9 Feeding Must-Haves for Babies Starting on Solids
Introducing solids to babies is an exciting, but messy time. Generally, you can start introducing solid foods to your baby at around 4 to 6 months old.
For new parents, it can also seem like an adventurous or daunting journey as you embark on a lot of trial-and-error. Contrary to most beliefs, you actually do not need a ton of new feeding supplies.
Here’s a list of 9 feeding supply must-haves for babies starting on solid foods to help you get organized.
Food Blender To Make Your Own Baby Food
We decided on making our own baby food as we enjoy cooking and figured it is also the best way to ensure that we are feeding our little one with fresh healthy foods.
At 4-6 months old, babies may not yet be ready for table solids due to their developmental stage, so you’ll need to start with pureed food. Alternatively, if you start introducing solids or baby-led weaning around 6-8 months, you’ll probably be able to jump straight to table solids.
To make your own baby food puree, what you need to do is to simply steam the fresh produces and blend it into a smooth consistent puree. There are many specific baby food maker or blender available in the market.
Having said that, we think that it is better to invest in a good counter-top blender, such as the Ninja Professional Blender that can last you long after your baby has outgrown pureed food. This counter-top blender helps you save time and money as you can make the baby food in bulk portion each time. It can also eventually be used to make drinks, smoothies, protein shakes or even hummus that can be enjoyed by the rest of the family.
However, if you’re looking for a smaller blender that is compact and light-weight enough to be used at home or on-the-go, you can consider The Sage Baby Puree and Blend by Sage Spoonfuls. This is a hand-held immersion blender and a food processor attachment. Similarly, it can be used beyond the baby puree days.
An All-In-One baby food maker is one that allows you to both steam and puree the food. We don’t recommend such specific food maker as the price is usually steeper, the single production quantity is typically smaller, and its lifespan/usability is fairly limited. Babies typically only feed on pureed food for a very short period of time before moving on to finger food and table solid foods. However, if you want to keep the baby food cooking separate from the rest of the family due to issues such as allergy, and kitchen counter-top space constraint is not a problem for you, you can consider the BEABA Babycook 4 in 1 Steam Cooker and Blender.
Storage Jars and Freezer Trays To Store Pureed Baby Food
After making the baby food in bulk, it is important to store them correctly. Do remember that any food not for consumption within the same day should be frozen in the fridge.
Preferring glass over plastic, we recommend The Sage Spoonfuls Glass Jars. This storage set consists of BPA-free 4-Oz glass jars with measurements up to 2 Oz. This allows for easy portioning, storing in the refrigerator or freezer, warming, (microwave safe) and serving. The air-tight screw lids help to keep the food fresh and keep the jars leak-proof.
You can also opt for freezing trays such as the Silicone Baby Food Freezer Tray by WeeSprout. The individual serving size is 1.5 Oz, but it also has 1 Oz marking for a smaller serving size. They can be easily popped out into reusable food pouches or into clean Marsden jars to be warmed and served.
The good thing about freezing the pureed foods in such small serving portions is that you can make a bunch of them at one go, and just pop out the various ingredients according to your recipes each time.
The freezer tray also comes with a plastic lid to keep the food fresh longer and allows the trays to be stacked for compact storage in the freezer. Not only is the food-grade silicon tray freezer, microwave/oven (up to 425 F) and dishwasher safe, it can also be used for baking!
Waterproof Silicone Bibs
When your baby is still feeding on a liquid diet, cloth bibs will probably serve you well. You can buy a bunch of them, use accordingly, and throw them into the laundry.
But as your child transitions to solid food, mealtime can be a lot messier. A waterproof silicone bib, such as the Happy Healthy Parent bib, is a better choice at this point of time.
The food-grade silicone bib is stain resistant, dishwasher safe (top rack) and also easy to clean with soapy water. It is sturdy and big enough to cover the clothes (hence reducing the chances of ruining and dirtying the clothes). It also features a wide pocket to catch food crumbs and spillage, making cleaning after meals a much easier task.
Just as importantly, the silicone material is supple, soft, lightweight and comfortable (not stiff like some). It is also a great bib to use on-the-go as you can easily roll the bib up to contain most of the mess until you can wash them at home. The neckband is adjustable to accommodate the growing toddler and I like it that it is not using Velcro, which tends to get tangled in the child’s hair often.
If you’re willing to spend a little more for cuter and more stylish designs, you can go for Make My Day Soft Silicone Baby Bib. It comes with 23 beautiful designs, including a Lavender Jewel design for the little ladies, a Tuxedo design for little man and designs such as fireman, sheriff and other animals.
High Chair: Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair
We’ve always looked forward to introducing solids to our baby as it also meant that it’s time for our little one to join the rest of the family at the dinner table.
Our favorite high chair is the Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair as it is the perfect chair that helps the child sit in an ergonomic position at the dinner table and grows with the child. You can read our full review here.
Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup
The Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup may be called a ‘sippy cup’, but it is really unique and different from others because of its spoutless design.
Dentists have long recommended tossing away the sippy cups since sucking on the sippy cups may affect the normal development of the mouth and promote tooth decay and cavities.
It is a great first training cup for kids moving away from bottle feeding. Your child can drink anywhere around the rim, just like a regular cup, which supports normal development of the child’s mouth muscles.
The awesome thing is, you don’t have to worry about any spillage, even in your bag! That’s because this trainer cup is designed such that the valve closes and creates a seal when the child is not drinking.
Spoons And Forks
Do not underestimate the importance of the feeding spoon for a successful feeding experience. You may have to try a few different types of infant feeding spoons to find the right one, especially if your baby is a fussy one.
One of the most popular and affordable infant feeding spoons is the Munchkin Soft-Tip Infant Spoon, which comes with an ergonomically designed handle that is comfortable for the parents to hold, and long enough to reach the bottom of the food jars.
The spoon tip is rounded and soft on the baby’s gum. For feeding spoons with softer tip (depending on your child’s preference or if he/she is teething), you can try the silicone version instead.
However, these spoons will not be the right ones to encourage your child to self-feed as the long handle increases the odds for the child’s bowl to topple easily.
To encourage self-feeding for beginners, you can start with the ChooMee Dipn – 100% Silicone Starter Spoon. It is a great spoon for the young ones, especially when they haven’t acquired the coordination skill for a normal spoon just yet. The non-directional design means that there is no right or wrong direction for the child, hence greatly reduces feeding frustrations.
With repeated successes, your little one will slowly gain more confidence as well as independence.
The ChooMee Dipn Starter Spoon has food channels that’s suitable for maximum dipping of purees and food of such consistency (such as yogurt). The smooth soft silicone material is gentle on the baby’s gum and hygienic as it does not support fungus, mold and bacteria growth.
When your tots are finally ready to feed themselves, it’s time to move on to the toddler-sized fork and spoon. There are plastic and metal toddler utensils, but I’ve found that plastic forks and spoons often resulted in a lot more mess and feeding frustrations for the tots as they often have trouble picking up the food.
The OXO Tot Training Fork & Spoon Set is designed for toddlers 12 months and above, and is made of durable stainless steel. The handles are designed with soft non-slip grips that are easy for the little hands to hold onto, and curved to prevent it from slipping from the edge into the bowl.
There is also a flat spot on the handles to prevent the toddler fork and spoon from rolling off the table or high chair. The metal fork tines are designed to pick up food effectively but safely without sharp edges, while the spoon head is deep enough for easy scooping.
Bowls, Plates and Placemats
While your toddler is starting on solids, there is no need to consider any utensils made of breakable materials.
I like the OXO Tot Plate with Removable Training Ring as it features a curved ring that assists the toddler to guide the food into their spoon, reducing their frustration of scooping the food out of the bowl/plate. The weighted non-slip bottom also provides more stability for the child (unlike cheap plastic toddler plates that tend to be very light) and helps to avoid accidental spillage or toppling.
If your toddler is at the fun stage where he/she is throwing their plates on the floor or trying to wear their bowls like a hat, you might want to consider the ezpz Happy Mat to help contain the mess. It is essentially a placemat with an attached plate.
Because of the suction on the silicone mat, kids are not able to pull the bowl or plate up from the middle section so you don’t have to worry about the mess from tipped bowls/plates.
When the meal is finished, parents can release the suction by peeling it off from the corners (hence its effectiveness would be over once your little one figured out this trick).
The eyes and smile on the Happy Mat is more than just a cute design, they are portion sizes of 4 and 10 Oz respectively to cater to toddlers’ serving sizes.
Recently, ezpz have even introduced a brand new design – the ezpz Happy Bowl, which features the placemat with a bowl. The ezpz Mini Mat is a smaller version of the Happy Mat so that it can fit into more compact high chairs.
The silicone used is also a highly durable and high quality food-grade material that you do not have to worry about fungus growth. It can also be washed easily with warm soapy water or in a dishwasher. The placemats are sturdy enough that you can stack a few mats on top of each other(even with food!) and carry around without worrying about spillage.
If you’re looking for alternatives to plastics, the Avancy Baby Infant Feeding Organic Bamboo Stay Put Suction Bowl is a great natural option. It comes with a BPA-free food grade soft silicone-tipped spoon and offers a choice of 6 cheery colors!
A quick release lever at the base allow the parents to quickly release the suction when the meal is over. Avancy also offers the same version for divided plates. As it is made of natural bamboo, it may be a little more costly as compared to the normal plastic toddler plates. Another downside is that it is not microwave or dishwasher safe.
Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder
The Munchkin fresh food feeder is great for fresh fruits, berries and veggie chunks. This is often recommended for use as a teether to soothe teething babies with chilled fruits.
It is a great way to introduce your baby to fruit chunks safely without having to worry about the fruit becoming a choking hazard. The lowlights of such food feeder it that it is only suitable for a limited range of food and it does take some effort to clean the mesh feeder.
NUK Mash and Serve Bowl
I like this NUK Mash and Serve Bowl (B006Z6E8AG) when the little one is transitioning from puree to finger and table food. It is light and compact enough to be used on-the-go.
The bowl has a non-skid rubber base and grooves on the inside to provide sufficient traction for a quick hearty mash, and you can serve your little one directly from the same bowl. The result is a chunky consistency that your tots can pick up with their fingers.
It works very well for soft foods such as fruits, steamed veggies, potatoes, beans and eggs.
Hopefully, the list has provided you with a better idea of the type of feeding supplies you need as you child transitions to solid foods. Every child is different, so be sure to pay attention to your baby’s cue. Happy feeding!