It may be hard to imagine, when your baby seems so new, but starting solids happens in the blink of an eye. It’s one of the most fun (and messy!) milestones over your baby’s first year. And like any great journey, the adventure into ‘first solids’ begins with good preparation. This means
finding the right gear. To help you prepare, Mega babies has rounded up the ten most useful baby feeding products.
When to Start Solid Foods
Every baby grows and develops at their own rate. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies be introduced to food other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about six months old. They discourage introducing solids before four months of age because babies don’t yet have the neuromuscular development for solids. In addition, feeding an infant solids too early may increase the risk of choking, food allergies, gastric discomfort and obesity later in life. Here are a few signs to look for to see if your child is developmentally ready for solids. Your baby:
- Can hold up their head and neck
- Can sit up alone or with support
- Can open their mouth when food is offered
- Can swallow food rather than push it out onto their chin ● Can bring objects to the mouth
- Can try to grasp small objects
- Has roughly doubled their birth weight
For good measure, before starting solids, read up on these recommendations by the CDC about what, when and how to introduce solid foods and get the go-ahead from your pediatrician. Talk about any questions or concerns you may have.
10 Best Baby Feeding Supplies
1. High Chair
A high chair is a safe spot for your baby to sit during mealtime. Your baby is ready to sit in a high chair when they can sit up unassisted (usually at around five or six months old). As you consider which high chair to purchase, consider your budget and how much space you have available, as there are countless sizes and styles to choose from. Mega babies recommends choosing one that’s easy to clean (detachable tray!), with foldability and durability, especially if you plan on having more children. One of our bestsellers is the Inglesina Gusto Highchair.
2. Booster Chair
If space is an issue, you can invest in a clip-on chair or booster seat. Clip-on chairs can hang on the edge of a sturdy table or kitchen counter. Since boosters are portable, many families purchase one for travel and dining out. Check out the top-rated, best-selling Inglesina Fast Table Chair. This booster goes together with the Inglesina Fast Dining Tray Plus.
Bombol Pop-Up Booster
When grandma prefers your booster to be totally out of sight when not in use, go for the Bombol Pop-Up Booster. This award-winning portable booster folds flat to the size of a book and weighs only 34 ounces. At feeding time, it pops open to become a sturdy, comfy seat. It fits almost all chair designs and is the perfect size for storing in a drawer or carrying in a bag.
Starting solids means things are about to get messy! There are soft cotton bibs and waterproof bibs. The soft bibs are great for finger foods, and for gently wiping your baby’s face while they’re eating, while the waterproof bibs are most suitable for foods with liquid, which are likely to seep through to their clothes.
How many bibs do you need for your baby?
Because soft bibs are one-per-feeding, most moms like to have three to seven bibs on hand each day. You’ll need to decide how many to get based on how often you’re likely to launder them every day. A plastic or silicone waterproof bib just needs a quick rinse between feedings so you’ll only need one or two in rotation.
Check out these extra-long leopard bibs from cotton material backed with terry lining.
4. Bowls and Plates
You’ll want to have at least two baby-sized serving bowls available during meals in anticipation of spillage and your picky eater wanting other options. Mega babies recommends getting sturdy, non-breakable bowls, and suction bowls and plates are helpful in reducing the amount of food that lands on the floor.
The best way to make sure that your baby gets at least some food is for both of you to have a plate and spoon. While your baby enjoys the developmental benefits of self-feeding, you will also be calm knowing that something has gone in their mouth too. This is a super-cute silicone chicken-shaped divided plate with suction.
5. Baby Spoon
Before finger foods, most parents start their babies on pureed food. Adult-size spoons are too large for a baby’s mouth, so you’ll need to invest in at least two or three baby spoons for feeding. Mega babies recommends small, soft, flexible spoons for the start. These prevent babies from gagging. Brightly colored spoons are great for getting your baby excited and interested.
These soft, flexible silicone spoons come in bright colors and have a unique, flat edge for easy scooping.
Portable Food Spoon
An all-in-one spoon and food container is a great idea for when you and baby are out and about. The easy-to-fill bulb holds up to 3 ounces of baby food and attaches firmly to the spoon end. You can simply squeeze the bulb to dispense just the right amount of food for each bite. This feeding tool is great for when you’ve got your hands full with shopping bags, as it makes one-handed feeding a snap.
6. Storage Containers
Spill-proof storage containers are a must-have for babies on solids. They can organize and dispense anything from snacks, to formula, yogurt, fruit and more. These Innobaby Packin’ Smart Stackable Storage System features 3-tier stackable containers that are a perfect solution for taking your baby’s food on the go.
Your baby’s eating habits may be erratic at first, so it’s also helpful to use bowls that double as storage containers for uneaten food. Check out this 3-pack Innobaby Preppin' SMART EZ Lock Glass Containers with 4-snap leak-proof lids.
7. Sippy Cup
Your baby probably won't be able to hold a cup or drink solo without spilling until after age one, but why not let them start practicing earlier? The ideal time to introduce a transitional sippy cup, whether with a straw, spouted, or spoutless, is typically around 6 months old, when they start solids. Here are some great tips for making an easy transition to the sippy cup. Mega babies recommends looking for a spill-proof cup that has a rim or straw designed for normal muscle development in a baby’s mouth. You may need to experiment with different cups to see what works best for your baby. Most moms like to have three to six sippy cups in circulation.
8. Splash Mat
Eating solids is a dirty business. If your baby is eating purées, you’ll no doubt have a sticky mess on your baby’s bib, hands, face, high chair and…floor. A splash mat is a mat for protecting the floor under your baby’s high chair. It can help with hard-to-clean puddles. The splash mat is waterproof and just needs to be rinsed under water in between feedings, making for an easy clean-up. One splash mat is usually sufficient for your home.
9. Baby Food Steamer and Blender
Making purées for your baby is easy for even the most inexperienced home chefs. A double boiler and immersion blender or fork work well for little meals. But if you’re planning on making batches of purées (to be stored and frozen), you may want to invest in a food steamer and blender-in-one. A popular countertop solution called Beaba’s Babycook steams, blends, defrosts and reheats food for a truly convenient cooking experience.
10. Freezer Trays
Making your own baby food is quick, easy and cheap. If you’re getting ahead of the game by cooking up an entire batch, you’ll need to freeze individual portions in trays. This will be a lifesaver, as you’ll be able to defrost only the portion you need ahead of feeding time. Parents love ice cube trays with silicon underneath to help pop out food cubes most efficiently.
Best Baby Gear for Feeding? Relax and Experiment!
You’ve reached this awesome milestone. To make it a more enjoyable experience, it’s best to just go with the flow and let go of any expectations you have for your baby. Eating solids for the first time is a learning process. So, give your baby the space and time to experiment and expect them to have their likes and dislikes. And because eating is a sensory experience, remember that babies aren’t just tasting new foods, they’re mushing their hands in new foods. Expect the process to be GRIMEY. When it comes to baby feeding gear, be patient, embrace experimentation and observe your own likes and dislikes. With the right attitude, you’re in for an exciting and delicious ride! Bon appétit!