baby feeding tools
Babies, Tips / How-Tos

5 Essential Baby Feeding Tools to Start Solids

Introducing solid food is one of the most exciting stages of babyhood, but gathering all the baby feeding tools you need can be overwhelming. Never fear—when you see signs that your baby is ready to start solids, reference our list of five essentials baby feeding tools that will keep both you and your baby happy and engaged during mealtime.

1. A high chair

The high chair is where your baby will experiment with new foods and flavors. Its main function is to provide a safe, comfortable place for your baby to enjoy meals. Your child is ready for a high chair when they can sit up unassisted and when they can control their head and neck, usually between four and six months of age. Choose from a variety of designs—from traditional to European-style—and remember to “test drive” a high chair before you buy it. Sit your baby in it and see if they seem comfortable. (Read more about finding the best high chair for your baby.)

baby in high chair with Nurture Life

2. Bibs

Introducing your baby to solids is a naturally messy stage. Though food will likely end up where you don’t want it (including on your baby’s clothes), bibs certainly help minimize the damage. Cloth bibs are the most traditional, but they require laundering to get clean. (No one needs more laundry to do!) Also, most cloth bibs don’t feature a “lip” on the bottom to help catch food. We recommend a silicone bib, like the BabyBjörn Soft Bib or the OXO Tot Waterproof Silicone Roll Up Bib. The spill pocket catches stray bits, and it rinses clean under running water or through a dishwasher. Plus, the adjustable closure means it will fit your baby as they grow. For a more affordable option that still has a lip, check out these patterned 3-pack Bumkins Baby Bibs. Looking for something more heavy duty? Try a sleeved bib that’s basically a shirt, but waterproof and easy to wipe clean.

3. A spoon (or two)

For beginners, the best baby spoons are soft and have a silicone head to help your little one get accustomed to the feel of a utensil in their mouth. Look for spoons with long handles for better control while you’re feeding. This gentle OXO Tot Feeding Spoon works especially well for sensitive, teething gums. You might find that your baby wants a hand in mealtime, too, so keep an extra spoon or two (like NumNum Pre-Spoon Gootensils) nearby so they feel engaged in the process. Though they aren’t going to be adept enough to know what to do with the spoon yet, it is a good idea to introduce a utensil early so they eventually get the hang of being an independent eater.

4. A bowl

A breakable bowl is, of course, off limits. Look for BPA-free plastic or silicone bowls that can withstand anything your baby can throw at it (not to mention if they actually throw it). We like the Munchkin Stay Put Suction Bowl (which comes in a 3-pack!) or the Avanchy Bamboo Spill Proof Suction Bowl if you prefer a non-plastic option. If you find your baby is particularly active during mealtime, you might consider a suction bowl, which affixes to the highchair tray to help keep things in place. We like the Happy Mat, a one-piece placemat and divided serving tray that suctions to the table and can go right in the dishwasher.

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5. Solid foods

Now that you’ve got the essential tools, you need the baby food! Try single ingredient purees that are thin in consistency. Fruit and vegetable purees are the perfect place to start. Beginning with orange vegetables, which are inherently sweeter, then moving towards green veggies before introducing fruit can help your baby develop a more diverse palate from the start. Check out our 10 best fruit and vegetable purees to get you and your baby started, from fiber-rich peaches to protein-packed peas.

Starting solids is a milestone for your baby and you, and at times, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Your baby might need time to adjust to new textures and flavors, or you might be surprised (and frustrated) that mealtimes aren’t going exactly as you’d hoped. But remember: This is an exciting time for both you and your baby, and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be successful. Go slowly, keep a sense of humor and respond to cues from your baby. If you feel like maybe you started solids too soon, back off for a few weeks and try again. A happy baby is typically a happy eater—and that usually means a happy parent. 

If you have any questions about starting solids, baby feeding tools, which baby foods to start with or how to feed your little one, feel free to contact us.meal_time_made_easy_2T

Lara Field at Nurture Life

Lara Field

Lara has been working with Nurture Life since its inception, collaborating with the culinary team on the creation of all menus and recipes to ensure they are nutritionally appropriate and correctly proportioned for every age and stage of a child’s development and providing pediatric nutrition expertise to Nurture Life customers. Lara is the owner/founder of FEED—Forming Early Eating Decisions, a nutrition consulting practice specializing in pediatric nutrition and digestive diseases. Lara has over a decade of experience in clinical practice at two of the top ranked pediatric hospitals in the country, Lurie Children’s Hospital and University of Chicago Medical Center. Lara received her B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and M.S. and dietetic internship from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Lara truly enjoys the process of eating (and feeding!), from procuring the ingredients at various grocery stores and farmers markets, to organizing her pantry/refrigerator at home to make it easy to select healthy options, to preparing balanced meals with her children. Whether it be a decadent treat to a hearty, home-cooked meal, there is no greater satisfaction for Lara than enjoying food with her family.