If you are a first-time parent, you may wonder what’s the best way to travel with your child once you have introduced solid foods. To answer that question, you must consider what stage they are in. Are they just starting with cereal, eating fruits and veggies, or eating most things? These all factor into what the best baby food storage container should be.
Boxed cereals will need to be measured and prepared. Depending on the duration of your trip, you may require a food storage container with compartments so that you can place the measured contents within them. Compartmentalized containers are a wiser and quicker solution in this scenario because you don’t have to pack extras with you.
Even if your baby is eating many foods, containers allow parents to measure out exactly how much their child should have over several food groups to ensure they are receiving a balanced meal. Also, if there are leftovers, you will want a container to keep it fresh until the next meal to eliminate waste.
You could use old Tupperware containers, but you may find that they take up too much space, especially if you are traveling. Also, some containers are extremely porous and can easily become stained with food. Even when you wash them, some food can still linger, which can be problematic for several reasons.
One, the old food can leach through to the new food. The tastes will mix, causing a bit of a phantom or residual taste to the food that your baby may not like. They may refuse to eat the food because the taste is off.
When introducing food to your baby, you should slowly introduce them to different things to test for food allergies. It also gets them used to eating certain foods. If the food you put in a container mixes with the previous food, it may be difficult to properly ascertain whether a reaction came from what was in the current container before, what you just put into it, or a combination.
For the most part, even regular Tupperware tends to be too big to hold baby- or toddler-sized portions. They simply take up too much space in a bag – and space is always at a premium.
Fortunately, there are many solutions out there, ranging from reusable bags to containers to pouches. These ideas work for any length of trip and will help keep your food fresh.
What Options Are Available?
Which food container you choose is dependent on several factors. The first one is what stage your baby is currently in. If you are still on formula or cereal, there are options for travel containers that will hold vast amounts of food or formula. They contain a scoop and scraper for perfect leveling each time.
Many containers hold up to four ounces. They are ideal if you are separating what you are feeding your child. For older children, though, the largest size is eight ounces, so you can use the set comfortably until they reach the toddler stage.
The next consideration is whether you want freezer containers, storage containers, or pouches. For traveling and depending on the child’s age, pouches offer a convenient way for children to feed themselves. Parents can feed younger children without needing a bowl or utensil, saving a great deal of room when traveling.
Most of the containers are stackable, meaning that they are easy to transport for road trips or air travel. The lids are airtight and leakproof, so they travel well.
The last consideration is material. Glass tends to top the list because it is more environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and it will not allow food to leach. They clean up and sanitize better. However, when traveling, they can chip, crack, or break. They are also more expensive and heavier to transport.
Silicone (specifically BPA, food-grade, etc.) ranks second on the list. They are more lightweight, will not leach food, and are non-toxic. Some may stain, but overall, they are a good alternative to glass, and they hold up well.
Plastic is the last choice. Plastic is disposable. But if you want to save money, it is not the best choice. Some will stain, there is always the possibility of food or chemicals leaching, and they aren’t always the most durable. However, if you want it for single, disposable use while traveling, they may provide a good alternative.
Best Baby Food Storage Containers
With baby food storage containers, there are many things to consider. Material ranks high on the list. Baby food storage containers are available in glass, plastic, and silicone. Each one of these options comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
Best Overall Freezer Storage Container: Weesprout Silicone Baby Freezer Tray
The Weesprout baby freezer tray allows you to hold ten sectioned areas that contain about 1.5 to 3 ounces of food each. It has plastic lids, making them extremely easy for stacking, and uses food-grade silicone.
- Silicone is non-stick
- Boil-proof and dishwasher-safe
- Reinforced bottom prevents the cube tray from becoming crushed when stacked
- No food leaching
- Can label tray using dry erase marker
- May not be ideal for toddlers
- May be some initial smell that will wear off
Best Glass Food Storage: Babymoov Glass Food Storage Container
This set comes with four – and eight-ounce containers, making it perfect to use as your baby grows, if they have a bigger appetite, or as they get older and need more than an ounce or two.
- Screw on lids
- Airtight silicone seal
- Made of an environmentally friendly glass
- Safe for microwave, freezer, and dishwasher
- Rubber liner is small and difficult to see, so it may get lost in the dishwasher
- Measurement lines difficult to read
Best Plastic Baby Food Container: Anlemin Leak Proof Baby Food Storage Jars
This five-ounce food container comes with lids. Made with a Triton grade material, this container is non-toxic, odorless, BPA-free, and recyclable. They are completely durable as they will not crack, shatter, or splinter if dropped or moved about.
- Leak-proof and unbreakable
- Freezer friendly and reusable
- Dishwasher-safe – they will retain their shape and resist warping
- Lids may not fully close
Best for Road Trips: OXO Tot Baby Blocks
This set comes with six sections of containers/tray which holds six ounces each. It is perfect for storing, portioning, or freezing batches of homemade food. The microwave container is ideal for heating food on the go, and the watertight, airtight, leakproof seal will prevent the contents from spilling.
- Markings allow for precise portion control
- Tray is stackable for placing in small containers, fridges, or freezers
- Clear container shows what is inside
- Free of BPA and PVC
- Safe to wash on the top rack of the dishwasher
- Some issues stacking
- Must release the suction of the lid before serving or food may spill
Tied for Best for Road Trips: Infantino Squeeze Station
This device holds homemade food purees. It lets you place food in batched pouch snacks that you can easily store and serve while mobile. The base is non-skid rubber with three filling tubes. It comes with ten pouches with the option of purchasing more.
- Press down to fill
- Cap storage pouches for compact travel
- Eliminates the need to travel with an extra bowl
- Pouches can be reused
- Tubes may melt in the dishwasher
- Cannot be microwaved
Best For Long Distance Travel: FineDine Superior Glass Containers
These containers are made of borosilicate glass, which is environmentally friendly and won’t leach chemicals into your baby’s food. They can easily be transferred from cold storage to the oven without containers becoming warped, absorbing odors, or becoming discolored. It also easily tolerates extreme changes in temperature.
- Lids are leakproof (Press and hold while closing to prevent leaking. It may be difficult to close initially as they need to be broken in.)
- Comfortable grip and easy to hold
- Stackable, making them perfect for diaper bags or freezer bags
- Dishwasher – and microwave-safe
- Difficult to close
Best Budget: Simple Modern Store Reusable Food Pouches
These pouches are easy to store. They are safe to use in the freezer, BPA-, PVC-, phthalate-, and lead-free. The opening contains a double zipper, making it easy to fill and leakproof. When done, parents can thoroughly rinse it with warm water by using the bottom zipper.
- Great for a wide age range
- 5.1-ounce food storage
- May be difficult to clean in the dishwasher
Best for Baby Formula: Laneyli Formula Dispenser
This dispenser is BPA-, taste-, and odor-free. It contains a formula dispenser and a scoop. The food containers stack easily into each other to save space and to help with organization. The seal is leakproof, ensuring that air and water do not enter the container while traveling and the formula is fresh.
- Contains a spoon scraper
- Easy to clean
- Not as big as a regular formula container
- Scoop may not be the exact size as some formula scoops
How to Best Freeze Baby Food if You Are Traveling
If you are making your own baby food in a puree, freezing the meals allows you to create several weeks’ worth of food that you can defrost in seconds.
- After making the food, allow it to cool enough so that it is warm, not hot.
- Spoon the mixture into the baby food storage container.
- Cover the container with a lid (preferred) or plastic wrap and put it in your freezer.
- Allow it to completely freeze before removing the puree. Put the frozen cubes in a plastic zip-lock or stasher bag. If you are freezing them in the jar, then the food can remain in the jars until use.
- Always be sure to label your jar/bag with the name of the food and the date made.
Thawing Baby Food
While it may seem obvious when it comes to thawing any type of food, the options available are worth mentioning. While you are in-between destinations, methods available to you may vary, so it doesn’t hurt to be well-acquainted with various forms of safely thawing baby food.
Remove frozen cubes from the travel storage container and transfer them to a glass container. Microwave them in 20-second increments, stirring after each interval to prevent burns. The food is ready to serve when it is warm to the touch.
Be sure that you pack two clean spoons. One will be for you, the other for your baby. Be sure to test the food for warmth and taste before serving.
Thawing from Frozen in Fridge
You can use this method if you are staying overnight in a hotel room. It is a wonderful alternative to microwaving food before consumption.
Assuming the cubes are still frozen (depending on the length of the trip), you can place the food in glass containers with lids that are airtight. Leave them in the fridge for 12-16 hours. Avoid placing the food in the container and letting it thaw on a counter at room temperature.
Doing so will allow bacteria to multiply, which won’t be good for the baby’s digestive system. The food, in this instance, will be cold but is thawed enough to eat. If the baby likes their food warm, it can be warmed either on a stovetop or in a microwave. Putting the food in the fridge until it’s time to serve keeps it fresh.
Warming on the Stovetop
Find a small saucepan and put the frozen cubes in the pan. Thaw the cubes on medium-low heat, occasionally stirring until they are warm. Be sure to test them before serving to make sure they aren’t too hot.
Tips on Storing Baby Food
- Avoid overfilling containers. Allow a bit of room at the top, as the food is likely to expand a bit while freezing.
- Always label the food. Be sure to label what is in the container and the date you prepared it. You never want to accidentally give your baby expired food. You also want to know what your baby is eating in case there are any reactions.
- Freeze some, keep some. Place several containers in your fridge to feed the baby throughout your stay. If available, you can place some in a freezer to keep it fresher. When packing for longer excursions, pack a little extra food so that, if there are any delays, you have the food covered and can relax.
- If you are going on a long trip, use many storage containers. This allows you to have a baby food stash to last for weeks. You can even have dedicated lids that resemble different food groups or cereals to make them distinctive.
Another tip is to not start your baby on solid food or introduce a new food when traveling, especially over long distances. You do not want your child to have an allergic reaction while you are in a car or far from home.
Furthermore, you want the first feed to be a relaxing, pleasant experience. It should be in a familiar place. Feeding any child in a car or while in motion can be challenging. If you are in a car, you are being jostled to and fro. Things can get messy. Airplanes can run into turbulence, and sometimes people may not be as considerate as you would like. Allow enough time to stop for your first meal on the go to let both you and your baby get the hang of the new routine.
These storage containers are a great way to feed your baby on the road. They are easily stackable, and there are options to fit any lifestyle.