A few ideas for keeping mealtimes manageable while also ensuring that your baby is getting the nourishment he needs.

 

Dropped spoons, thrown crackers, ripped bibs—now that your baby actively participates in his own feeding, you may need a few ideas for keeping mealtimes manageable while also ensuring that he’s getting the nourishment he needs. Here, real moms share lessons learned from experience.

Family Time

  • "We work really hard to eat meals together as a family. This means eating a little earlier than we might like in order to accommodate our daughter’s feeding schedule, but we think it’s important to have this family ritual. Sometimes my husband and I just eat salad when she eats, then we do the bedtime thing for her after she eats, and have our entrees once she goes to bed. It works pretty well, and she gets the idea that meals are a shared experience.”
    —Tina O.

Tools of the Trade

  • “Those utensils called sporks—like a spoon and a fork in one, but made of plastic and designed for kids—work really well. They’re easier for a little hand to control.”
    —Abby W.
  • “My baby figured out how to tear off his bibs, the ones that have Velcro to attach them at the neck. I had to replace them with ones that had snaps, so he couldn’t pull them off in the middle of a meal.”
    —Marcia V.

Figuring Out Favorites

  • “I don’t know what I would do without dry cereal. There are many different kinds that work for babies and that are healthy. I put cereal in ziplock plastic bags and stick them in the diaper bag, so I always have some handy. Sometimes Kenny likes to play with it, and sometimes he likes to eat it.”
    —Gabrielle F.
  • “Yogurt is one of my baby’s favorite foods. But I learned the hard way to put a small amount in the bowl at a time. Once I spooned a whole container in there—I just wasn’t thinking—and after Zoe had her fill, she proceeded to smear the rest all over her high chair tray, her body, and her hair. She sure was happy about it, though!”
    —Alexa J.

For Special Occasions

  • “I dilute juice so that it’s one part juice and two parts water. My baby doesn’t know what it’s supposed to taste like, so I guess to him it tastes just fine. The carton of juice lasts a lot longer, but more important, it doesn’t give him as much sugar. I only give juice as an occasional treat, usually with a snack. And I never let him walk around with a bottle full of it. It’s a high chair–only drink.”
    —Reya P.