Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Toddler Feeding Essentials

Every few months it seems like your child enters a new stage which requires an update to feeding tools. It can be so overwhelming with all of the options out there let alone dealing with an opinionated toddler who thinks they can dictate what they will or will not use. I'm not sure if I'm lucky with a toddler that doesn't give me too hard of a time or whether my toddler knows I'm not playing the "options" game and deals with what he's given. There have been a few occasions with cups (weighted straw being one of them) that we just weren't ready for yet, but otherwise I haven't had to buy 10 options to see which one he'll comply with.

I have purchased a few options and keep them all in rotation for meal time. I'm fortunate to have older sisters with wisdom to pass down on what's worked for their kiddos but I also like to explore options for myself and find new brands that I like. Here's a handy list of things that are tried and true in our house and thank heavens for Amazon prime. I truly don't know how my mom survived 4 kids- 6 years apart without such a convenient resource of next day delivery!

1.) These Re-Play Sippy Cups were the replacement of the Nuk Learner Cup with a bottle-like nipple. It was a surprisingly easy adjustment. I first used these cups for both milk and water but caused much confusion for Graham not knowing which beverage to expect. So I use these exclusively for milk and have a separate cup for water so he knows what he's getting. This has been a game changer! These cups are sustainable, dishwasher safe, and don't leak. The color options are amazing too! I only have 3 but with running our dishwasher daily, I don't have a problem with the quantity.

2.) The cups I use for water are these Munchkin Miracle 360 cups. I introduced them around 10 months and used them in conjunction with the Nuk training sippy cup until he officially figured out how to use it. The handles help to carry it around with us all day and he's a pro at drinking from it. It truly doesn't leak unless you drop it-then some water sprays out from the impact. In the last month we've introduced the Munchkin Miracle 360 cup without handles (10 oz) and have used it during the day-while I keep the smaller cup in his crib for nap and bedtime. They do sell a lid you can buy for the cup but I've never had an issue with needing it on the go. I think the transition to a normal cup will be much easier since using this cup versus a straw or spout.

3.) I have a few different plates but my favorites are the Re-Play divided plates. This helps to create a well rounded meal because I'll fill each compartment with a different food group to ensure he's eating a balanced meal. Since toddlers can be tricky when it comes to meals I find that separating everything won't have him pushing the plate  away but he'll eat what he does want and likely drop what he doesn't on the floor. (the worst). These plates don't stain (trust me, even spaghetti sauce comes right off!), are machine washable, and stack really nicely. My only wish is that it had some sort of non slip bottom so it stays in place. Alternatively, we have a 4moms magnetic plate and bowl that came with our highchair that magnetizes to the tray and stays in place, which is great! But there aren't compartments which makes this nice for a snack or simplified meal.

4.) I have been offering utensils at each meal and help him with the "scooping" motion to pick up food and bring it to his mouth. He's normally interested for the first couple bites and then he gets frustrated and abandons the utensil altogether. We have some work to do to form good repetition but I switch between a couple utensils in case one is easier than the other for him. We use a metal utensil set that came with our 4Moms highchair and also use the Bumkins Silicone Chewtensils. Those are much easier to grab in his hands but the surface area for holding food is slightly smaller than the others. He loves chewing on these and the silicone is much easier on his little teeth with each bite that comes in a little uncoordinated. So I offer both interchangeably and practice using the spoon and fork to hopefully become a cleaner eater soon! :)

5.) Bibs are maybe the most important tool for mealtimes! I don't think I can ever actually have enough either! I switch between two bibs-depending on what Graham is eating and also where we're eating. I love the Bumkins Superbib because it's flat between him and the highchair and is wider for more coverage! I also like that it's waterproof, easy to wipe clean, and machine washable. Oh and the price for a 3-pack can't be beat. The waterproof backing has worn on us over time and I've had to replace them but for the value it's still high on my list. The Oxo Tot Waterproof Bib is my favorite for on-the-go eating since it can roll up and clasp shut to keep the mess inside rather than inside my diaper bag! It's also a great bib for messier meals at home because it catches the food really well. It's also machine washable and has truly withstood many meals and washes without showing signs of wear. I do notice that it tends to get in the way for Graham when he's in his highchair at home and I have to make sure it's tucked into the tray so it's not blocking his reach for the food. Either way, I use both of these bibs every single day and it's saved many outfits from the messes that come with mealtime. Just roll long sleeves up if you don't want them dipped in whatever meal your child is eating. (I can't tell you how often I forget this simple step!)

Graham is almost 18 months and I'm sure our feeding game will change now that we have a system in place that works. That's just the name of the game with parenting, isn't it?!

None of these are sponsored in any way. I purchased these products and reviewed them with my (and Graham's) honest opinion. Some of the links are affiliate which means I earn a commission on purchased items.

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