I Tried Nourish Baby's Baby Food Delivery Service, Here's What Happened

Abby Hocking / Food & Wine
The new baby food company aims to make your kid an adventurous eater.

Feeding babies is tough. It's not just the mess and trying to get them to eat something (anything)—it's the daunting amount of time and energy it takes to painstakingly read ingredient labels, research companies’ claims about organic food and trying to find food purees that will provide the nutrition you're hoping for.

If you actually want to make your own baby food, that's a whole other can of worms. Finding foods babies will actually want to eat, buying organic, ensuring you have fresh food in your fridge, preparing, blending, making enough to be able to freeze…it's exhausting. But we do it. We do it because we want our babies to have the very best.

A new food subscription service based in New York wants to do all that work for you—and even kick things up a notch and feed your baby foods like wild salmon, bone broth, chia, ghee, and grass-fed dairy. Nourish Baby, a subscription baby food service, strives to get your baby eating a healthy, well-rounded diet as well as helping cultivate more adventurous palates from a very young age.

Stacked and sorted. #babybites #nourishbaby #feedingthefoundation #babyfood

A post shared by NOURISH BABY (@nourishbaby_) on Jun 1, 2017 at 7:06am PDT

The idea to launch a baby food delivery company had been in the back of Marissa Lippert’s mind for 15 years. She "was inspired by all of the local farms on Martha’s Vineyard and began discussing early age eating habits and the possibility of Nourish Baby." The founder of Nourish Kitchen +Table, which serves organic, locally sourced nutrition-dense food to busy New Yorkers, wanted make beautiful meals that incorporate flavors, textures found in cuisines from around the world while ensuring that the nutritional balance was provided for babies.

Most organic baby food on the market features pretty much the same combination: a blend of squash, other vegetable and a fruit, maybe a little lemon juice as a natural preservative. Unless you're making your own baby food there are usually no spices, herbs or fats involved. Traditionally, common allergenics likes nuts, eggs and fish are only graduatlly introduced (waiting 3-5 days in between to watch for reactions), but recent research has suggested that early introductions can actually prevent allergies and help broaden children’s tastes. Spices, herbs and healthy fats are being recommended since flavors like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and fats like ghee, coconut oil and olive oil are safe and easy to digest.

Thanks, Bug, for making me a mamma

A post shared by Farrah Shaikh McLaren (@farrahshaikh) on May 14, 2017 at 9:13am PDT

Perusing the food menu from Nourish Baby, descriptions read like five star restaurant meals. Options include Indian spiced turkey with turmeric, coriander and curry, served with roasted broccoli florets and a prune aioli or Sumac-Za’atar spiced roast chicken served with an asparagus, leek and potato puree with a side of ghee-roasted carrots.

The subscription service supports eating development in stages: Stage 1 (6-9 months), Stage 2 (9-12 months) and Stage 3 (12-24 months). I had the chance to try out the stage 2 baby food with my 9-month-old. At this stage the developmental needs of infants require healthy fats, protein, good cholesterol and iron since breast milk does not provide adequate amounts for a growing baby.

For Stage 2, the service provides 20-22 meals and snacks for the seven-day week. Each meal individually is packed in containers or jars with guidelines of how to reheat, if needed, and serve. Also included is an explainer of the benefits of the main ingredients. For instance the buckwheat used in the gluten-free waffles served with cinnamon spiced ghee with a roasted apple puree served with apricot heritage pork sausage has 100% more calcium then other grains. Or how the salmon roe that tops the free-range egg mash with dill avocado aioli is a nutrient-dense source of vitamin A, K and D, zinc and healthy fat. And picking up little balls of salmon roe helps babies fine tune their pincer grasp.

#represent @foodandwine [thanks for the @seequinlan ]

A post shared by Farrah Shaikh McLaren (@farrahshaikh) on May 12, 2017 at 6:27am PDT

Of course, I sampled everything. A concern immediately arose that there was definitely more salt and oil in many of the dishes than I had been feeding my kid. But each dish appealed to my child’s discerning taste buds. She devoured each dish and was giggling as she pushed salmon roe around her high chair tray.

All of this doesn’t come cheap: A month of stage 2 meals (including 20-22 meals per week, as well as snacks) goes for $700. The service is only available in New York City, and it requires in-store pickup at one of three locations, which, for a working mom, may seem nearly impossible. But Lippert insists that this helps build a sense of community that many moms may feel lacking when they first become a parent. Nourish also offers food for healing mothers: Gluten-free lactation cookies made with fenugreek that are actually delicious, as well as restorative bone broth.

The company also makes snacks, like a nutrient dense version of Cheerios called the Meltdown Mix and rice puffs made with wild rice and turmeric.

Nourish has a lot to offer, but I appreciated it most for what it removed, or at least reduced: stress. For a new mom, that’s worth a lot.

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