Feeding Baby: 14 Things That Make It A Whole Lot Easier

April 14, 2014

This post is sponsored by Target.

Our baby has been Eating Real Food for over a year now, and looking back I can condense dozens of trials and errors into a list of 14 products that have made feeding Mazen easier. From the first purees to the messy finger foods, may these help you turn your baby into a mean, green, real-food-eating machine!

Eating

1. A good highchair. It’s an obvious start, but you really do need something for baby to sit on and for containing the inevitable mess he’ll make! I’ve used a handful of different high chairs while traveling and at friends’ houses and have learned that the things most important to me are a medium-sized flat tray (too many nooks and crannies just gets messier and medium so it fits in our sink!), a really easy to wipe seat (again, nooks and crannies are bad!), an easy-to-remove tray (some of them are tricky to figure out for grandparents and visitors!) and a stylish look (not the most important but nice to consider.) This is our OXO Tot highchair and we love it!

Fav bib

2. A mix of good spoons with both shallow and deep bowls. When we started feeding Mazen, he couldn’t get his lip into a deep spoon bowl, so these OXO Tot Spoons were our favorite. They are super soft and durable and the shape was great for parent feeding. Now that Mazen can feed himself, we love these Munchkin spoons – because the bowl is so deep, the food stays on his spoon better as it heads toward his mouth. A plus is that they are super cheap.

Foodblog-3780_thumb1

When Mazen first started to eat purees, I made most of them myself. This was not nearly as daunting as it seemed at first thanks to a few great pieces of equipment.

3. Ice cube trays. The OXO Tot Baby Food Freezer Tray is great because it comes with a lid (so there’s no need for plastic wrap) and the shape of the cubes makes the frozen food cubes really easy to pop out.

Ice cube

But of course, a cheap ice cube tray works too – especially when you want more food per cube. These are harder to get out, but after a little thawing I could dump them all into a zip lock bag for storage.

Regular ice cube

4. Freezer storage. Sometimes I wanted to put more food into one container for a bigger meal so I found these OXO Tot Baby Blocks Freezer Storage to be great. They even had their own little tray to keep them organized in the freezer.

Tupperware

5. Reusable pouches. These were also great for anything pureed, and we still use them for yogurt and applesauce some of the time (like when we’re on the go). These saved us a lot of money because we didn’t need to buy a ton of the pre-filled pouches, and of course they’re better for the environment too.

Pouch

6. A baby cookbook. When making purees, I knew how to steam and blend, but a good baby cookbook will give you lots of inspiring ideas and take the guesswork out of wondering exactly how long to cook the veggies or how much water or milk you needed to add to puree. The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet was my favorite reference – it was simple with lots of information.

Books

7. A stick blender, food processor, or blender. I find all of them to be super helpful in blending up purees and smoothies. Mazen can’t really chew greens yet, so green smoothies have been a nice way for him to get more of them. And our stick blender was great for pureeing in the same container I cooked the food in. I found my regular kitchen appliances to be easy enough, I didn’t consider a specialized baby blender or steamer.

 Blender2Foodblog-5609Smoothie

8. Premade squeeze pouches. Of course I couldn’t make Mazen’s food 100% of the time, so I do always have a few squeeze pouches in stock. Our favorites are vegetable-heavy and low in sugar. For bigger “meals,” I look for ones with protein from beans or meat. These two are our favorites: Carrots + Broccoli Pouch and Ella’s Kitchen Four Bean Feast. Mazen loves the carrots + broccoli, but I gotta say, it doesn’t smell delicious to me!

Pouchescommercial

9. The perfect bib. We love the soft plastic bibs with the deep bowl for catching food. {Like these} We also put a Command hook on the back of Mazen’s high chair, where we store the bib between uses. This way we don’t have wet bibs hanging all over the kitchen and it’s tucked out of sight : ).

Bibhook

10. Baby dishes. Once Mazen started to want his own spoon and fork, we had to get a few of his own bowls. I’m such a huge fan of the OXO Tot line that I got him this set. The non-skid bottoms and curved lips are great.

Maze-112205

11. I have written about sippy cups before, but our favorite after a year of using them all are the OXO Tot ones with straws. I will say that this cup’s straw is open, so it’s not ideal for a first cup that will end up sideways all the time, but as M has gotten older it’s our favorite all-around cup mostly because it’s really easy to clean and does well with water, milk and smoothies. Straws that you have to bite to suck aren’t as good for drinks other than water because the gunk gets caught in the straw. This straw is easy to get in and out for washing and washes out easily. And the cup is leak-proof when you close the lid.

OXOTot cup

12. Snack containers. Another must-have is the Munchkin Snack Catcher. What did moms do without these? We still fill them with cereal or cheddar bunnies if I need a quick on-the-go snack. It works great with fresh fruit like blueberries too (although that’s messier if they fall out…which they do).

Snack traps

13. Disposable placemats. Ones like this Neat Solutions Table Topper were great when we would eat out in restaurants before Mazen was old enough to not send a plate flying. They stick to the table and your little can make as much mess as he or she wants. Also, there’s no need to worry about how clean the table is! And after the meal you just ball it up and toss it. M is old enough now to be fine with a real plate, but these were lifesavers in the earlier months.

Placemats

14. And finally – Lunch Skins! These reusable pouches are wonderful for sending snacks to our gym’s Kids Zone. I fill them with everything from fruit to pretzels, a roll or whole apple. I will say that the gooier the food, the harder they are to clean, but they are dishwasher safe so it’s not a huge deal. They come in dozens of super cute patterns!

Lunchskins

And there you have it – 14 of our finest feeding props! Was there something you used and loved that I have yet to discover?

The above links are not affiliate links. Love me some Target though!

This post is sponsored by Target. The adventure begins here: Discover all Target has to offer for your baby registry and throughout your motherhood journey.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeri April 14, 2014 at 8:19 am

I love reading these posts even though I don’t have young children anymore. However I like these ideas for these different items. Where were they when my kids were babies/toddlers? Oh how the times have changed. But now I have ideas for when my babies have babies. (yes that is the name of a pin board)

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2 Farah @ Fabulously Farah April 14, 2014 at 8:59 am

I love these types of posts. When I have kids (which will be soon!), I am going to use this blog as my #1 reference. I love how thorough you are when you describe stuff on here, it’s so helpful! Thank you!

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3 Kath April 14, 2014 at 9:20 am

Thanks!

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4 Ali April 14, 2014 at 11:20 am

We love the OXO line too and Aiden just learned how to use the Munchkin snack catcher last week. I gave it to him in the stroller and when I checked on him a few minutes later, there were cheerios everywhere! He hasn’t mastered how to grab just a couple yet.

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5 Stephanie Stagner April 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm

When my kids were a bit older than your little guy, they did not tolerate having any food touching. Plates with segmented sections are a must have! That way the meat won’t touch the fruit, and none of it touches the veggies :-)

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6 Kathy W. April 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

did you know they made Command clips? I first saw them in a BH&G (I think) broom/cleaning closet feature, on the door of the closet. They used them to clip rubber gloves upside down on the door–such a good idea! found them on Amazon.

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7 Lisa @bitesforbabies April 15, 2014 at 7:17 am

Great tips for first-time moms! I also think it depends on the child…my son scarfed everything down and never wasted any time at meals. My daughter does the same BUT if she doesn’t like something she whips it across the room..ugh! SO frustrating!!
And of course, if you want to make everything homemade a cookbook would be ideal…I hope I can share this on your Blog but I recently published my first cookbook on my Blog!! I would love for you to take a look at it and let me know what you think…you can download a sample here: https://www.bitesforbabies.com/baby-bites-baby-food-cookbook/.
It’s full of adult-inspired recipes that are made baby-friendly!!
Thanks ;-)

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8 Kath April 15, 2014 at 7:24 am

Congrats! thanks for sharing!

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9 Lisa @bitesforbabies April 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Thanks!

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10 Kate @ Indulgent Wellness April 16, 2014 at 4:57 am

If I had time I’d work with someone to invent a snack trap whose lid twists on instead of popping on like the Munchkin one. We love ours too, but clever little Hailey used her bottom teeth to pry the lid off on more than one occasion!

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11 Kath April 16, 2014 at 7:04 am

Smart idea!

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12 Angela April 17, 2014 at 10:28 am

That already exists..the munchie mug. It’s bigger than the snack traps but so much nicer!

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13 Emily April 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

I was just wondering if you’ve ever unscrewed the tray to your highchair to check the inside? I’ve had this chair about as long as you (my little man is just a few weeks behind Mazen), and I kept noticing water inside after washing it. Curiosity finally got the best of me a few days ago and I took all the screws out to take it apart… it was one of those instances where I was glad I did it, but almost wished I hadn’t. Liquid had definitely been getting in and it was pretty nasty inside. Just a tip!

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14 Kath April 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Oh gosh…no I haven’t but maybe I should!

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15 Wren April 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm

I have this chair too, and I’m going to take your advice. I have noticed that the tray seems to capture water as you say — sounds like a dirty job! I’m afraid of what I’ll find but it has got to be done.

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16 Kath April 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm

I will say that when I wash it I’m careful to keep it horizontal and just wash the top and edges. I’ll spot check the bottom, but that seems to keep any water out

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17 Fancy April 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Command strip on the back of the highchair is pure GENIUS. Xo

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18 Sally April 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Thanks so much. These are exactly what I’ve been looking for.

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19 Sammy April 16, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Great post! The best thing we have now for feeding our 22 month old is a six-compartment lunchbox. It’s actually just a fishing tackle box from the local hardware (but almost every toddler in our suburb has one!). I fill it every morning and he snacks on it through the day – saves me constantly making snacks and throwing out left overs. Plus it caters for the fact that he really eats most of his lunch when we are out and about between 9.30-11.30 (in the car, playground, at play centre etc) – and then again between 2 – 4 after his nap. Makes life so simple!

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20 Snotty Noses April 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm

As a paediatrician I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see young children eating vegetables and healthy food. I think it’s so important to start the way you intend to carry on. This is a really helpful post for parents just embarking on the adventure that is food!

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21 Melissa @ HerGreenLife April 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm

My son has always sat at the table (no high chair), first in a chair that clipped onto the table, and then in a booster seat pushed up to the table, and one of the dilemmas, with no tray (like you have with a high chair) was how to keep his plate or bowl on the table.

I really liked the Tommee Tippee Easy-Mat for this. I bought one with the included plates, but the suction worked so well, I could use it with anything, and I quickly transitioned to putting his food on a small salad plate. I like that he’s eating on “real” dishes, and not plastic. The mat is also great for eating out — I just roll it up, slip it in my bag, and then ask for a small plate at the restaurant.

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22 Sara V April 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Such a great post!! Would you mind sharing some of your baby smoothie recipes and favorite combinations? I noticed the ingredients in the pic but maybe some measurements for starting. I haven’t ventured into making green smoothies yet but would love to try and even better if I can get some green in one 1 year old!

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23 Kath April 24, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I usually do 1 cup of milk, 1 banana, 1 big handful of greens, and a dollop of sunbutter. This makes two small smoothies.

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24 Brooke Gregg June 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm

I love everything about this post!

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25 Kristen August 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm

THANK YOU for this post! My little guy is now feeding himself finger foods, which is great, but it creates a huge mess, which is not so great. Luckily we have a couple of dogs that help with the clean up :) But I’ve been pretty hesitant to go out to eat with him because most restaurants don’t have furry, mobile vacuum cleaners. That baby bjorn bib could be a life saver!

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