I’m taking a break this week from the “What’s Sumner Eating” posts to talk about the baby food subscriptions that make up most of his meals. I’ll be back to making more of his food when my fridge isn’t overflowing with tiny tubs!
While I would love to be the kind of mom who makes all of her kid’s food from scratch, the reality of it is that I just don’t have the time or energy to do it. I can commit to about one recipe a week for him, but he eats A LOT more than that. So, when it came time start feeding him purées more consistently because he was finally starting to show some interest in them, I started researching baby food subscription services.
deciding to do baby food delivery
The main qualities that I wanted in a subscription service were 100% organic offerings with interesting flavor combinations, plant-based so that I could show Sumner how tasty his food is and so that we could control when/if potential allergens were introduced, and purées that were freshly prepared and delivered cold. I’ll admit, I’m a bit grossed out by jarred baby food in general because it tends to taste strange.
On my wishlist was glass jar containers for the best reuse or recycling options and the ability to heat up his food in the jar, but none of the subscription services that I found had this option. You’re either looking at plastic jars or pouches. Since pouches aren’t readily reusable or recyclable, those services were scratched off the list.
At the end, I had narrowed down my list to two companies: Yumi and Little Spoon. There are plenty of reviews of both and, at the end of the day, the differences between them are minimal. I decided to go with Yumi to start for the simple reason that Little Spoon has a tiny spoon with each container. The unnecessary added waste irked me.
signing up for our service
When you get started with either service, they ask you for your child’s birthdate so that they can customize your orders. Due to Sumner’s developmental delays, I had to fudge this a bit. When we started with Yumi, he was 11 months old chronologically and 8 months old corrected for prematurity. However, his eating age, or the developmental age associated with his mobility and eating skills, was more like 5-6 months. His eating age is what I entered since I wanted them to send us purées that you would feed to a kid just starting out with solids and not more advanced foods that he wasn’t ready for yet.
For the first two months we did the “one meal per day” plan. Sumner was mostly playing with and wearing his food. Even so, we ended up with a very well-stocked freezer as I would put any leftovers, unopened jars in the freezer. Of course, this all changed on August 11th when he decided that eating solids was a good idea. All of a sudden, we started going through two jars per day. I updated the plan and carried on. By the end of his second week of solids, he was up to three jars of food per day. I didn’t change his plan and instead started supplementing with homemade baby food and jars from the freezer.
Sumner loved most of the flavors. His absolute favorite was the coconut cream pie which is a mixture of Japanese sweet potato, coconut milk, and some spices. He was also partial to the butternut squash curry bowl. Since we have to count his calories and focus on getting as many calories in as possible, I would look up the calorie content of each jar and add fats (avocado oil, Earth Balance, olive oil, etc) to increase the calories without changing the volume of the jar too much. I would also add baby cereal as needed to thicken up the purées as Sumner tends to do a bit better with thicker textures.
trouble in delivery paradise
Things were going fine until three weeks ago when there was a hiccup with the delivery service. I got a text at 10 AM saying that our order had been delivered. I looked all around and couldn’t find it. When I texted Yumi’s support line, they let me know that the text was in error and should have said that our order was on the way. We got it later on that night, like we typically do. At the time, I was impressed with how quickly customer service got back to me and chalked it up to a one-time blip. However, I was also considering giving Little Spoon a chance around this time and had already placed our first order with them so that I could do a side-by-side comparison and keep the company we liked the best.
The following week’s delivery was the final straw. Again there were problems with the carrier where I received both tracking number and order delivery texts at the same time. Even worse, we only received half of our order. If Yumi had been our only source of baby food, it would have been enough for almost three days. I texted the support line that evening and asked what happened and for the issue to be remedied. Over a week later, I still haven’t received an answer.
On the upside, I was already convinced that I liked what Little Spoon had to offer and that we were going to switch services. Strangely, it was the packaging that convinced me to switch since it was the packaging and that darned little spoon that had me go with Yumi in the first place.
making the switch
Both Yumi and Little Spoon, like all baby food brands it seems, package their food into four-ounce containers. Both are made of BPA- and BPS-free plastic that is recyclable. The big difference comes down to the shape and the ease of adding other things to the jar to bulk up the calories. Yumi’s jars are tulip shaped and almost always filled to the brim, making it almost impossible to add anything directly to the jar. Little Spoon’s containers are rectangular and there is space to add calories. This is huge because it means less clean up for us.
Additionally, Little Spoon’s containers are labeled with the calorie content and nutritional information. I cannot emphasize how nice this is. Since Yumi’s containers don’t have this information on them, we have to look it up on their website every time. It might seem like a small thing, but it’s just one more frustrating step in the process of getting his meals together. Plus, when you have a hangry toddler even 15 seconds feels like eternity.
The last major positive, from a less waste perspective, about Little Spoon is their biweekly delivery schedule. Since the food is delivered in with recycled material as the insulator with cold packs, I feel slightly less bad when it comes only twice a month. Yumi has similar packaging, but the weekly deliveries mean twice the amount of material to dispose of. And let’s be honest, there’s only so many cold packs that you need.
There you have it. We’re going to stick with Little Spoon for the foreseeable future. I even increased our plan to three meals per day because Sumner has been eating a LOT more lately. I’ll just have to get over the little spoons that come with each tub. At least they’re somewhat cute and will make good ice cream spoons for his next birthday party — assuming COVID doesn’t ruin that.