Many parents I work with aren’t sure what dishes and other feeding gear are needed for starting solids. This can lead to buying 5 (or more!) different types of dishes. But the average parent really only needs a bowl and a divided plate that suctions to the table or highchair. Here are a few benefits for using a bowl and a sectioned plate with your baby.
Visual Reminder: Your baby will receive the majority of their nutrition from breastmilk or formula until 12 months of age. At around 6 months (depending on the baby’s readiness signals), parents will start introducing solids - generally one food at a time from a bowl. Once your baby has several foods that they enjoy, you can introduce a divided plate. A sectioned baby plate has compartments that visually remind parents to serve a fruit or veggie, a protein and a carbohydrate at each meal.
- Bowl: The ezpz Tiny Bowl is the perfect ‘first foods’ bowl, as it fits on all highchair trays. It also suctions to the surface, making it easier for the baby to self-feed.
- Plate: For a divided plate, the ezpz Mini Mat has three compartments that form an adorable smiley face. The smile design puts babies in a positive mood for mealtime, which promotes the exploration of new foods.
Keep Food Separate: One of the benefits of divided plates is the ability to keep foods separated. If your baby is learning about different textured foods, separation can help improve their food intake. As an example, the following textures would be placed in separate compartments: wet foods (canned pears or peaches cut into spears), moist foods (noodles with meat sauce), and dry foods (peanut butter puffs).
- Plate: Offer a variety of textures to your baby at mealtime in a sectioned plate that suctions to the table. The stable base will help baby to learn how to use their whole hand grasp. But not all divided plates are equal. I use the ezpz Mini Mat for babies since it’s made of food grade silicone and has a low profile; this makes it easy for baby to see all of their food. It is portion sized at 2oz (in each of the eyes) and 4oz (in the smile), making it easy for parents to know exactly how much food their child ate.
Space for Cups + Utensils: For Baby Led Weaning, you want to make sure that you use a baby-led spoon, which is a spoon your baby can hold and feed themself. You also want to offer an open cup for breastmilk or formula (open-cup drinking is a 6-month-old feeding milestone). As you look for mats / plates, it is nice to have space for utensils and cups. This helps to keep mealtime organized and easy for your baby to follow.
- Bowl + Plate: ezpz offers an all-in-one placemat + plate (or placemat + bowl) that suctions to the table. The mat’s stable base reduces tipped bowls / plates and allows the baby to practice their self-feeding skills, for example dipping, which is a 9-month-old feeding milestone. The mat surrounding the plate / bowl provides ample space for utensils and cups (plus captures the mess!).
Using a suction bowl and divided plate can help facilitate a baby’s feeding and swallowing development. This can make mealtime more enjoyable for the parents and less frustrating for baby! #ezpzfun
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).