13 Feeding Tools for Babies and Toddlers That Saved Our Lives

published Feb 27, 2022
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Credit: Courtesy of Grabease, Beaba, Nordstrom, Bed Bath and Beyond

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When the pediatrician said it was time to start solids, I was nervous. Feeding my infant daughter was a challenge all by itself, but we’d gotten into a rhythm. I was pretty sure I could make a bottle in my sleep (and sometimes it felt like I did just that). But I’d heard the stories from my friends in the midst of it — learning how to eat was a messy process, complete with food waste and possible tears on both sides. We might have to try something many times before she’d even take more than a bite, if that. I knew I couldn’t keep giving her bottles forever, but it sure sounded tempting. 

As with other areas of anxiety in my life, I tried to surround myself with good tools that might smooth my path a bit. Some of these made what could have been frustrating much easier, others are items friends swear by, and still others are things I wish I’d found for this stage. Another way I tried to make things easier was in trying to select tools that were pretty, or at least the most aesthetically pleasing ones I could find. My daughter doesn’t care, but good design makes mealtime a lot more relaxing for me — at least in one way. 

Here’s hoping some of these help make the weaning and learning to eat process go down easier for you and your little one.

Seating Tools

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At first glance, a high chair seems like something you won’t need too long, hardly something you need to think about the way you would a piece of furniture you plan to keep for some time. But the thing about the Tripp Trapp — which has an extremely loyal following — is that it is designed to grow with your child from the time they can’t hold up their head, until they are enjoying family meals, and finally sitting without buckles. In theory, they could use this chair through adulthood. The sleek design comes in a variety of colors to coordinate with any decor, and you can buy cushions and accessories for all the stages. It’s a little pricier than many high chairs, but if you plan to use it even half as long as advertised, it might be worth it. My 2-1/2-year-old daughter is just about ready for us to move the footrests down and remove the toddler seat for good.

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Pottery Barn Kids

Whether you’re using it at home or on the go, this portable high chair is a favorite. It is quick to attach and set up, and designed to leave surfaces scratch-free. It fits babies 6 months to 36 months (up to 37 pounds). If you’re not using it, it flattens out and fits in a carrying bag for a small footprint in a closet or in the back of a car, but if you do want to leave it out, it’s modern and understated. This is a great choice for visiting friends or family or dinner on a restaurant patio.


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Ezpz is the rare brand that marries pediatric feeding specialist-recommended products with attractive design and a rainbow of beautiful color choices, all made with dishwasher-safe silicone. While they are well known for their large placemats that suction to the table, tinier people can get started with a set that includes a suctioning bowl, tiny open cup, and soft silicone spoons. Once we were done with this size spoon, my daughter graduated to the next size up (a fork and spoon set) which includes harder tips to make scooping and piercing easier, as well as the slightly larger cup with a lid and straw, all available in many of the same colors for continuity.

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The Tot

When I was ready for less breakable dishes, I was looking for two things — something other than plastic, and a material that could still go in the dishwasher. I found it in Ekobo’s bamboo dishes, which come in an array of colors and include bowls, plates, spoons, cups, and cups for hot drinks. They come in Scandinavian-inspired colors, a variety of beautiful designs, and these joyful pops of color. I smile every time I look at them, and my daughter is very specific about which color she wants at each moment in time.

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I’ve learned that despite my best efforts, my daughter has opinions on what spoon she wants at any given time, and they change frequently. I’ve learned that having a few different kinds of feeding utensils is in my best interest. It’s hard to resist these organically shaped spoons from Olababy. The longer one is meant for feeding while the shorter one is a training spoon. They also have a training spoon and fork in the same style for older kids. Besides how beautiful they are, I love that they are silicone and that you can suction them to any surface rather than setting down a messy spoon between bites.


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There are so many cute bibs out there, but the ones I couldn’t live without were silicone for easy cleaning and came with a pocket to catch the majority of what didn’t make it into my daughter’s mouth. These come in a wide variety of designs. I like the understated elegance of this one, and it still has rockets on it for some playfulness.

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Sometimes you have to pull out all the stops, especially when you’re serving something particularly messy. (Honestly, I’ve often thought that I might need a parent poncho). This goes far beyond a bib and blankets your little one in protection so that they are likely to emerge from the meal with their clothes intact. A friend of mine swears by this for anything with sauce. It comes in several cute styles, though this one is all about function.

Prep and Storage Tools

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If you’re making your own baby food or just end up with tiny odds and ends to refrigerate or freeze, these 4oz containers are for you. I like the glass versions, but they also come in plastic and silicone. I loved these in the baby food days and still use them for prepping snacks, or when I just have a little bit of leftovers. Babies aside: these are also the perfect size for a spirit to add to a cocktail, along with a can of tonic, for example, or for bringing condiments to a picnic. The uses are endless, way beyond the baby years.

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Williams Sonoma

This French baby food maker has a following for a reason. It will steam cook raw chicken, fish, veggies, and fruits. Everything is ready in 20 minutes or less. This version has a glass bowl and stainless steel steaming basket. It can steam cook, blend, reheat, and defrost. The bowl is dishwasher-safe and has over five cups capacity. Basically, you can do every part of baby food making with one device. It could not be more convenient. It is pricey, though they do make other models at a slightly lower price point, but it has the potential to be worth it if you want to make your baby food from scratch quickly and easily with full control of ingredients.

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This grape cutter from OXO might not be the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, but it quickly and easily quarters grapes, taking them from choking hazards to delicious snacks. If you’ve ever spent the majority of an afternoon making a bag of grapes edible for your child, this one will save you. It works on cherry tomatoes, too!

On the Go Eating and Drinking

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I love the Miracle 360 cups because, unlike many sippy cups, they are designed to be very similar to open cups and won’t negatively impact a kid’s dental development. My daughter loves these ones especially because they have a variety of animal species on them (part of the sales for this line go to animal welfare organizations). These don’t spill unless they are thrown or fall from a great height (nothing is perfect) and they come in a training size with handles as well as larger sizes without. These are great when you’re out and about as well as at home. And it’s the perfect water cup to take to bed.

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Bed Bath & Beyond

If you’re at the beginning of the solids journey but still have formula in the mix, this is a great choice. One of the containers has a removable lid designed for pouring formula. When you’re done with that stage, pop it out and use it for snacks. You can separate the containers or keep them together depending on what you need. These are dishwasher-safe and come in colors I would actually choose.

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Whether you’re packing a lunch or some snacks for the park, this bento box checks all the boxes. It’s made of silicone and decorated in a variety of adorable patterns and colors. This will be one baby item you won’t want to get rid of in a hurry. It’s dishwasher-safe and features five leak-proof compartments. You might want to order multiples and snag one for yourself.