Thursday, May 09, 2013

Review- Infantino Squeeze Station and Fresh Squeezed Product Line

Today we tried the Infantino Squeeze Station and Fresh Squeezed Line. Let me start by saying that I received no free products, these were purchases that I made and have chosen to review here.

The Squeeze Station comes with ten disposable packets and lids. I was impressed with the quality of everything in the station, including the disposable packets. If you know me, you know that I don't LIKE Disposable. At all. We don't DO Disposable. We reuse everything. We cloth diaper, we use cloth wipes, mama cloth, the whole deal. I didn't order the disposable refills, but instead I ordered the Infantino Keeper Squeeze Pouches (two of them, one for the main course, and one for the dessert... just to try and see if they were what we would like.) The Keeper Squeeze Pouches seem to be taking longer to arrive than the station itself... I will update the review when I receive them.
Happy Babe

Now, for US, the idea behind the squeeze station was to find a portable method for feeding baby that wasn't messy and didn't require me to take glass baby food jars or a thermos container, or spoons, etc... everywhere we went. This isn't a big deal when you have like, your first child.... but when you have three kids and two of them are in school in different school districts and you spend more time driving back and forth than you care to think about, there are times when your baby is hungry and you just don't know what the heck you will do. There isn't a high chair. There isn't a wipeable surface surrounding them. I need something small, portable, and simple that creates little mess. I don't need a baby spoon that baby swats away and splatters food all over. I don't need to worry about keeping said spoon clean in the bottom of a crumb infested diaper bag. I just need simple and efficient.

I have three kids. I am not ashamed to admit that I have done LOTS of things as far as baby food. I've done Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and Annabel Karmel books and recipes. I've made my own purees and other homemade baby food recipes. I've purchased baby food in glass jars and plastic rectangular lidded packs. I've received food purees free from WIC. This gives me the opportunity to give a pretty full review.

Let's start by saying that the pouches hold a surprisingly generous amount of food for their slim and portable size. Baby Ewyn (I know you can't pronounce it. Haven't you people ever heard of Ewan McGregor? well, just think "yoo-win" and you've got it. Scottish. Gaelic. It's not that hard people.) is 7 months old in 40 minutes. His puree spitting techniques are spot on, although he is usually more interested in getting things down the hatch. Feeding him does take a lot of time and it makes a big mess. I usually feed him naked and I HATE feeding him in public because it's much easier to "lift shirt, attach boobie" than do the baby feeding gig. I hate public highchairs (assuming you can find one) and for a while I was taking my own high chair here and there and I had an okay (although stressful) system down where I had everything in a ziploc bag inside the tray lid and I also took a dry washcloth and a wet washcloth (we don't DO disposable wipes, remember) but I felt like it took 22.75 hours of planning to leave the house (I doth exxagerate) and so this was a much better solution.

Pouch baby food that can be pre-purchased has a few issues. You can't control ingredients. Lots of waste (garbage) that isn't green minded. Prices are higher than regular or homemade baby purees. WhatKindOfCancerCausingChemicalsAreInThatSpaceAgedPackaging?! Can you heat it?

My biggest issue is, that I see parents feeding the babies squeeze pouch food all the time. At home. At daycare. At babysitters. And all I can envision is the futuristic people in Wall-E. When will our kids learn to use spoons and forks? Using utensils is a skill that you hope your child develops at a decent age, and feeding them every meal in a squeeze pouch is likely going to hamper that skillset. This is why I am only using pouches when away from home in an inconvenient setting. At home I will still be using spoon. I think. Although there are also spoons that can attach TO the pouches. I don't believe these are the devil, but I do know that they aren't going to mesh with me "cleaner eating away from home" plan that I envision in my head. I will try them later. At this point the reviews on them are not promising.

I purchased the fresh squeezed line and pouches and tested them with items like applesauce for the big kids, and also homemade purees and store bought baby food.

Trying out the Squeeze Station
To start, the Station allows you to be filling three pouches at once, and they can be filled with the same or different purees. You have three chambers to fill and ONE Plunger (aka Infantino Food Press) that comes with the kit. You can purchase additional plungers (which I did, although they also have not arrived yet and it wasn't a HUGE pain to just quickly rinse the plunger between purees if needed.) You can purchase an additional funnel ($20 on amazon?!) and it seriously is NOT necessary. The opening is plenty wide to pour into and if you can't hit that opening, you have bigger issues. I do like to use these tiny spatulas (I have a bunch of them) to get remains out of food processor and baby food jars. These are slick little guys. I bought them back with baby #2 when I got smart.

Station Includes Three Tubes, but one plunger.
You attach the pouches to the station by sliding them into the grooves. They don't "secure" in place until you screw a tube on to the top. The tube secures directly on to the pouch, the stand just sort of "holds" them upright for you. As another reviewer stated, you can easily do this without the stand at all. If Infantino wasn't in the money making business, I am thinking they could sell the pouches and one plunger/tube for less than $10 and still make everyone happy. But I can see if you are doing lots of baby food (homemade) that this stand and doing several pouches at a time would be much nicer and less time consuming than doing it by hand. So that said, you can fill the pouches without the stand itself. I do like that the stand is versatile and allows you to store all the pieces inside when you are finished, which takes up less space and prevents your cupboards from having all these pieces roaming around to be lost in the depths.

I only made a few at a time as the fridge life is very short.
The plunger isn't a complete tight fit, but it does create a nice seal in the tube. The downside is that you can be plunging the pouches full of air (which would be worse if the plunger fit super tight.) Once I fill a tube with puree, I insert the plunger but tilt it slightly to one side so that there isn't a "seal" created until the plunger is flush with the puree. Then I straighten the plunger to create the seal and press the puree down into the bag completely. This prevents you from injecting a bunch of air into the bag. Remember to unscrew the bag slightly before retracting the plunger or the puree will be sucked back out of the packet. A little puree will leak around the top of the packet when you unscrew, but it's minimal. If it's your first baby, just sterilize the pouch spout with bleach or alcohol before putting the lid on. If it's your third, just lick it and put the lid on. (kidding. About the bleach and alcohol part, not the licking part.)

The upside is that these packets can be frozen (and of course they sell a packet organizer.) The downside is that they aren't shelf stable like a purchased packet and they only recommend keeping them in the fridge for 48 hours (yes, again.... if it's your
I don't get it mom.
first baby you'll listen. If you're me, you might go a week:) Another downside? These packets can't be microwaved or boiled. I assume you could put them in a hot glass of water to warm the food if you wanted, or maybe a bottle warmer? Some baby food is good cold or room temperture, but Ewyn made a horrid face at me when I tried to serve him cold green beans "ala packet" today.

The "tubes" have marks on the sides of them. The lowest mark is approximately the equivalent of a Gerber First Foods Plastic pack of puree. The second mark is about the equivalent of a standard Gerber/Beechnut baby food Jar (not the tiny ones that meats come in) and you can get two Gerber Puree Packets (plastic lidded smaller packs) into one fresh squeezed pouch. You can also get an entire jar of baby food in a pouch with wiggle room.

I think I can. I think I can.
My kids wouldn't eat green beans or peas. Ardyn would gag and puke. Marek and Ewyn just gag and spit and refused to swallow them at all. They were much happier with orange veggies like Squash, Carrots, and Sweet Potatoes. This time around I learned that mixing green beans or peas with fruit (seriously) is a big yum-o for baby and that I can get them to eat green beans and peas NO PROBLEMO if I mix them. Green Beans with Pears is a big hit with Ewyn. It's really nice because if I was trying to feed green beans on the go I would have to have a way to mix them with pears... or mix them at home ahead of time. In this case I mixed them right in the station tubes. I used the lines on the tubes to pour equal amounts of pears and beans into each tube and then mixed with my little spatula and pressed the mixes right into the packets. This would work well with homemade purees as well. Voila, green beans and pears on the go.

Aha! Suction!!!!
Of course the directions say do NOT reuse pouches (yes I tried it. yes it worked. No it isn't all super sterile and clean.) but the pouches do write on very nicely with a fine sharpie. I would recommend labeling them BEFORE filling *duh*

I also have purchased some of these really cool spout toppers that are silicbooginhead pouches (which I already have four of because the big kids pack them for snacks and lunches in place of disposable applesauce pouches.) However, the threading on the tube doesn't match the threading on the booginhead SqueezEms... and they must thread in order to work. Unfortunate. The alternative would be to OPEN the top of the squeezems pouch by booginhead, and using the tube and plunger in a handheld manner, you may be able to fill the pouches. I am not sure if this would be more difficult than just spooning into the SqueezeEms like I have been doing... because that seems like more hands might be needed than God has graced me with. Booginhead pouches are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe.... which is quite the edge over the Infantino Line. Although I have yet to get the reusable Infantino pouches to compare. In the product photo it appears that the infantino reusables are more of a bottle than a pouch, and I wonder about the "squeezeability" of them as well as how easy it would be for a baby to self feed with one when all they have is a suck reflex and can't properly squeeze the food out with their hands.
Gross Mom! Who Leaked??
one and I hope that they fit these infantino packets. They make the opening all soft and easier to suck food through, which should be a big plus for little babes. And will help protect from chewers too I hope. The infantino packets might be a little tricky because I get the idea they aren't the industry standard as far as spout/threading/size goes. I was hoping to use the station with my reusable

That leads me to another angle. Mess. At first I was disappointed because it seemed that these pouches were going to cause as much mess or MORE than spoon feeding. Baby wanted to grab the pouch and squeeze it all over. Think Juice box... aha! How about using this little device to solve some of that "excitable squeezing" ?? I have one or two somewhere around here but haven't been able to figure out WHERE so that I can test that theory... but I bet it would work nicely! Or it could become a baby projectile object....

At first Ewyn had a hard time figuring out how to suck the puree out. I was discouraged because as a breastfeeder he has major suck power. But he needed mom to help squeeze and it was practically impossible to do because I couldn't SEE what I was squeezing into his mouth so it was constantly an overflow situation. And he would just let the excess drool out below the pouch where I couldn't see it. Annoying when you have a high chair tray under baby, catastrophic when you do not have a high chair (away from home.) By pouch four, I was feeling much better about it, as he had mastered sucking the food from the pouch with very little waste. Much improved. I think this might be the solution we've been searching for!

Stay tuned for updates on other items that I am waiting for! and while you're at it... WATCH the video!

1 comment:

ArtsyMoxie said...

Did the PouchPop Topper for Pouch Feeding end up fitting on the infantino pouches? Im looking into getting these but am unsure. Also how did you wash to reuse them? Could they be filled without the filling station? Thank you for your advice.

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