Below is a list of gear that will make feeding your baby more efficient and enjoyable.
We have the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair, baby set and tray, which has been awesome. It is adjustable – it is meant to grow with your baby and can be used well into their toddler years. It is wooden, has a place for your baby’s feet to rest and is easy to clean. For a baby, you'll need the baby set, which include a harness and a plastic bowl seat and back support. The tray is also quite useful, as it makes cleanup so much easier! It clicks on and off really easily and washes well.
Other high chairs popular among friends and acquaintances include:
This IKEA chair could be a great backup chair for your parents’ or in-laws’ house. It is cheap and easy to clean and many people love it!
This Boon chair is functional and stylish. A bunch of my friends have it and love it.
This OXO chair offers good functionality at a good price point.
Portable High Chairs
For eating out, this Inglesina chair is amazing! It attaches right to the table. It eliminates the needs to rely on a restaurant's high chair, and it makes feeding your baby outside the house very simple. We recently got the tray, which clips on top of the arms and covers the whole area in front of the chair. I wish we had gotten it months ago! It really helps with the mess and with cleanup.
We started out using these Bumkins soft bibs, which we bought in a pinch when we were out of town in Santa Barbara. They were fine for the beginning, but the pocket doesn’t catch food that well. The bib actually catches food more effectively if you turn it inside out.
Now, we use the Baby Bjorn bibs. They are just awesome. They are much firmer than the Bumkins bibs and have a fairly large pocket that is extremely effective at catching food! Now that Theo is older and more aware, he often picks food out of the pocket when it falls in there and he still wants it. ;) It’s very amusing to watch!
For utensils, we use Beaba silicone spoons and forks. They are very ergonomic and easy to use and clean. Of course, we have never fed Theo with a spoon or fork (i.e., put it in his mouth), as that is against the BLW philosophy. We do sometimes put food on a spoon or fork and let him pick it up and eat it himself. All of the food doesn’t always make it into his mouth, but that’s part of the experience! Now that he’s older, he is a pro at picking up utensils and putting the food in his mouth. Even when he first started solids, however, he quickly figured out his own efficient system to manage it. He would often pick up the spoon and bring it to his mouth, and then flip it over in order to scrape/suck the food off. Very resourceful, indeed! It was (and still is) incredible to watch. Handling utensils has definitely improved his fine motor skills and dexterity.
This is the first set we used. We used it from about months 6 to 8.
Now, we are using this set (from about 8 months on).
Prepping the floor
Although we don’t prep the floor, as our dog, Zoe is very efficient at cleaning up, some people choose to lay down a plastic tablecloth or sheet in order to catch falling food. This mat could definitely aid with cleanup, and may be a good option for those without pets waiting excitedly below the baby’s high chair. ;)
We have these suction bowls and use them from time to time. The suction isn’t the best, especially if the tray is a little messy and slippery. Nonetheless, I think it’s good to introduce some sort of bowl that your baby can experiment with. Theo often picks his up and tries to drink out of it, which is hilarious to watch! These bowls can also be good for more runny foods, like oatmeal, yogurt, etc. You could put some yogurt in, for example, and let your baby explore with his hands and/or a spoon or fork.
For more detailed information about cups and introducing liquids with solids, see my post about introducing water with solids.
We have two of the Munchkin 360 cups with a recessed lid. We have these but Theo hasn’t gotten the hang of them yet. They're for older babies and toddlers. How do they work, you might ask? The suction between the top rubber piece and the handle / perforated piece is what keeps the liquid from spilling. (Of course, if they throw it across the room, some liquid does come out.) The liquid seeps through when they suck on the edge of the cup.
Other cups that come highly recommended include:
The Zoli straw cup, which some can use as early as 6 months, while others not until later. It has a weighted straw like the Munchkin straw cup.
The Innobaby Stainless Straw cup also has a weighted straw.
Thinkbaby now makes a stainless steel straw cup.
After a meal, your baby will be messy! We clean Theo with Seventh Generation wipes, which we order through Amazon Subscribe & Save at a discount.
Water Wipes are another excellent option for cleanup, with only 2 ingredients - 99.9% purified water and 0.1% fruit extract.
At home, we also remove his clothes (leaving just his diaper) before eating, which makes for easier cleanup.
All photos from Amazon.