Starting your baby on solids is a time of mixed emotions. On one hand, you’re excited to start this journey of new flavours and textures, and on the other, it confirms how fast time is flying. Your once liquid-fed cherub is well on their way to purees, mash, lumps and chunks.
Along with this new food freedom comes a lot of mess and a lot of stress (at times) for parents. There’s an overwhelming number of options and styles and brands that come with all feeding products. To save you time, money and take the guesswork out of your purchases, I’ve put together some of the most useful and practical products for baby feeding.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a stylish or trendy mom. I’m not willing to pay an exorbitant price on a fancy chair my baby is absolutely going to stain in 3.6 seconds. I don’t need gadgets and gizmos aplenty. And I definitely don’t need any more thingamabobs (I’ve probably got twenty). I’ll leave those desires to Ariel. All I’m asking for are my mealtime products to work well and be easily cleaned – bonus points if I can toss it in the dishwasher, I despise washing by hand! You know, products that lighten my load. This list is sure to make any parent’s life a little easier.
If you’re looking for incredibly useful baby feeding products, then look no further!
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Baby Feeding Products
Easy to Clean Highchair
A highchair is certainly a fundamental product for baby feeding. There are many styles out there: adjustable, convertible, portable, removable, adorable… but guess what I prefer? FUNCTIONAL! The more padding, straps, tray parts, nooks and crannies just mean more places for tiny food bits to hide which is more difficult for me to clean after every. single. meal.
When I had my daughter, all I wanted was something that was easily cleaned (and not hugely bulky). We ended up getting the Ikea Antilop high chair. While it’s not the most beautiful, and definitely not fancy, it is extremely easy to clean!
I use these with my daughters and I used them in my daycare. They are fantastically affordable and well worth putting up with the super simple design. I’m actually a big fan of the simple design since it allows them to stack easily to save space.
Bonus points for this one as well since the tray can be put in the dishwasher if desired! It is a little too large for daily dishwashing but a great option to properly sanitize as needed.
Best Highchair for Small Spaces
However, if you need something that’s going to save space or be easily transportable, the guzzie+Guss Perch works well. My coworkers actually gifted this to us when I was due with my first and while we don’t use it daily, it is excellent to have when you need a highchair on the go. It folds down fairly small and is pretty easy to set up quickly once you get the hang of it.
I have seen some reviews say that it doesn’t work with all table types so definitely check what kind of table lip you have before purchasing. Another thing to just keep in mind is that you can’t actually turn the baby to face you with this style since it’s attached to the table. If you want to spoon-feed your baby it may be a bit uncomfortable for everyday use.
Splat Mat for Under Highchair
A splat mat is essential to save your floors. Our apartment comes with carpet in the dining room (but why?!) so having something below the highchair is mandatory. Even with a hard-surfaced floor, it’s nice to have a protective cover to catch the majority of the baby’s mess.
Food often bounces when dropped (or tossed!) so I prefer a larger splat mat to cover more ground. You can make the most out of your splat mat and use it for floor art projects or sensory bin stations as well.
These are one of my favourite feeding tools for baby. This is a silicone feeder. Many parents have or have heard of the mesh kind but these silicone ones are where it’s at! Seriously, I’m obsessed. As are my babies.
You pop whatever food you want into the silicone section. Baby chews away and gets only little pulp-sized bits out.
I’ve found the mesh one to be a total nightmare to clean and I never really felt like I got it 100% acceptable to chew on again. These silicone ones are a dream! You can really easily handwash it or pop it in the dishwasher.
But that’s not all! Ok, now I’m starting to sound like an infomercial – I promise it’s not! These things make fantastic teethers too! You can either put frozen fruit or whatever you choose in the top for baby to gnaw on. Or sometimes I would just put it empty into the freezer. The really chilled silicone seemed to soothe my baby’s sore gums.
I’ve found these to be extremely durable (I’ve never had a single issue) and so useful!
Everyone knows babies need bibs but there are way too many options.
For babies learning to eat solids, I’ve found this style with the little catcher pocket to be an excellent way to go. Sure, many flat bibs are great for saving the shirt from stains but what about all of the food that rolls down straight into the lap?! That’s where the catch pocket comes in handy. I’m not saying this type of bib will magically tame a wild baby, but hopefully it’ll save a few pairs of pants.
Oh ya, did I mention they are very convenient to clean? I’m pretty excited about anything that reduces my laundry! No need for a washer with this one. A quick washcloth or rinse will do the trick.
Another option (especially for the wild ones) are these sleeved bib shirts. They are great to protect more area of the clothes. I’ve found the sizes available actually work for a fairly large range so should fit most babies and toddlers. The only downside? You do have to launder these ones.
However, on the plus side they do work well as art smocks or even toddler aprons when they’re ready to “help out” in the kitchen. I love being able to get more uses from just one product.
Silicone Suction Bowl
Why do so many suction bowls and plates not actually work? These Munchkin bowls are by far the best ones I’ve found that actually do as they claim – “stay put”! They create a good suction on most trays and tables and won’t “unsuction” with your little one pushing or pulling at the bowl.
They are very affordable and, at the risk of sounding like a broken neat-freak record, easily cleaned! You guessed it, we wash them in the dishwasher.
I like the different sizes and find the portions work quite well for my baby and 3-year-old whether they need a snack or meal.
You’ll notice I haven’t included any plates in this section and that’s because I haven’t actually found any that I’d truly recommend wholeheartedly. Most plates advertised as suctioning don’t do the trick (for us at least!). And while I enjoy them as regular silicone divided plates, they don’t warrant being included in the list of incredibly useful products!
Best Blender for Baby Food
I love making 99% of my baby’s food and when they’re little, it makes my life so much easier having purees and fruit sauces on hand. For this, I’d recommend a blender for your kitchen. They make it so quick to blend delicious purees, apple sauce, and smoothies (and not just for the kids!).
There are lots of baby food specific blenders on the market but, in my opinion, they’re not necessary at all. The best blender for baby food is actually just a regular one. We’ve used the Magic Bullet before and it’s done the trick just fine. I find the portions to be a little small on the baby-specific models since I usually prefer making larger quantities to freeze for a later date.
Magic Bullet is quite reasonably priced. Nonetheless, after our last one pureed its final puree, we ended up getting this Ninja blender set since we really liked the large blender option, not just smoothie-sized cups. It’s been great to have the option of making even bigger batches of everything we want for our baby and for us.
Baby Food Containers
The last product is the cheapest one on the list but one I couldn’t live without. These containers come in handy for snacks on the go, baby’s leftovers, or for portioning out the purees I just mentioned to go into the freezer. The portion size is ideal for only having to thaw what you need for a day or two rather than having it go bad.
We toss these in the dishwasher to be washed and then just replace as needed since they are so inexpensive.
These are all the baby feeding products that have really made my days easier.