Introducing solids to your baby is an exciting, messy and slightly terrifying process. There is an overwhelming amount of information about when your baby can start, what you should be feeding them and the best way to go about it.
Most parents look forward with anticipation to being able to introduce solid foods to their little one. This process is often documented with photos and videos and usually needs to be followed by a bath. Expect a lot of trial and error as both you and your baby figure out the process.
To make your life easier, I’ve compiled a list of the best baby feeding products I’ve used when introducing solids to my kids.
Still pregnant? Plan ahead and add these items to your baby registry today.Here are my must-have’s for starting on the right foot.
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The best baby feeding products
So what products do you need to feed your baby solids? The truth is that if you’re completely broke, you can get away without buying any of the following items. However, I have found that starting your baby on solids goes far smoother with the help from a few well-chosen tools.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a baby spoon for a successful feeding experience. It’s possible that you may have to try several different types of spoons if your baby doesn’t like the first one you offer.
One of my favourite baby spoons is the Munchkin Soft-Tip Feeding Spoon. The soft tip and rounded shape are gentle on a baby’s gums (especially important if they’re teething). The shallow bowl allows your baby to get the food off the spoon without too much effort.
As a parent, I appreciate their longer length as it makes feeding more comfortable, not to mention helpful for getting food out of jars.
They’re affordable, dishwasher safe and durable. Mine have made it through two babies and are up for the challenge of feeding baby number three.
If your baby seems to find the Munchkin spoons uncomfortable, then you might need to try a the Beaba Soft Tip Silicone Spoons. These are very similar in design to the Munchkin spoons but feature a silicone edge and are slightly softer on sensitive baby’s gums.
While your first instincts may be to keep a firm grasp on your baby’s food, safe from their inquisitive fingers, it’s so important that your baby be able to explore their food on their own. And yes, this means that the feeding process is going to take longer and get WAY messier than if you were in control.
An essential item on your feeding list will be baby bowls which will not break when thrown (or is hard to throw).
I have two go-to favourites when it comes to baby bowls.
If your baby is a bowl thrower, then I suggest getting the Avanchy bowl. These bowls are a great alternative if you’re looking to steer clear of plastic bowls. As well, the suction cup on the bottom will drastically cut down the mess at meal times.
However, these bowls are more expensive than other options and are not dishwasher safe.
A staple in my house has been the line of baby bowls from Re-play. These plastic bowls are made in the USA from recycled milk jugs and are dishwasher and microwave safe (though I’ve never actually put them in there). I bought these when my daughter started solids over 4 years ago, and they’re still going strong.
Re-play also has a line of divided toddler meal plates which I love as well and are excellent value for money.
Baby Mesh Feeder
The Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder was a lifesaver when my baby was first starting solids.
Typically you want to give your baby your entire attention when starting on solids. If you’re starting with purees and spoon feeding, then you need to pay close attention to your baby’s cue and respond appropriately. And, if you’ve chosen a baby-led weaning method, you need to be at hand to watch for choking and gaging.
However, there are times when you want to be able to hand your baby something to mouth, often when you’re trying to put together a meal for the rest of the family.
Enter the Munchkin fresh food feeder. It’s mostly a mesh bag attached to an easy-to-grasp handle. You add soft fresh food into the bag, close it and hand it to your baby. They’re then able to mouth the mesh and work the food into a pulp which then squeezes through the mesh.
I ended up using it for two different scenarios.
The first scenario was for foods which my baby would usually have been able to eat without the mesh but I wasn’t able to supervise at that point at the time. These included avocado, banana and steamed sweet potatoes and yams.
The second scenario was for foods that my baby had difficulty holding, had some gagging issues with or didn’t taste as good as a puree. An excellent example of this was peaches. We have some great peaches available in my region during the summer, but they always presented a problem for my babies. As slices, they were far too slippery to handle and produced too many gagging episodes. However, I found it too time-consuming to make them into purees. Cutting the peaches into slices and using the Munchkin fresh food feeder was the perfect solution.
At the same point when you’re introducing solid food, you should also be adding water to your child diet. While the most straightforward way of doing with is with a sippy cup try to transition your child to a cup with a straw or drinking lid as quickly as possible. Sippy cups if used for too long can affect mouth and teeth development.
I have gone through so many different styles of cups, come across a few duds, and these are the ones I’ve come to love.
When looking for a sippy cup I’ve found there are a few features I demand. They need to have easy to grip handles which can rotate.
I had one cup where it was impossible to line the spout up correctly with the handles, and it drove me batty. Needless to say, that one ended up getting donated.
The spout top shouldn’t drip when your baby drinks from it (once again, I had another cup which dripped everywhere anytime my baby tried to drink from it).
The spout should be soft to ensure it’s gentle on your baby’s gums.
And, as a bonus, it should have an additional top for when your baby grows out of using a sippy cup. The allows it to transition into a regular drinking cup or a straw cup and extends its use.
The OXO sippy cup covers all of these bases. As a bonus, the cup is also compatible with the OXO tot transitions straw cup as the tops are interchangeable.
The Oxo was the first staw cup I used with my baby, and it’s a great first straw cup for a few reasons.
It’s a smaller (and shorter) cup that many other straw cups out there. If you’re trying to introduce a straw cup early on then, this feature is a significant draw.
It has a valve seal, so water won’t leak all over your floor if (or when) it ends up on the floor.
The handles make this cup easy for little hands to grasp and use on their own.
However, the straw is softer than other straw ups intended for older children, and you may find that your child chews on it when teething and it may need to be replaced. Just be aware of this and check the straw when washing between uses and dispose of it if it shows any sign of wear. Oxo does offer two pack replacement staws so this is an easy fix.
The second caveat I’ll mention is that this wasn’t my favourite straw cup to throw in the diaper bag when filled as I had some leaking issues. However, once my kids reached around 12-18 months, we transitioned them to the Contigo kids water bottle which is larger and doesn’t have any leaking issues.
Forget those adorable cloth bibs you used before your baby started solids. Now that they’re eating real food you’re going to need a heavy duty bib to handle the mess.
I will confess that there have been points in the feeding process where it’s been easier just to strip my babies down to their diapers and then hose them off afterwards. But I have a couple of bibs which got regular use.
When looking for a baby bib always look for one with a pocket at the bottom. This handy feature acts as a tray, catching drips and food which would otherwise end up on your baby’s pants. You also want one that cleans easily.
I have a couple of different styles which I’ve used depending on my kids’ ages and preferences.
This bib has all the features I want in a bib and then some. They are generously sized and cover up a lot. They also have an adjustable neck closure.
More importantly, they are waterproof. A waterproofing ensures that your baby’s clothes won’t get soaked from purees seeping through a cloth bib. As well, I typically rinse off these bibs between uses and air dry rather than adding them to my massive laundry pile. As they’re so lightweight, they dry off quickly.
I bought a pack of these to use for my daughter, and 4+ years later they’re still going strong and ready for baby number three.
Another bib I reach for is my Kushies bib with sleeves. A sleeved bib is excellent for when your baby is wearing long sleeves or (like my son) doesn’t like rolling their sleeves above their elbows.
Its features are very similar to the Bumkins bibs. They are both waterproof, wipeable and lightweight. Like the bumkins bibs, I find myself rinsing off these bibs rather than automatically adding them to the laundry bin after every use.
However, I preferred the sleeve design of the Kushies bibs over the sleeved version of the Bumkins bibs which is why those have stuck around.
I’ll be honest with you – these bibs may be a bit hit or miss with your baby. My daughter had no problem using them, but my son kept ripping them off. However, I LOVED them, so they’ve made my list. I’ve hung onto mine and have my fingers crossed that baby number three finds them acceptable.
Silicone bibs are amazing for a few reasons.
Firstly, they are completely waterproof. There are no liquids which are going to seep through the bib and onto the clothes below.
Secondly, the catch-all tray works better than the Bumkins or Kushies ones because it sticks out more than the fabric bib ones.
And thirdly, these are absurdly easy to clean. Either you wipe clean after use or throw in the dishwasher with the rest of the dirty dishes from mealtime. And, there’s no drying time which is a bonus.
The last thing you need for feeding your baby solids is a safe and secure place for them to sit. Look for a highchair which will grow with your baby and provides them with the support they need. Ideally, it will have support for their feet as well as an attached tray.
Lastly, look for a high chair which is easy to clean as it’s guaranteed to get messy.
I have two suggestion for high chairs
This is a great solid highchair which will grow with your child. The seat cover is easy to clean, the foot support is adjustable, and there is an option of either a 5 point or 3 point harness.
However, the frame itself can be challenging to clean, and it’s an expensive chair
This is the highchair we inherited from a friend and the one we started with. Although it’s not ideal, there are a lot of features I loved about this highchair.
This highchair was SUPER easy to clean, and that’s honestly one of the best things about it. After a particularly messy meal, I could take it out back and hose it off.
While it’s not adjustable at all, you can make it work for a smaller baby by using Ikea’s cushion insert or a rolled up towel.
However, there’s also no foot support, and the tray is hard to remove.
Despite those facts, it’s an affordable (if not perfect) pick for a highchair, especially if your child is on the larger side and doesn’t need the added for support.
And that’s it. Those are my must-haves for starting solids with your baby. While there are a ton of other products out there keep in mind, you don’t NEED any of them. Worst comes to worst you could feed your baby sitting on your knee, stripped to their diaper from a plastic Tupperware container.