier.
Best Baby Food Feeders
Below are my top picks for infant feeders chosen for ease of use, durability, and ease of care (as in washing!). There are different materials listed, as well as specific information on each product.
Best Mesh Feeder
Munchkin Baby Feeder, sold in a set of two. (Or choose the ones that come with travel caps.)
This baby feeder has a streamlined, simple design of a mesh bag for the food and a ring for baby to hold onto. Small, digestible pieces of food come through so baby is getting some nourishment (and comfort if using for teething) without the risk of choking. It’s about $7 for two of them.
Best Silicone Feeder
This baby feeder, which is priced at under $6, is made from durable silicone and can be used with fresh or frozen foods. The interior stem forces food toward the tiny holes in the feeder and the small handle is sized just right for baby’s little hands.
Baby Feeder Pacifier Combo
This popular Kidsme feeder has a replaceable silicone pouch that comes in two sizes, so you can adjust and replace as your child grows. It has a unique handle style that some babies may prefer and can be used as a pacifier too. It’s usually priced around $15 and is recommended for ages 4-24 months.
What baby foods should I put into a baby feeder?
Here are some fruits that are good to serve in a baby feeder:
- Raspberries, fresh or frozen
- Strawberries, fresh or frozen
- Blackberries, fresh or frozen
- Mango, fresh or frozen
- Roasted sweet potato
- Roasted butternut squash
- Ripe fresh pear
- Fresh cucumber, skin removed
- Cooked red meat such as steak
- Frozen grapes (These are NOT safe served to a child this age in any other way as they are a choking risk. They are fine served inside the feeder, though.)
TIP: You can use frozen fruit or ripe fresh fruit that’s soft and easy to gum. Avoid any fruits or veggies that are very hard as baby may be frustrated by that texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Babies can use an infant feeder soon after starting solids around 6 months, or when they can easily hold it and bring it to their mouth.
If you fill the feeder, whether mesh or silicone, with frozen fruit, you can soothe teething in infants who are eating solids or in toddlers. It’s cold and yummy, yet requires no real work for the child to suck on, so it’s comforting.
Yes, if you choose a mesh baby feeder or one made from silicone, they are BPA-free.
Try using a bottle brush or just running water to clean out the mesh. It should be fairly easy to clean if you avoid letting it sit too long with food in it!
Are baby feeders good for babies?
The one downside could be that if you rely on them too much, the child learns the texture of the feeder, rather than of the food. This can make it harder for a child to learn to move actual food around in their mouths and harder for them to accept a range of textures in the future when you don’t want to be using the mesh feeder as much.
Because of that, I recommend using this product at limited times such as when on the go at a restaurant or to help sooth a teething infant, baby, or toddler.
This is not recommended as a way to feed your child at every meal.
If you are worried about choking, review this information on toddler choking and trust that if you serve foods that are easy to squish between your fingers, baby is sitting down at meals, and you are with them, they will learn to eat like so many other kids who have gone before them!
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I’d love to hear your thoughts on baby feeders in general or on these specific products, so please comment below to share!
This post was first published May 2019.