Introducing your little one to food is a fun and exciting journey. However it can also mean a lot of mess. As your baby becomes more interested in meals, the messier it’ll get, so brace yourself.
If you like a clean and tidy house (and baby), this stage can be stressful, but try to focus on the developmental milestones your baby is achieving by making such a mess.
Luckily, there is also some gear that can make it a much less messy and daunting process.
We’ve rounded up 5 of our favourite pieces of equipment! While none of these products are 100% necessary, many families can find mealtimes challenging and stressful. We are recommending these pieces of equipment as potential tools to help ease the stress and ensure you and your little one are comfortable and can attack mealtimes with confidence!
1. Comfortable highchair
From the moment you start introducing solids to your baby, their high chair plays an important role in how well your child will eat and how much they enjoy mealtimes.
It’s important to make sure your bub is comfortable and secure in their highchair. Their feet should ideally be resting on a firm surface and their knees should be bent at a 90° angle. If their knees can’t bend at 90° then you need to move them forward in the highchair and add support behind their back. This helps to make sure that baby is focusing more on eating and less on keeping their bodies upright and balanced (and prevents a very wiggly baby). If your highchair doesn’t have a footrest, you can purchase an adjustable foot rest to attach to it or build a foot plate with heavy books.
It’s important that the high chair you chose for your baby allows them to have a good posture i.e. allows them to sit upright, not in a reclining position.
- Childhome Evolu 2 High Chair
- Bloom Fresco High Chair
- Ikea Antilop High Chair (you will need to add a footrest)
- Stoke Tripp Trapp Chair
Feeding babies is messy and it is normal to cringe at the thought of your baby smearing food into their hair and dropping it all over the floor.
It’s important to remember that the more mess your little one makes with food, the more confident they are at mealtimes. When your baby plays with food, they are learning so much about it – the feel of it, the smell, the look of it and even the taste. The touch component is especially important for babies and their developing sensory systems to be able to manage a variety of textures in the future.
While bibs are great, have you ever tried a smock? Smocks are essentially like a raincoat for food and are the best way to catch all the mess and prevent endless outfit changes! They will save you so much washing and cleaning and can make mealtimes a whole lot more relaxing.
- Little Chomps Smocks – they cover sleeves and laps while still giving them the freedom to move, stretch and reach without being restricted.
3. Age Appropriate Self-Feeding Cutlery
It’s normal for your child to want to feed themselves and it’s great to encourage this, although it’s often messy and can sometimes be frustrating. Try and be patient, your child will get there eventually.
Most babies won’t be able to use a spoon until they’re around 18 months old. But it’s a good idea to let your child hold a spoon from a much earlier age. Usually babies will let you know when they want to start, by constantly reaching for the spoon. Make sure you use a plastic or silicone spoon (not metal at the start) when your baby first starts feeding. It’s important for them to be able to poke it all around their mouth and get use to the sensation.
- Numnum pre-spoon. This is a soft silicone style spoon designed to grab onto puree so your baby can self feed from the very start.
- Doddl Spoon and Fork cutlery set. It is appropriate from the age of 12 months and it helps children get the idea of self-feeding without getting too frustrated because it allows them to scoop the spoon and get it into their mouth without turning it upside down and the food falling off.
4. Floor mats
From accidental tumbles caused by flailing limbs to toddler tantrums ending with food being flung to the floor, chaos and spills are unavoidable during mealtimes. Insert a splat mat under the highchair and you really will save yourself some time and effort (and money spent on stain removers).
These mats essentially sit under your little ones highchair and catch anything that falls on the floor, so you don’t have to sit there worrying about it too much. You can wipe it clean at the end or hose it down.
- Bumkins Feeding Splat Mats. They come in a range of different colours and patterns and better still, they’re not just limited to use at mealtimes, you can also use them to save your floors when doing arts and crafts with the kids!
5. Suction Plates, Bowls & Placemats
There are a variety of plates and bowls that are suitable to use for your baby. When it comes to what we recommend, a variety is best. While the suction bowls and plates can be a great option and certainly prevent a lot of extra mess and make self feeding easier, we don’t necessarily recommend using these 100% of the time.
If you do start with a suction plate, do it just until that easily distracted phase is over. Around 12 months (but try not to wait too long after that) transition to an actual plate like what you would use yourself.
- GIVEAWAYS –> Make sure you’re following us on Instagram @thebitingtruthkids as we will be running several giveaways featuring a number of the products mentioned in this article!
- Looking for additional support when it comes to kids nutrition, check out our eBooks here.