The Best Baby Gear of 2021: Top Picks in Each Category

The Best Baby Gear of 2021: Top Picks in Each Category

Do you ever feel like you just wish someone would tell you what the best product is when it comes to mom and baby must-haves? It can be exhausting to look through the review lists and try to sort out what really is the best. We’re hoping to make it a little easier on you with this one-stop guide. Below you will find our top item picks for the categories we find mamas have a hard time making a choice in. This includes everything from strollers and baby lotion.

Of course, we do have more in-depth articles where you can dig deeper and compare items to one another. We have linked those below as well if you feel ready to get your research on!

Rookie Mom’s Top Picks of 2021

New Parents

Strollers

Overall: Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System

best stroller 2021

The Chicco Bravo Trio includes the Key Fit 30 infant car seat, the base, and the Bravo stroller. The reason it tops our list is that you get great bang for your buck. Plus, this car seat is extremely popular and beloved by many parents.

While this travel system is affordable, you still get plenty of luxury features like adjustable handlebars and a parent tray with a cup holder. My favorite thing about this stroller, though, is that you can completely remove the regular seat, making it very easy to pop the car seat right into the frame. When you put the seat back in it is converted to a traditional stroller.

As for ease, you can fold the stroller with one hand, there are auto positioning wheels, and it self-stands when in its compact position. From mom to mom, this self-standing thing is a pretty big deal. It means you can get your little one out, put them safely in the car, and then come back to put your stroller away at the very end without worrying about it sitting on the dirty ground. There’s also a parent tray on top with cupholders and storage space perfect for your phone. The travel stroller system really has it all! 

Stroller Weight: 23 lbs (car seat addition is 9.6 lbs)

Age Range: 50 lbs

Jogger: Thule Urban Glide 2

jogger stroller
Photo Credit: Thule

This is my personal favorite. It is so sleek that I love taking it around anywhere. It is lightweight enough to be pushed and maneuvered with one hand. The rear wheels are 16? so the stroller glides nicely. Plus, it is super easy to fold (you can do it with one hand), then pack it up and throw in the back of your car. This model is also available in a double jogger as well.

Here are some of the other amazing features:

  • One-handed, compact fold for easy storage and transportation.
  • Integrated twist hand brake provides speed control on hilly terrain.
  • Reclining seat for when your little one needs a nap. But not only that, the seats are very easy to clean, so your stroller looks like new for a while.
  • Secure and comfortable seat with a padded five-point harness
  • Protective UPF 50+ canopy.
  • Peekaboo window with magnetic closure. I actually love this feature so much, cause the velcro versions always wear out after a short time.

Stroller weight: 23 lbs

Age Range: Up to 75 lbs, from birth to 5-years old

Double: The UPPABaby Vista V2

You seriously get the best of both worlds with this stroller; it is lightweight, has all the accessories you could ever want, and is so easy to convert into whatever you need it to be. The stroller comes with a bassinet seat, which is even equipped with proper ventilation and depth for overnight sleep making this stroller perfect for travel.

If you have multiples you will be able to attach 2 bassinet seats or 2 infant car seats. However, if you have a toddler and a newborn the stroller can be adapted to that as well.

Just you wait, there is even more. The Vista can even hold a 3rd child with the Piggyback Ride-Along Board attachment, which allows a walker to hop on for a ride. This stroller has an answer for every scenario on top of being slick and modern in looks.

Stroller weight: 28 lbs as a single stroller, but varies depending on attachments

Age Range: Newborn up to 50 lbs (dependent on attachments)


Car Seats

Infant: Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 XT Infant Car Seat

best infant car seat 2021

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock is easy to install, safe, and affordable making it pretty hard to bear! Not to mention, this is is one of the lightest rear-facing only car seats on the market. As for the basics, there’s a removable insert to get newborns the perfect fit, a 4-position recline, and comes with a removable all-weather boot for colder months.

This car seat has the Click Connect Base System which provides a secure fit. I love that the click confirms the placement because it gives my anxious mama heart extra confidence. Plus, this car seat works with all other Graco products that use the Click Connect System making it easy to use with a stroller or varying car seat bases.

Weight Limit: 4-35 lbs and 32″

Convertible: Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

best convertible car seat

Like the name says, this car seat really can last forever making, so it is definitely the best choice for parents who never want to go car seat shopping again. Not only does this seat do forward and rear-facing, but it can later turn into a booster seat. I know it’s hard to imagine your sweet little baby as big kiddo, but Graco thought it all through for you so you don’t really have to.

It also has an easy latch system making it easy to install and it comes in 3 bright fun color options.

Weight Limit: 4-120 lbs


Crib

Pottery Barn Kids Dawson Crib

This simple crib will provide your baby somewhere comfy to sleep, yet easy for mom or dad to reach in and grab them out of. It is one of the best-priced Pottery Barn cribs, but built with their same integrity and superb design skills. It converts from a crib to toddler bed easily and has three mattress height positions.

We recommend using the Newton Baby Crib mattress with whatever crib you choose for extra peace of mind! They are breathable and 100% recyclable.

PS Check out our favorite mini cribs for small spaces here!


Sleep Sacks

Nested Bean Zen Sack

The Nested Bean Zen Sack offers a unique twist on the traditional sleep sack by adding a weighted component to the chest. The weight is to add comfortable pressure, much like that of a parent’s hand which is said to help the baby sleep more soundly.

I love that this sleep sack is made of 100% cotton, which is a more breathable alternative to microfleece. Plus, the tank top upper portion has two sets of buttons making it easy to adjust the size and take on and off. The bottom portion also has a zipper along the bottom edge which opens to easily accommodate diaper changes.


Glider

Pottery Barn Kids Paxton Recliner

best nursery glider 2021

The Paxton Recliner and Rocker is both adorable and modern. Besides its absolute adorable look, you know with Pottery Barn that the chair is very well constructed. I also love the fact that it is  GREENGUARD Gold Certified which means this glider meets or exceeds stringent chemical emissions standards.

One of the other great features of this rocker is its ability to swivel a full 360 degrees which is great for those times you might want to change your view to a window or maybe your favorite show on Netflix.


Baby Carrier

Solly Baby Wrap

solly baby wrap

Solly Baby Wraps are the perfect cozy carriers, especially during those long newborn days. They can carry up to 25 lbs and are specialized for your baby’s first nine months. The stretchy material will conform to whoever is wearing it. No worries about it getting sweaty or dirty, just toss it in the wash to clean.

Bonus; they have a Dolly Wrap that you can get for your little one to carry themselves!


Baby Skin Care

Tubby Todd

Tubby Todd

We love Tubby Todd; the ointment, bubble bath, products for hair, body wash, and everyday lotion are all incredible! They are especially great for babies with sensitive skin.


Breast Pump

Spectra S2 Plus Electric Breast Pump

best breast pump 2021

At just around $159, this pump works almost as amazing as some of the hospital-grade options. It’s pretty petite making it easy to carry around with you and quiet, so you can feel comfortable pumping anywhere.

Both speed and suction are adjustable. It also has some little perks like a nightlight for those late-night pump sessions and a timer. There’s even a letdown mode perfect for signaling your milk to come in.

**BONUS** No need to clean the narrow tubing because Spectra S2 has a closed pumping system that keeps tubing dry by preventing air flow between expressed milk and pump tubing while pumping.


And, that is a wrap on our favorites of 2021! We know how hard it can be to pick out baby essentials, so just keep in mind that what works for you might not work for everyone else. You know yourself best and you know what will work for you. You got this mama!

What is your baby must-have for 2021?

4 of the Best Split Screen Baby Monitors of 2021!

4 of the Best Split Screen Baby Monitors of 2021!

These monitors allow anywhere from 1 to 4 separate cameras to be integrated into the system. This means they all report to one central control screen. It can be very difficult to use a separate camera system for each child. Carrying around 2+ screens to monitor everyone is just a pain, so having the split screen function is a must for families with multiple children.

Luckily for all of us new mamas, baby monitors have come a long way! Technology has made the walkie-talkie style monitor a thing of the past. Many families are opting for baby monitors that use a stationary camera in the baby’s room to watch from afar with a control screen. An even better technological advancement is the split screen baby monitor.

Many families with multiple young children are choosing these split screen baby monitors so that they can keep an eye on each child with the use of one connected system. Below you will find our ratings for 4 of the best split screen monitors of 2021!

These monitors allow anywhere from 1 to 4 separate cameras to be integrated into the system. This means they all report to one central control screen. It can be very difficult to use a separate camera system for each child. Carrying around 2+ screens to monitor everyone is just a pain, so having the split screen function is a must for families with multiple children.

What is a split screen baby monitor?

Best split screen baby monitor

A split screen baby monitor is a device that uses two or more cameras. It will monitor your baby while they’re in their room or any room away from you. These cameras connect to the main screen which allows you to see both camera-feeds at the same time. Hence the name “split-screen.”

Some split screen baby monitor setups allow you to use more than two cameras to monitor your children. However, the typical set up is two cameras feeding into one main screen that you can see.

What makes them different?

The main way a split screen baby monitor is different from the traditional camera baby monitor is that the screen can support two or more camera feeds. Most camera-based baby monitors have one camera and one screen. The split screen allows you to monitor more than one child or room at a time.

There are many camera baby monitors on the market and some can support upwards of 4 or 5 cameras, but there are only a few that offer the split screen format. The systems that support multiple cameras often have features that toggle between cameras in 10 second intervals. Some offer you the remote to switch camera feeds, but the split screen is a unique feature.

Here’s Why a Split Screen Monitor is Worth It

Families choose a split screen baby monitor simply because they want to be able to check on more than one child. Plus, they want the convenience of using just one system. This can be useful for families with twins or any family with more than one child. These baby monitors give you one screen to check in on your sleeping or playing children.

This also eliminates the need for two separate systems, which saves you money! Even if you only have one child, we recommend starting off with a split screen monitor. This way you always have the option of adding a camera into the playroom or in future baby’s rooms down the road.

The split screen will give you a quick window into each child’s status easily and consistently. This is way better than juggling a system for each child or switching screens with one system. We love these baby monitor systems because they give you peace of mind and a constant update on your children.

Top 4 of the Best Split Screen Baby Monitors

1: MoonyBaby Split 50 Baby Monitor

Best split screen baby monitor

This baby monitor system comes with a 5-inch screen. This is the perfect size for viewing multiple feeds at once. The Moonybaby Split 50 only supports two cameras, but that is what is ideal for split screen viewing anyways. Both of the cameras have a wide-angle and zoom, giving you plenty of options to check in on your babies.

In addition to the split screen, you also have the option to just view one camera at a time. When just viewing one screen, you can hear the real-time audio from the room. The audio always gives me a little more peace of mind because I feel like I know what is going on in the room. Here are a few other features I love about this monitor; automatic night vision, a power-saving mode that turns on when baby stirs or wakes or cries, and a 1000ft range in open areas and a 300ft range indoors.

This split screen baby monitor tops our list because it delivers everything a family needs. From the split screen dual cameras to the night vision, audio feed, and power-saving mode, it really has it all. The zoom feature gives you the opportunity to check-in without disturbing your child, as well. Overall, this is a great system for families with two children because you can keep a constant eye on both.

We recommend the MoonyBaby Split 50 for families expecting a second child, with children of varying ages, twins, or even two toddlers.


2: Motorola Video Baby Monitor

Best split screen baby monitor

Another very well-known and highly recommended baby monitor system is this two-camera system by Motorola. Each wide-angle HD camera gives you a full view of the room. Plus, you will have remote access for panning, zooming, and tilting. The control screen is 5 inches and offers a color display. One feature I love is the room temperature sensor which monitors the room and will alert you when the temperature dips below or rises above your preference. They also have a two-way intercom to communicate with your child and the night vision allows you to see your child any time of day or night.

This split screen baby monitor makes our list because of the ability to change the camera’s angle and view from the control screen. We also love that you can communicate with your child or partner through the intercom feature. This split screen baby monitor system gives you complete control to see what your child is doing, monitor their sleep and play, and goes above and beyond with the communication aspect.

This is an awesome system for families with larger homes that want the ability to communicate as well as control the cameras from anywhere in the house. It’s also great because you can monitor two children at once and have full control to see and talk with them from one main screen.


3: LBtech Video Baby Monitor

This monitor supports up to 4 cameras so you can have peace of mind when your baby is sleeping. It has amazing features such as room temperature monitoring, 2x zoom, scan mode, two-way talk and more. It is super easy to set up with no wifi needed. All you need to do is plug it in and play. It has power saving Vox mode and is voice activated, which auto wakes the screen when your baby begins to cry, fuss or babble. It saves up to 50% battery power!

The room temperature monitor will alert you if the baby’s room is too hot or cold, so one less thing you need to worry about while making sure your babe is getting a sleepless night. This monitor also has automatic night vision, so no need to switch anything on or off during nighttime. This monitor truly has all the features you need and with the ability to add up to 4 cameras, so you have every space covered!


4: DBPower 2021 Baby Monitor

Last but certainly not least on our list of the top 4 best split screen baby monitors is this system by DBPower. The system comes with one camera which has a 3.5 inch control screen. The best feature of this system is that up to 4 other cameras can be used in the split screen mode. Each camera connects without wifi or an app, keeping your child and your family safe.

While the screen is smaller than the other two it offers color video and makes up for it by being able to easily connect to multiple cameras. Other features we love include a two-way intercom, lullabies to lull baby back to sleep, and night vision. There is also a 2x digital zoom and a temperature monitor. On top of all this, there is an advanced alert system to make you aware of a low battery, out of range, temperature, or your baby crying.

What makes this split screen baby monitor one of the best is that it’s perfect for families that want to start with one camera, but are planning on growing and may want to add more later. This system has cameras that rotate as well as tilt providing a clear view of the room. Having a range like this gives parents the ability to see their children moving around the room. You will be able to keep an eye on active children as well as sleeping babies.

The two-way intercom and added lullaby features give this system an edge over the other two.


Choosing the Right Split Screen Monitor for Your Family

While there are many baby monitor camera systems on the current market, not many offer a split screen function. These 3 split screen baby monitors make my list because they provide all the camera functions a family with 2+ children needs by providing the ability to see both cameras at once. Each of these systems also provides extras like night vision, 2-way communication, and remote camera control. All of which gives parents the ability to check on their children from another room without disturbing the child.

You cannot go wrong with any of these 3 monitors if you are a family needing to monitor two or more children. They would also be a great choice for the family that has one child but plan to grow in the future. Having a single system that can handle more than 1 camera gives parents confidence and security. They can keep a watchful eye on each child while they sleep, play, and grow!

Quick & Healthy Baby Breakfast Ideas [6-18 Months]

Quick & Healthy Baby Breakfast Ideas [6-18 Months]

QUick & Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Yes, we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve all heard it over and over. But for little one’s breakfast really is important. It sets up how everything will flow the rest of the day; however, oftentimes our mornings are rushed.

Baby Breakfast Ideas

Parents getting ready for work, kids getting ready for school or daycare, everyone has to be out of the house by a certain time, and breakfast can be a real trouble spot. We’ve put together some quick and healthy baby breakfast ideas, from puree to small eats, that are easy to throw together or meal prep ahead of time.

Purees (Generally 6 – 9 Months)

If you’ve gotten the go ahead from the pediatrician, six months is the start of solid foods. There are three types of purees for healthy baby breakfast ideas:

  • Stage 1 – pure pureed in which the food is liquid smooth
  • Stage 2 – food is slightly thicker in consistency
  • Stage 3 – food has chunks

Depending on how well your baby sits up determines which stage you should use. All of these stages can be achieved in a food processor. The benefits of making your own baby food is numerous but also time saving. You can make a large patch and freeze it, or you can simply puree whatever you are having. Here are a few puree baby breakfast ideas:

  • Fruit of Your Choice
    • Ingredients: 2 whatever fruit you want, ½ cup formula or breastmilk
    • Instructions:
      • Add desired fruit (these can be frozen fruits) and cook 7-10 minutes until soft
      • Place in food processor, add formula/breastmilk, and puree until desired consistency

Cinnamon Pear Oatmeal

  • Ingredients: 2 pears, ¼ cup of old-fashioned oats, pinch of cinnamon, 1 cup water

Cinnamon Pear Oatmeal Instructions:

  • Peel, core, and chop pears
  • Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan and heat on medium for 10 minutes until pears are tender, stir occasionally
  • Place in food processor and puree until desired consistency
  • Substitute apple or banana for different oatmeal flavors

Peach, Mango & Carrot

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 peaches
    • 2 mangos
    • 4 carrots
    • ½ cup formula or breastmilk

Instructions:

  • Peel and chop the carrots
  • Place carrots and formula or milk into medium saucepan
  • Cover and heat on medium for 10 minutes
  • Add peach and mangos (these can be frozen fruits) and cook an additional 3-5 minutes until soft
  • Place in food processor and puree until desired consistency

You can substitute any fruits and vegetables just remember to cook them down before pureeing. Some ideas to consider:

  • Apple, blackberry, and kale
  • Strawberry, apple, and banana
  • Banana and avocado
  • Apple, blueberries, spinach
  • Strawberry, peach, rice cereal

Click here for homemade baby food recipes for baby breakfast ideas!

Finger Foods (Generally 7 – 12 months)

As your baby grows you may notice signs are they are ready for finger foods. They will become more and more interested in your food. Almost anything healthy with a soft texture makes a great finger food.

Small pieces of cooked vegetables, soft fruits, and round cereals or cereals puffs are great options. Remember your food choices should be easily able to be gummed as your baby probably doesn’t have all their teeth yet. Here are a few finger food baby breakfast ideas:

Whole Grain, Protein, and Fruit Plate

Puffs or O-shaped cereals are a great base and easily dissolve in your baby’s mouth. As your baby gets bigger and is able to chew you can move toward bites of breads such as waffles and muffins.

Protein: can be some form of cheese, avocado, or eggs. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends early introduction of allergenic foods to prevent food allergies.

Soft fruits including bananas, pears, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, and berries.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Puffs, eggs, and banana
  • Cheerios, eggs, and pears
  • Pancake bites, eggs, and peaches
  • Muffin bites, avocado, and berries

Applesauce Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ½ cup milk (whole or breastmilk)

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients
  • Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat
  • Spray griddle with nonstick spray
  • Pour batter into small circle
  • Let cook until edges are set and bubbles start to appear.
  • Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Blueberry and Banana Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of mashed banana
  • 1 cup of grated zucchini (packed and squeezed dry)
  • ½ cup whole milk or breastmilk
  • ½ cup butter (melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • grease mini muffin tin
  • combine banana, zucchini, milk, butter and eggs add flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon; add blueberries;
  • Pour in muffin tin
  • Bake for 22 – 28 minutes
  • Cool on wire rack.

Eggs and Cheese Breakfast Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Small (8-inch) tortillas
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  • Heat a nonstick pan over medium-low heat
  • Add oil
  • Scramble the eggs and transfer to plate
  • Place tortilla in pan
  • Sprinkle cheese
  • Placed cooked eggs over cheese
  • Top with remaining cheese
  • Cook until bottom of tortilla is brown and cheese starts to melt
  • Cover with other tortilla and flip, cook until other side is brown.

Once your baby can eat smaller bites, consider adding beans, spinach, avocado, or ham to the quesadillas.

Spoonfuls (Generally 12+ Months)

Most babies don’t fully grasp feeding themselves with a spoon until after their first birthday. However, some babies will start to grasp for spoons around 10 months, so if you think they are ready to give it a try start with thicker foods like yogurt, overnight oats, nut butter, or cottage cheese.

baby breakfast ideas

Fruit Overnight Oats

  • Ingredients
  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • 4 oz of your choice of fruit puree
  • 1-3 tbsp of whole or breastmilk
  • pinch of cinnamon

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients
  • Place in an airtight container and place in the fridge overnight.

Whole Grain, Protein, and Fruit Plate

  • Whole grain: cereal, overnight oats, pancakes, waffles, or muffins
    • Protein: cottage cheese, yogurt, or nut butter
    • Soft fruits including bananas, pears, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, and berries.
    • Some ideas to consider:
      • Puffs, cottage cheese, and strawberries
      • Cheerios, peanut butter, and banana
      • Banana overnight oats and yogurt
      • Muffin bites, almond butter, and berries

Small Eats (12 – 18+ Months)

Once your baby has mastered chewing, the sky is the limit on breakfast.

Sweet Potato Toast

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp cooked
  • Mashed sweet potato (pureed if desired)
  • 1 slice of whole grain bread
  • Brown sugar optional

Instructions

  • Lightly toast bread (you can also cook it on a griddle if you prefer toast that way)
  • Warm sweet potato
  • Spread on toast
  • Sprinkle brown sugar over top.

PB&J Waffle Sandwiches

Peanut butter and banana waffles
Waffles with peanut butter, banana and strawberry jam
  • Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp fruit puree of choice (strawberry apple is popular option)
  • 2 waffles (frozen or homemade)
  • Banana

Instructions

  • Heat waffles
  • Spread peanut butter on one
  • Place Banana on Top
  • Spread jelly on other, mash together.
  • Bonus points: use cookie cutter to make fun shapes.

Mixed Berries and Granola Bark

  • Ingredients:
  • 3 cups of mixed berries (cut up)
  • 2 cups of plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • ½ cup of granola

Instructions

  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a food processor add 2 cups of berry mix, yogurt, and honey
  • Blend until smooth
  • Pour mixture over baking sheet and spread evenly
  • Sprinkle remaining berries and granola
  • Place in freezer for 4 hours
  • Remove and break into pieces.

Baby Breakfast Ideas on Building a Balanced Meal

Once your baby has reached self-serving eating, coming up with breakfast ideas can seem like a challenge. However, babies at this age can eat whatever you eat. Don’t feel you need to make extra food just for your baby. Planning ahead can save you time and stress. Like adults, babies need balanced meals. Follow this guide to a balanced meal:

  1. Carbohydrates – your baby will need a whole grain, fruit, or starchy vegetable
  2. Protein – meat, eggs, or dairy to help your baby grown and feel full longer
  3. Healthy fats – avocado, nut butter, eggs, and whole milk to help proper brain development
  4. Produce – fruits and vegetables of all shapes and colors for vitamins

Check out related articles below that have more information on baby breakfast ideas!

Homemade Baby Food Recipes

Best Baby Food Maker- 7 of the Best Models Available

7 Healthy Homemade Baby Food Shortcuts

21 Easy Baby Lunch Ideas They’ll Love!

21 Easy Baby Lunch Ideas They’ll Love!

21 Easy baby lunch ideas

Lunchtime can sometimes seem daunting, especially if you have no idea what to make for your baby. Whether you pack a lunch for daycare or your baby eats at home, we’ve compiled baby lunch ideas for six to 18 months that will make lunch time a breeze. Check out our baby breakfast ideas here!

Lunch Ideas for Babies

Lunch ideas for babies

Purees (Generally 6 – 9 Months)

When babies first start on solids, it’s a great time to let them explore diverse tastes and textures. Remember when starting out on solids to introduce new foods as single-ingredient to make sure your baby isn’t allergic. Once you have determined they aren’t, you can combine those foods with others you have tested. Babies at this stage eat pureed food. There are three types of purees:

  • Stage 1 – pure pureed in which the food is liquid smooth
  • Stage 2 – food is slightly thicker in consistency
  • Stage 3 – food has chunks

Depending on how well your baby sits up determines which stage you should use. All of these stages can be achieved in a food processor (like this one).

baby lunch ideas

Vegetable of Your Choice

  • Ingredients: 2 whatever vegetable you want, ½ cup formula or breastmilk
    • Instructions:
      • Add desired vegetable (these can be frozen) and cook 7-10 minutes until soft
      • Place in food processor, add formula/breastmilk, and puree until desired consistency.
    • Popular first vegetables include: green beans, peas, broccoli, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Apple, Peas, and Spinach

  • Ingredients: 2 apples (peeled and chopped), ¼ cup spinach (packed in), ¼ cups peas, ½ cup water
    • Instructions: Cook apples until soft (7-10 minutes) then place in food processor, cook peas (3-5 minutes) then place in food processor, sauté spinach and place in food processor, add water, and puree until desired consistency.  
    • You can substitute any fruits and vegetables just remember to cook them down before pureeing. Some ideas to consider:
      • Butternut squash and sweet corn
      • Pears, cucumber, and kale
      • Carrot, sweet potato, and pea

Check out this article for homemade baby food recipes!

Adding Meat Protein (Generally 7+ Months)

Once your baby is comfortable eating fruits and vegetables, introducing meat is next. Here are a few Stage 3 puree meat-based baby lunch ideas.

Chicken, Carrot, and Broccoli

  • Ingredients: 2 oz uncooked chicken (cut into pieces), 1 carrot (peeled and diced), ¼ cup broccoli, chicken broth (just enough to cover ingredients in saucepan)
    • Instructions: Place all ingredients in saucepan and cover with broth, simmer until chick is cooked through and vegetables are tender, drain and puree until desired consistency.

Shepherd’s Pie (Ground beef, carrots, peas, mash potatoes)

  • Ingredients: 4 oz cooked ground beef, ¼ cup carrots, ¼ cup peas, ¼ cup mashed potatoes, 2 tbsp beef broth
    • Instructions: Cook ground beef and place in food processor, cook carrots and peas until tender, cook mashed potatoes, place all ingredients in food processor and puree until desired consistency

Beef Stew (Bulk recipe, good for freezing)

  • Ingredients: ½ pound beef roast (cut into cubes), 2 tsp olive oil, ¼ small onion (chopped), 1 carrot (peeled and diced), 1 medium gold potato (peeled and cut into cubes), 1 cup water
    • Instructions: Heat oil in pot over medium-high; add beef and cook 2-3 minutes per side; add onions, carrots, potatoes, and water; stir and bring to boil, reduce heat to love, cover and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes; add to food processor and puree until desired consistency.

Finger Foods (Generally 7 – 12 Months)

As your baby grows you may notice signs are they are ready for finger foods. Almost anything healthy with a soft texture makes a great finger food. Small pieces of cooked vegetables, soft fruits, and pieces of pasta are great lunch ideas for babies.

Whole Grain, Protein, and Vegetable Plate

  • Whole grain: bread, pasta (shells, bowties, or elbow), wheat bread
    • Protein: cooked chicken, cooked pork, or cooked beef (no processed meats until 12+00)
    • Vegetables including: peas, zucchini, carrots, black beans, avocado, and squash.
    • Some ideas to consider:
      • Pasta shells, chicken, carrots
      • Toast, ground beef, cheese (small bites or shredded)

Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

lunch ideas for babies - quesadilla
  • Ingredients: 2 small (8-inch) tortillas, ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup cooked black beans
    • Instructions: heat a nonstick pan over medium-low heat, place tortilla in pan, sprinkle cheese, placed beans in cheese, top with remaining cheese, cook until bottom of tortilla is brown and cheese starts to melt, cover with other tortilla and flip, cook until other side is brown.
    • Once they master this quesadilla, try adding shredded chicken or ground beef.

 Buttered Elbow Pasta

  • Ingredients: 4 oz elbow pasta, 1.5tbsp butter, pinch of salt and pepper, grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
    • Instructions: Bring a pot of cold water and salt to boil, add pasta stirring occasionally for 12 minutes, drain pasta leaving 3-4 tbsp of water in bottom of pot, return pot to low heat, add butter, whisk until melted, add pasta, sprinkle parmesan and pepper (if desired).
    • Add chicken and peas for a complete meal.

Well-Balanced Meals (Generally 12+ Months)

Once your baby has mastered using a spoon and taking bites, they are ready for the healthy well-balanced meals you eat. These generally include a protein, carbohydrate, healthy fats (omega-3), and fruit/vegetable serving. Check out the well-balanced baby lunch ideas below:

Chicken Sweet Potato Poppers (family size recipe)

  • Ingredients: 1 pound of ground chicken (or turkey), 2 cups sweet potato (peeled and grated), 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, 2 green onions (finely chopped), 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, pinch of salt
    • Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease large baking sheet, squeeze excess moisture from shredded sweet potatoes, add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and combine, roll into balls then flattened to about one inch in diameter (should make between 22-25 poppers) place on baking sheet, bake for 15 minutes.

Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice (a favorite in our house, family size recipe)

Lunch Ideas for babies - pineapple fried rice
Make it fun and place in a pineapple then serve on a separate dish for your little ones. It makes it a fun treat for the kids
  • Ingredients: 1 tsp oil, ½ cup onion (diced), 1 tbsp garlic (minced), ½ cup carrot (diced), ½ cup bell pepper (diced), ½ cup ham (appropriate bite size for your baby), 3 eggs (beaten), 3 cups brown rice (cooked), 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 cup pineapple (diced)
    • Instructions: In a wok (or deep skillet) heat oil on high; add onion, garlic, carrots, bell peppers, and ham and cook until slightly browned then push to side of wok; add eggs to empty part of pan and scramble them; add eggs to rest; add rice, soy sauce, pineapple; mix well.

Here are fifteen complete meal lunch ideas*:

  • Turkey and cheese sandwich (bonus points: use a cookie cutter for fun shapes or grill it), carrots, and blueberries
  • Spaghetti (can be meatless), buttered toast, and apples
  • Black bean, chicken, and cheese quesadilla, avocado, and mangos
  • Grilled chicken, mac and cheese, peas, and strawberries
  • Homemade Lunchables (crackers, sliced cheese, and turkey), cucumbers, and blueberries
  • Cucumbers and plain cream cheese, turkey, and berry mix (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • Pita bread, sliced carrots, cucumbers, and red peppers, plain hummus, and clementine slices
  • Chicken sweet potato poppers, green beans, cornbread, and apple sauce
  • Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice and edamame
  • PB&J sandwich and banana slices
  • Meatballs, roasted sweet potatoes, and cherry tomatoes (diced)
  • Spinach and cheese tortellini (store bought), grilled chicken, and broccoli
  • Buttered pasta, ham, peas, and raspberries

We hope these easy baby lunch ideas will be helpful to all of you parents out there!

Pin for Later: 21 Easy Baby Lunch Ideas They’ll Love!

A Subscription Box for Toddlers- The Kodomochallenge by Benesse

A Subscription Box for Toddlers- The Kodomochallenge by Benesse

This article is sponsored by Benesse, however, as always all opinions are my own. 

It seems like there is a subscription box for almost everyone these days from makeup lovers, fitness buffs, dads, and pregnant women. However, there is one group that was largely left out of the subscription box craze until now, toddlers! Benesse has stepped in and created an awesome monthly subscription box, Kodomochallenge, for toddlers. I was lucky enough to have the chance to try it out and introduce this new way of learning through play to my little one. Read on to find out what Kodomochallenge is all about and exactly what my little one and I thought of it! 

Why does my toddler need a subscription box? 

Your little one has so much to learn and discover about the world around them. By investing in a subscription box for them, you are helping them to broaden their knowledge. The Kodomochallenge focuses on learning through play through toys, videos, and booklets. Learning through play is so important at this toddler stage! Learning through play is what helps our little ones explore and discover the world around them. It also helps their imagination and creativity develop. I could totally see my son’s mind turning and developing new skills as we played together with these toys. 

I also love the idea of a subscription box because it makes rotating toys out easier. As a mom of a curious little one, I can definitely confirm that rotating out toys will help to keep your toddler engaged and entertained. My mom who ran a daycare for many years always recommended rotating toys in and out to introduce new things and keep their little minds working. A subscription box makes this easy. When the new toys come you can simply put the old ones up and bring them back down when your little one seems ready to change things up. 

All About the Kodomochallenge

Kodomochallenge is a Home Learning Subscription Box created by childhood development specialists. They believe that because every child learns differently, it is important to provide them with a variety of educational toys which these boxes provide. They focus on important early childhood skills such as social skills, daily life skills, communication, cognitive learning, creativity, and music. 

Another thing I was really excited to learn about the box is that it is suited for children as young as 1 year old! I am a firm believer that it is really never too early for your child to start learning and love that this is recognized by the Kodomochallenge creators. The boxes truly make home learning both easy and fun, which is great because like most moms I don’t have a lot of extra time to spare coming up with new ways to get learning in. 

You also will get to know the main character, Shimajiro! He is a very important part of each box and will lead your child through all of the different learning activities. He is a very lovable character, so it is no surprise that he helped Kodomochallenge gain the admiration of 2 million subscribers around the world. 

What’s in the box?

The cool thing about the Kodomochallenge- Home Learning Subscription Box is that the toys are for skill enrichment rather than just for entertainment. This means that with each box your child is gaining a valuable wealth of knowledge. Every box includes an educational toy, video content, and an interactive picture booklet. They also come with a guide for parents, which I found super helpful as it can be confusing to guide your child in learning without some background knowledge! 

Not only is each box filled with different toys, but they each have their own specific theme. Here is a little bit about each box! 

Box 1

I told you that you would quickly get to know Shimajiro! The first box is all about introducing him to your child and in the process they will learn important basic greeting and communication skills. These skills are so important and will help your child have a foundation for how to make friends for many years to come! 

It is in this box that your child will receive their plush Shimajiro, which is kind of like a lovey. I know having the plush toy character always helps my son to focus better on the character in the book we are reading or movie we are watching. 

Box 2

Did you ever play with Russian Dolls as a child? I had a set that I loved! This box brings back this classic toy to teach your child how to identify different sizes and colors. I had been looking for new ways to teach my little guy his colors, so I was definitely a happy mom when I saw this!

Box 3

Food! My love for good food runs deep and I hope to pass that along to my son as well. This box is all about discovering new and interesting types of food. It is great exposure for your child and may even get them excited to try something other than chicken nuggets. 

My son especially enjoyed this box and the wooden pieces of food that you can pull apart and stick back together with velcro. 

Box 4

Box 4 is about another set of absolutely essential skills; personal hygiene! I am a fan of anything that will show my child (in a fun way) that taking care of our bodies and health is important. With this Kodomochallenge Box, your little one will learn all about brushing their teeth a habit, washing, and going potty.  

Box 5

There is something really special about spending time with your little one in the kitchen. This box focus on how fun cooking can be while also teaching communication skills. It comes with some play kitchen items which is great for little imaginations. 

Box 6

Last but not least, this box is all about learning to use your imagination. It contains blocks to create and build whatever a little imagination can come up with! 

My Overall Thoughts on the Kodomochallenge

I can confidently say both my little one and I are looking forward to our next Kodomochallenge box arriving in the mail. I really loved that the toys and activities made it easy for me to interact and play with my son. The fact that playtime with my son is also holding educational value is priceless. My son had so much fun learning with Shimajiro and we’re excited to see what the next box will hold. Not to mention, I hope there are more boxes released in the future for various ages!

I must say our favorite part of the box was definitely the picture booklets. We love reading together especially when there are interactive elements like peek-a-boo pull tabs and flaps. 

This educational material was created over 30 years ago in Japan, so on top of the skills it teaches, I love the extra cultural exposure that my son is getting through each box. I can see why this brand has been well-known and trusted for many years throughout Asia. I feel like my child gained valuable skills and more importantly, he had fun while doing so! At this age, it is so important that learning be introduced through play so that we can foster a love of it in our children. 

I highly recommend trying out this subscription box for your toddler! You can order yours easily here through Amazon.

Uppababy Cruz vs Vista- Which is Best for You!

Uppababy Cruz vs Vista- Which is Best for You!

When it comes to baby gear, one of the most well-known brands is Uppababy! They sell two high-end stroller options, the Cruz and the Vista. Both of these strollers offer grow-with-me functionality with a simple metal frame that supports a bassinet or toddler seat. Many families choose an Uppababy stroller because they want something reliable, easy to use, and want something that they can use from infancy to school age. When it really comes down to Uppababy Cruz vs Vista, though, how do they compare?

Overviews of the Uppababy Strollers

Uppababy Cruz vs Uppababy Vista

Cruz

The Uppababy Cruz V2 is the brand’s standard toddler stroller. This stroller is priced at around $650 and is for children from 3 months old to 50 pounds. The Cruz weighs 25.5 lbs with the frame (19 lbs) and the seat (6.5 lbs). When you purchase the Cruz the following is included: toddler seat with bumper bar, frame and wheels, toddler seat bug shield, and a toddler seat rain shield.

Vista

The Uppababy Vista V2 is the brand’s grow-with-me stroller, which includes both the bassinet and the toddler seat. This stroller is priced at around $950 and is for children from birth to 20 pounds with the bassinet seat, and 3 months old to 50 pounds with the toddler seat.

The stroller itself weighs 27 lbs with the frame (20 lbs) and the seat (7 lbs), or the bassinet (8.8 lbs). When you purchase the Vista the following is included: toddler seat with bumper bar, bassinet, frame and wheels, toddler seat bug shield, toddler seat rain shield, bassinet bug shield, and a bassinet storage bag.

Uppababy Cruz vs Vista: Seating differences

Uppababy Cruz vs Uppababy Vista

Cruz

Ultimately, this stroller can seat one child. This is the main difference between these two options.

At most this stroller can seat two, with one standing at the back. However, it will typically carry one child, either with the given toddler seat, or with additional attachments for a bassinet, infant seat, or car seat.

Vista

The Vista model is designed to carry one child from birth to 50 lbs. However, it can also carry two or even three children with the right accessories. The Vista can easily transform into a double stroller, which is the feature that really sets it apart.

With the toddler seat and the additional Rumble Seat accessory, the frame of the Vista can support two toddlers. You can have both children forward-facing or with one rearing facing. In a similar configuration, the addition of a SnugSeat will give you the ability to use a forward-facing toddler seat and a rear-facing infant seat on the same frame. The frame does support two toddler seats or two infant seats at the same time.

To add a third child rider you’ll need the PiggyBack rider board which gives a standing rider space at the rear. This attaches to the rear axle and allows a child to stand below the handlebar. If you really need a stroller for three, I’d recommend checking out our Triple Stroller article!

Winner: Uppababy Vista

Uppababy Cruz vs Vista: Handlebars and Brakes

Both the Uppababy Cruz and the Uppababy Vista have a telescoping leather handlebar that is easy to adjust for any adult height. The solid handlebar makes it easy to push with one or two hands and is easy to hold while adjusting the seat or using the foot brake.

This is a very minimal handlebar with no tray, storage, or cupholders. A Carry-all Parent Organizer can be purchased from Uppababy for simple removable storage. Handlebar covers are also available from Uppababy for added customization.

The brake system for the Cruz and the Vista is the same. There are both front wheel and rear wheel locks. The front-wheel locks are controlled with a push-button lock, the user presses the button with a finger to lock the swivel wheels into place. This keeps the front wheels in line with the frame for more stability on rough terrain, but it can make it more difficult to make tighter turns.

The rear wheels have color-coded, single-action style brakes which are very easy to use. The simple on/off function can be controlled with the tap of a foot, even barefoot. Users have found that these are easy to use no matter the circumstances.

Winner: Tie

Uppababy Cruz vs Vista: Steering and Wheels

Both the Cruz and the Vista have shock-absorbing, all-wheel suspension. This makes for smooth steering and a smooth ride over a range of terrains. The front swivel wheels make it easy to steer and navigate obstacles, from shopping to crowds. It is also great when traveling with your little ones. The Uppababy Vista is just slightly better in this category because of its larger wheels.

The front and rear wheels have visual lock indicators to make it easy to locate the feature and apply them quickly. Remember that more weight can make it more difficult to steer these strollers, especially on uneven surfaces.

Winner: Vista

Uppababy Cruz vs Vista: Folding and Travel

Uppababy Cruz vs Vista

One of the coolest Vista and Cruz features is the one-step fold. These models allow you to use one hand to collapse the stroller. They also stand on their own when folded for easy access and storage.

This makes it easy to close the stroller while holding a child, and keeps the stroller in one place while securing the child in the car before storing the cargo in the trunk. The Cruz folds up a little more compact than the Vista but both are very convenient.

Some trunk spaces may not be large enough to accommodate the stroller with the seat and the wheels. The toddler seat or bassinet can be removed for easier storage, though.

Winner: Uppababy Cruz

Vista vs Cruz: Car Seat Compatibility

2021 Uppababy strollers are compatible with a range of car seats through the use of their adapter accessories. There is an Uppababy branded car seat, the MESA Infant Car Seat, that functions with their strollers without an adapter.

The car seat adapter accessories include one for the Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, and Cybex seats, and another for the Chicco car seat line.

Winner: Tie

Fellow Moms Reviews

Uppababy Cruz

Consumers find this is a great first-time parent stroller. The Cruz is a bit pricey but definitely delivers in function and overall performance. It’s a great first-time parent stroller because you can add the infant features if needed, or save the stroller to use once you’ve mastered your parenting skills. It’s easy to use, looks great, and provides everything a family needs in one stroller.

Uppababy Vista

Vista

Consumers really enjoy this stroller. They give it high marks in all categories and appreciate the grow-with-me functionality. The storage basket is also large enough to handle the gear for most families.

The price point is high, making this stroller a luxury item. However, it seems to pay off in terms of delivery of functionality, simplicity, and durability.

Summing Up the Pros and Cons

Uppababy Cruz

The Cruz stroller features include how functional the stroller is right out of the box. This stroller delivers all the necessities with the option to customize and add whatever a family may need. It’s a great functional stroller.

The cons include the price point and the fact that it needs additional accessories to be used at birth. It’s a good middle ground as it can be adapted to your needs but doesn’t provide extra if you aren’t interested in a bassinet or seating for multiple children.

Uppababy Vista

The pros include the fact that this stroller delivers for one child from infancy through toddlerhood. Plus, it can be customized for carrying two or three children. The stroller delivers everything the Cruz provides and goes beyond with the bassinet and bassinet cover straight from the box.

The cons include the price point, which can be steep for some families. This cost should be weighed against the ability to use the stroller with multiple children as the family grows, and that it does include everything for one child from the start.

best stroller

Overall Winner: Uppababy Vista

It was close, but Uppababy Vista slightly beats out the Cruz. If youare on the go, the cruz might be a better option, but overall the Vista is a slightly better option.

What will you choose when it comes to the Uppababy Cruz vs Vista?

You May Also Like:

The 10 Best Sit and Stand Strollers for 2021 + Our Clear Favorite!

Choosing a Stroller for Big Kids- Top 10 Choices for 2021

The Best Jogging Stroller on the Market Right Now!

Pin for Later: Uppababy Cruz vs Vista- Which one is Best for You!