There are a ton of products out there for feeding babies and toddlers. We tried MANY of them because we have a super picky toddler who hated eating from the very first time he tried solid foods. I'm here to share with you which baby feeding products worked and which didn't work for us, and why.
Some feeding tools are awesome and are a must-have. Some were not as amazing. Some are actually really good products that should be super helpful, but for one reason or another didn't work for us.
Every kid is different. But I wanted to share what feeding tools worked and didn't work for us to help other parents make an informed decision about what to get, and to not waste money on things that might not be useful to them.
Baby Feeding Products That WORK:
Silicone Plates with a Placemat
These are a MUST-HAVE, especially for that phase where your kid likes to knock EVERYTHING off the high chair. Your kid will still be able to pry these off, but at least these plates give you a few extra seconds to react and redirect before they can throw the whole plate on the floor.
The nuk brush is an AMAZING tool to have for babies with gagging issues, food aversion, and texture aversion. I wrote a whole article about how the nuk brush helped us stop gagging and throwing up during mealtimes.
It's such an inexpensive tool that can make such a big difference, and I recommend it for any parent struggling with their baby's or toddler's picky eating.
Philips Avent Sippy Cups
This is our favorite sippy cup. It doesn't leak, it is easy to drink from but not too easy so that our son chokes on the water. It's basic and it's perfect.
All other sippy cups we tried were either terrible to use or they leaked. The end.
This simple snack holder is so much better than any other fancier ones we've tried. It's incredibly inexpensive too. Perfect for cheerios and goldfish crackers on the go.
Basic Terrycloth Bibs
Simple, inexpensive terrycloth bibs were a life saver for us. Our son used to have such bad reflux and spit up ALL THE TIME. At one point we had 40 of these because we were ALWAYS using them. Since these bibs are made of a towel-like material, they absorbed the spitup so much better than the cute bibs with designs, which pretty much just allowed the drool and spitup to drip down the bibs onto our son's clothes.
These bibs saved us lots of outfit changes after messy meals.
Gerber Baby Forks
These forks are so perfect. Their rounded handle makes it easy for both babies and adults to hold. Their prongs are rounded but they still work really well to pick up food. It's silly to write such high praises about baby forks, but these really were the best we've tried.
However, we tried the spoons that are meant to go with these forks and really didn't like them (these here). I'll write about them below, along with other forks that we didn't like.
These Baby Spoons
A 12-pack, ridiculously cheap, easy to hold, and they work well. These baby spoons are the best. The only problem is that everyone in daycare has these too, so they are constantly getting mixed up with other kids' spoons. I guess that's my fault for not labeling them!
Reusable Baby Food Pouches
Ever since we started our son on baby food, I've been making homemade baby food for him. I still do, even though he is 2.5 years old now.
Making homemade baby food in reusable pouches was amazing because it was (1) convenient (2) cheaper than buying store-bought food (3) more nutritious than buying store-bought food (4) a big bigger than store-bought baby food pouches, so they fit more food in as our son grew and (5) the baby food stayed fresh longer than if it was placed in a storage bowl or storage container.
These ChooMee pouches have lasted us years and are still going strong. Not one leak, even with a pretty crazy toddler!
Portable High Chair
This was a MUST-HAVE for going out to eat and traveling. Babies and toddlers are stubborn and don't like routines switched up on them. Our son sits and eats so much better in a high chair than if we try to just sit him down in a regular chair.
This portable high chair gave him a sense of familiarity and kept him strapped in at the table whenever we travel (and we travel a lot! Read my article with tips for traveling with a picky eater toddler).
It was so easy to take with us because it folded up small enough to fit in the stroller storage space or in a large purse or backpack.
As you can see, you can totally get by with just the basics - plates, forks, spoons, cups, portable high chair, and few things to hold foods while on the go.
However, we also tried lots of other feeding products out of desperation (and curiosity), and many didn't work for us. I am not saying these products are bad for EVERYONE (except for maybe that one sippy cup below, it sucks). I'm saying just think about whether you really need these products, and whether your baby or toddler is actually going to like them.
And heck, I could be totally wrong. Every kid is different and unpredictable. What works one day, doesn't work the next day. So as parents, we try to do the best we can and hope something sticks!
Baby Feeding Products that Didn't Work.... for us
Mesh Food Feeders
These mesh food feeders are recommended as a safe way to expose babies to different flavors and foods without them being able to accidentally choke on different foods. They are supposed to be great with mushy foods, such as bananas and strawberries, because your baby can chew on them and eat the fruit as it gets squeezed out of the mesh.
Our son HATED these, because he hated the texture of the mesh in his mouth. I don't blame him. I tried it myself and it made me gag a little.
However, I know of a few babies who loved to chew on these, so maybe it's worth a try!
Dr. Brown Sippy Cup
These sippy cups seemed like a brilliant idea when our son was little and didn't understand which way to hold the bottle to drink. However, these were terrible. They leaked, they were a pain in the butt to clean, and it was SO HARD to sip out of them because the little flexible straw was so thin.
Silicone Bibs with Spill Catchers
These silicone bibs are a wonderful idea to catch all the food that toddlers drop. I know LOTS of babies and toddlers who used them, but our son didn't like the bulky bib around his neck. We ended up using these to cut out rings and seal the tub stoppers to hold water in preparation for hurricane Dorian, so I guess they went to good use anyway?
Monster Snack Keeper
Very cute, but kind of hard to get into even with tiny hands (here's the link if you want to see the details). Skip this one and get this basic one. A two-pack costs just over $4, and it works great.
These Baby Forks
I don't know about you, but we were losing forks left and right. We decided we were done messing around with 3-packs of forks and went with these cute 6-pack to stop the madness. But we didn't love these forks. They're not as comfortable to hold, and their prongs are much thicker so it's harder to grab many foods.
We use them in a pinch and they're okay, but I would say skip.
These Baby Spoons
Even though we LOVED the forks that go with these spoons, we didn't love the spoons. They weren't deep enough, so they didn't hold any liquids / purees. And they were too wide and uncomfortable for our son to fit into his mouth when he was younger.
Fruitsicle Frozen Pop Tray
"A great way to get our son to eat more fresh fruits and veggies!" Or so I thought. Turns out our son reeeallly doesn't like frozen treats, so this frozen popsicle set went unused.
I recommend freezing a small batch of juice or popsicle in an ice cube tray (you can insert a small popsicle stick if you want) and giving your kid that to try. If they like it, then buy this cute little popsicle set. If they hate the feel of freezing cold food, then I just saved you a few dollars and reduced the clutter in your kitchen cabinets. You're welcome.
I thought this Bentgo box lunch container would be the answer to all my problems (you see, my problem was that I felt like a crazy person packing 5 different snack containers for my son to take to daycare every day), but it turns out we used this a lot less than I thought we would. Here's why:
- It's not leak-proof, so I still have to pack soups and purees in other containers
- It's not microwaveable (at least it doesn't say, and I am not willing to experiment on my kid). But even if it was, I can't pack cold food and food that needs to be heated up together because then it would ALL be warmed up
- If my son knocks it on the floor, then ALL of his food for the day is gone and I need to drop off more food at daycare. The last thing I want to do!
- I needed two or three of these, so I can put it in the dishwasher instead of hand-washing them every night (I know, I know, first world problems)
- Seeing all the food together can be overwhelming for a picky toddler who sometimes feels intimidated by food. It also allows him to pick and choose what he eats, instead of just being served whatever it is I want him to eat for that one meal. Can't have that kind of freedom for a toddler! lol
We still use it, just not as much as I thought we would.
So think about what kind of foods you typically pack for your baby or toddler. If it's all cold foods that don't leak (such as cut-up sandwiches, fruit, veggies, crackers, cold cuts, or cheese) then this thing is pretty great, and very inexpensive. If your lunches are more elaborate, then look for a fancier bento box or make peace with the fact that you're going to have to pack a million different containers every day.
Looking over this list, all I can think is "boy am I glad that we need less and less baby gear as our son grows." I remember it was so overwhelming to make a baby registry when I was pregnant and to shop for baby stuff when our son was born because there are just so. many. products out there.
I'm hoping this list will help you make a decision about what baby feeding products to buy and which to skip.
If you thought this was helpful, please share it with other new mamas and moms-to-be.