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Vital Baby’s BabyFood Pro is a kitchen aid aimed at parents of babies and young toddlers. It warms bottles, steams food and purees and chops according to your child’s weaning level. Its one-litre capacity means you can create big batches of food (the current model also comes with six handy freezer pods for storage) and the steamer should retain more nutrients in fruit and veg than other heating methods.
The Vital Baby’s BabyFood Pro’s £99.99 price tag is about average for a baby food steamer and blender. It’s fairly easy to use once you get going – but that could take some time with a sleep-addled head and a grumpy baby.
Francesca is mum to an 8-month-old baby girl who’s right in the middle of weaning – moving from purees to textured and finger food.
What is the BabyFood Pro’s main function, and how effective is it?
I’d say it’s probably most useful for steaming and blending in one go. It’s great that you can turn the steamer on for 20 minutes and walk away and it’ll count down and then beep once it’s finished. It also made me feel more confident that, by following the BabyFood Pro’s instructions, I was using the correct amount of water for different foods so wasn’t losing nutrients – which might happen if I was steaming using a conventional stove-top method.
What stage of weaning is the BabyFood Pro best for?
Definitely the purees to textured stage, for babies aged around 7 months and older. It can be fiddly creating interesting tastes and textures and the BabyFood Pro does it in one handy bundle.
Is the BabyFood Pro easy to use?
There are four buttons on the front of the BabyFood Pro – steam mode, blend mode, warming mode and a start button. There’s also an LCD display that will show the selected function and times, which is weirdly satisfying to watch. It will automatically turn off at the end of a function.
To use, you fill the water tank up with 220ml of tap water and then place your chopped food in the steamer basket inside the jug – aligning up the edges and closing the main lid. (I was a bit confused by this because I wasn’t sure if the blade was meant to be in the bottom of the jug or not – and without it all the water spilled from the bottom when I removed the jug.) You then press the steamer/cloud button and a default time of 20 minutes appears (this is good for meat, squash, carrot).
It recommends 25 minutes for potato, 15 minutes for fish and apples and 10 minutes for broccoli, peaches and bananas. The BabyFood Pro then counts down and you can leave it on its merry way while you go and do something else.
How much do you have to chop food before using it?
You have to cut your food into 1-2cm chunks before you use the BabyFood Pro (I was a little disappointed it didn’t do this for me, too).
How well does the BabyFood Pro puree food?
It’s very good at pureeing – you can hold the button down yourself to get your desired texture or press it down continuously to let it puree to its heart’s content.
Is the BabyFood Pro noisy?
It is pretty noisy but fairly standard for a blender.
What capacity does it have and what did you think of this?
The BabyFood Pro has a one-litre capacity which seems quite small but is, in fact, larger than the mini Magimix (850ml) I used for my first child. I think that’s pretty great for prepping food in bulk.
Can the BabyFood Pro defrost food, too?
No, the BabyFood Pro can’t defrost.
Does it have an automatic turn-off feature?
The BabyFood Pro does turn off automatically, which I love because it meant I could go and play with the baby, have a cup of tea or just get on with other jobs without having to keep an eye on things.
Is it quicker and easier than steaming and blending on the stove?
In all honesty, because there are so many fiddly parts and procedures to the BabyFood Pro, and I’m quite an impatient person, I’d rather stick with stove steaming then mashing by hand. I can imagine someone with a large kitchen (I got irritated with repeatedly knocking the lid on my overhead cupboards) who’s pedantic about their cooking might get on well with it.
Is it of any use for parents who opt for baby-led weaning?
Yes. I actually really liked the BabyFood Pro for steaming cubes of sweet potato, butternut squash and broccoli, as they tended to be a better consistency than when I did them on a stove top. I also felt more confident that they’d kept a good payoff between being soft enough but also retaining nutrients.
The BabyFood Pro also acts as a bottle warmer – how useful is this feature?
You place your bottle in the warming basket then insert this into the water tank and press the warming button. The default time is two minutes and you can increase by 30 seconds every time you press the button. Unfortunately, the BabyFood Pro doesn’t seem to fit 260ml Tommy Tippee bottles which stick out of the top and – given the popularity of this bottle – that seems a big oversight by Vital Baby.
How big is the product?
The BabyFood Pro is a neat machine, but we have quite a small kitchen and its size would start to get on my nerves. The lid opening upwards also meant I kept hitting it on overhead cupboards, which annoyed me. But if you have more space, this obviously wouldn’t be an issue.
What’s the BabyFood Pro like to clean?
Well, that’s a bit of a problem as the cover, silicone sealing ring, blade lock ring and blades must be washed by hand while the bottle and food jar, warming basket, jug lid, jug, steaming basket, spatula and measuring jug can be put in the dishwasher but risk discolouration.
What do you think of the look of the product?
It’s okay. Buttons-wise it looks smart, but the BabyFood Pro’s white plastic looks a bit dated and there are more stylish versions on the market.
Is it easy to set up?
This was a big problem from me. I spent a lot of time peering at the BabyFood Pro’s instructions trying to figure out what they were telling me to do – some of the illustrations were useful but putting the whole thing together correctly was complicated. Do the blades need to be in when it’s steaming? I’m still not sure.
What’s in the box?
The BabyFood Pro machine, one blending jug, one steaming basket, a measuring cup, a bottle and food jar warming basket, a bottle and food jar adaptor ring and one spatula. A ‘free gift’ was also included – removable Twist ‘n’ Lock freezer pods and tray (six-pack).
Do you need to buy any accessories?
If your BabyFood Pro machine doesn’t come with the freezer pods, you will need some storage bits for the freezer.
Who would the BabyFood Pro be most useful for?
Parents who really enjoy preparing food, messing around with different ingredients and textures and who aren’t afraid of gadgets.
Is it value for money?
For the price, I think the BabyFood Pro should feel, look and be much more user-friendly.
Where can I buy the Vital BabyFood Pro?
It’s available from Amazon and Vital Baby
The Vital Baby BabyFood Pro doesn’t really do anything that a stove-top steamer and a masher can’t do. If it could sterilise bottles too then I think I’d be more enthusiastic. It’s good for keeping chaos to a minimum, but I suspect after the first few goes it might end up collecting dust as cleaning it is tricky.