Real Simple Mama

Real. Simple. Parenting.

The Best Gear for Baby Led Weaning!

Baby led weaning is a fun, healthy way to give solids to your little one. I’ve practiced BLW with two kids and I adore it! There’s a lot to learn and a lot of gear out there. After three years of baby led weaning under my roof, I’ve finally made a list of the best gear for baby led weaning. This list includes bibs, high chairs, silverware, plates/bowls, cups, and some other fun stuff!

Now I pass it on to you!

I do have affiliate links in this article. I’ve bought quite a few items for my kids’ BLW, and these are the ones I honestly like the best! I hope that you do, too. Buying these items from my links helps support my family, and we thank you!

Need some introductory info on BLW? Check out my other informative posts here!

The Best Gear for Baby Led Weaning! - Real Simple Mama

Cups:

Munchkin 360, ReFlo Smart Cup

Good grief, we’ve tried so many sippy cups. Some always leaked, some were a pain to get clean, and some just didn’t get used because my kid thought they felt weird. Go figure.

This cup by Munchkin is my favorite: they’re called the 360 because there is no “right” spot to drink out of. The child uses suction to drink liquid from anywhere around the lid!

The cups come with or without handles, in 7 or 10 ounce sizes, and in basic solid colors. There are a total of three pieces, and the lid is in two easy-to-snap-apart pieces for simple sterilization and cleaning. They’re also dishwasher safe, hallelujah!

We have these things all over the place: in the carseat cup holders, on the dinner table, and on our nightstand for that late night “Can I have a drink of water?” This cup is truly the easiest to grab and drink from.

Munchkin claims that they’re spill-proof, and that’s mostly true. If they’re launched from a distance (like, oh I don’t know, off of a high chair) they will spill a small amount of liquid onto the floor just from impact. We’re talking about a teaspoon. If the lid is completely screwed on, the cup shouldn’t leak if it just tips over.

The ReFlo Smart Cup is for a bit more advanced child, but it is brilliant. It’s a normal-looking plastic cup which has a lid, sort of. The “flow-control insert” fits into the cup, and slowly allows liquid to pass through it to the cup opening. Your child drinks from any spot around the rim, without having to suck liquid out like with a bottle/straw/sippy. It’s not spill-proof per se, but the liquid will not all spill over at once. It’s like learning to drink from a big cup, on a delay. It’s super easy to clean, and when your kid is a bit older you can use it like a normal cup… just don’t put the insert inside!

Once your babe is a bit older, don’t be afraid to let them try a small amount of liquid in a real cup. Like, one without a lid. Start with about a teaspoon of water. We only do this when the kids are seated at the table, but I don’t want to wait too long to start teaching them how to control the glass and pace themselves. My kids were ready around one year old.

Bibs:

Tommee Tippee, Summer Infant

Like a lot of other stuff on this list, we’ve tried tons of bibs. My first kid was a drooling maniac, and my second kid is an extra messy eater. Out of all the bibs we’ve tried, these pocketed silicone ones by Tommee Tippee are by far my favorite (and the only ones I’ll recommend).

I hate cloth bibs because they are more of a pain to clean, and there’s a high likelihood that the mess will still get on your kid’s clothes. And we learned early on that our bibs need to have that “catch-all” pocket on the front.Other bibs that we tried were either flimsy, or really hard plastic that hurt my baby when she moved her arms or leaned forward. The firmness of the silicone on these Tommee Tippee Explora Easy-Roll bibs is the perfect balance of stability and flexibility.

The hook clasp in the back has various settings for whatever height you need. We tuck the pocket under the high chair tray, holding the bib’s pocket open so that it catches all of those loose bits of rice or veggies.

Summer Infant’s Bibbity Rinse and Roll bib is the same concept as the Tommee Tippee one above, but it’s a bit bulkier. I put it on here because if you have a toddler on the larger end of the growth chart, this one may be better. The neck piece and adjustable pegs are thicker, which means it engulfs my tiny little toddler; however, once she’s grown some more this one will work just fine. Just think of it as a larger version of the Tommee Tippee.

When my daughter is done eating, I unclip the bib and toss it on the high chair tray, which I snap off. A quick wash (or toss em in the dishwasher) and you’re good to go!

bib display at Target for BLW baby solid foods - Real Simpla Mama

the bib display at Target – I have tried (and I hate) 99% of these!

Bonus hack: store your extra, clean bibs on the back of the high chair for convenience.

High Chair:

Baby Trend 2

Our high chair is like one of the central points in our house. Seriously, this thing is utilized multiple times a day – and it has been for over three years!

Our Baby Trend 2 has been an invaluable purchase as our kiddos started solids. It’s easy to clean, easy to adjust, and easy to manuever. You can adjust the height, as well as the recline.

My favorite quality has to be the removable tray. Essentially you have the heavy-duty piece which has the locking mechanism on it, which will slide and lock into place after your child is buckled in. (Bonus: this tray hooks onto the back legs of the chair when not in use, and the whole high chair can fold up like an easel for easy storage!)

But the tabletop piece has a lightweight tray which can snap off and go to the sink to be washed. This means that you don’t have to worry about the locking mechanisms getting wet or rusted. They stay on the high chair at all times, and the top piece is removable.

We put our kids in the high chair for meals as well as some activities, like playing with an ice cube or starting to finger paint. It’s never held onto any stains, and we’ve had no issues with parts breaking or losing functionality. (We do, however, have a toddler who loves to flip the wheel locks.)

Like all baby equipment, make sure that you fill out and mail in your registration card; this will make sure that you’re contacted in the case of a recall or other important safety information. And file away those manuals!

high chair tray baby trend 2 - Real Simple Mama

viola! top tray coming off of lower heavy tray

Silverware:

Munchkin, NUK Gerber Graduates, First Years, RePlay

Munchkin

This is, in my opinion, the best spoon to use for purees or baby food. The Munchkin Soft Tip Infant Spoon has a nice long handle for you to hold on to, and the other end is small but deep enough to hold a decent amount of food.

The silicone is rather soft, which is good; but that also means that it can scratch easily, so be careful about letting your teething babe chew on these!

NUK Gerber Graduates

This is another great choice for feeding your baby softer or pureed foods. They’re called the NUK Gerber Graduates Rest Easy spoons. If you look at the image below, you can see that they easily prop themselves up, which is fantastic if you’re wanting to avoid a mess on your table!
The bowl of the spoon is flat and narrow, which can be a disadvantage if you’re wanting to feed a bit more with every bite; however, there is an aspect of this that I like. That flat end of the spoon bowl is great for cutting soft foods (like peas or blueberries) in half.

Just like the Munchkins above, these are very easy to scratch. So be careful with them, and throw them away if they start to fall apart or if a groove gets too deep.

First Years

This First Years set of forks and spoons is one of the best for letting your child self-feed. They’re super lightweight and they have a short handle. They also win the award for most affordable (look at how many pieces you get in the set!). I have a few of these floating around in my diaper bag too, for restaurant trips.

RePlay

RePlay’s gear, made out of recycled plastic, is great once your child is a little bit older. You can get various sets of spoons-only, or spoons and forks, in different color schemes. They’re lightweight and a good size for you or your kid to hold; the bowl of the spoon is rather wide and square, but it’s my son’s favorite for soup or cereal!
You will pay a bit more for this brand, but I like them especially for my older kid. And I love the cause!

And yes, I did look up “anatomy of a spoon” so that I could accurately describe these things to you guys.

silverware BLW - Real Simple Mama

they’re taking over our silverware drawer, too

Bowls and Plates:

Boon Catch Plate, RePlay, Munchkin

Boon Catch Plate

I love the idea of a suction cup on the bottom of a plate or bowl for my kids. The problem is, I’ve tried many brands and didn’t really feel that any of them did a good job.

Then there’s this plate, by Boon. It also has a suction cup bottom but I honestly find that it doesn’t “stick” particularly well. So for that reason, it wouldn’t have made this list.

But I do love the “catch” aspect – this plate has an extra silicone “lip” on it for catching those messes before they happen. And that has saved us from messes a thousand times!

Be careful with this one in the microwave – that suction cup on the bottom can get warped, and then it won’t seal onto the table properly.

RePlay

I recently found these plates by RePlay and love them! I had been looking for some sectioned-off plates that are a bit larger, and these are fantastic.
These plates are made from recycled materials and are very lightweight. The colors are cute and they’re easy to clean (and also dishwasher safe).

My only complaint is that I feel like I have to scrub these a bit more to get grease off. So I just don’t serve anything made with olive oil or butter in these. 

Munchkin

Like every other Munchkin product I’ve bought, I find that these simple bowls and plates work just fine. These aren’t particularly innovative, but they’re really affordable and serve their purpose well. I like the  bowls in particular because they are asymmetrical across the top. Don’t ask me why, I just like it! I must have about 100 of these all over my house, and I use the bowls for myself, too.

Bonus: I can get these at my local grocery store.

Other Helpful BLW Gear

Nuby Nibbler

Nuby Nibbler mesh snack pops are fantastic for when you’re on the go, or when you want to get something done (for me lately, it’s a quick workout with a teething toddler). You can put all kinds of treats in the little net bag, from apple pieces to frozen blueberries to frozen breastmilk! Your baby can happily gnaw away and their saliva and gums will help them get the flavors as they slowly consume the food. I call them “apple pops” for my daughter, and just put big chunks of raw apple in for her to chew on. She’s 15 months old, and has 8+ teeth, and this is still effective!

The food can’t choke your baby since they’re only able to get out pieces which can fit through the net; just make sure that you inspect it on a regular basis, and throw it away at the first signs of ripping.

I do find that the net piece can get stained. While that doesn’t affect its usefulness, the discoloring can look pretty gross. Have no fear: it’s nothing that some good ole sunshine can’t cure!

I do suggest having your child wear a bib as they might get a bit messy (they’re eating slowly and will probably drool a lot); if your kid loves to throw things off their high chair, use a bungee to attach the snack pop to the side of the high chair.

This is also not something which is safe to give when you’re not supervising your child, e.g. in the car.

Munchkin Snack Catcher Cups with Lids

Ok, these things are fantastic. I absolutely love them and we have lots of them. It’s called the Munchkin Snack Catcher, and here’s why: it’s a snack cup with handles, but the lid works to keep your kid from spilling cereal or berries all over the place. And it actually works. (I’ve sold more than one parent on these while perusing Target.) In other words, when your kid grabs a handful of Cheerios, and some fall out of their hand, they will fall back into the cup, instead of all over the place.

The lid just snaps on and off, and I’ve never had a problem with it coming off while my child’s hand is stuck inside. It also looks like it might be sharp, but no injuries here! These things are just so great.

While they work great for a treat at the grocery store, and you can easily use a bungee clip to keep them in place, be careful about giving your child any food in the car. Even if you can see them, it’s not worth the risk of a choking hazard.

Gerber Travel Placemat

Never be (as) embarrassed by a messy toddler in a restaurant! This little silicone mat by Gerber stays in my diaper bag, and is rolled out when we eat somewhere that doesn’t have a high chair with a tray. It has a little lip all the way around and is easily cleaned. Now I can just put lots of foods (like the rice, fajita chicken, and cheese you see in the photo) onto the mat without worrying about germs or breaking a plate.

tiny gerber placemat blw - real simple mama

Gerber placemat and Munchkin 360 at work in the wild!

Shutterfly Custom Kids’ Placemats

I’m a sucker for Shutterfly; I love that website more than I should. And I’ve collected four placemats over the last year or two, by signing up for their email list and waiting until they have a “get a free gift” option. So I get one of these custom-made with my kid’s name on it, and I only pay about $4 for shipping. That’s sticking it to the system!

They’re like a laminated plastic and they’re really great. We also use them for crafts like Play-Doh or paint.

Cloth Wipes

I’ll just point out that if you’re doing BLW, you’re going to go through billions of napkins or wipes. May I suggest using cloth instead? I bought some wipes on Etsy for really cheap, and now just keep them in an old Pampers wipes box on my table. We go through more than 15 a day, but my son knows to just go toss one on the dryer when he’s done. Once or twice a week, I wash them all and restock our wipes box. I add a little water (you could also make a mixture with castile soap, coconut oil, essential oils, whatever) and we’re good to go! I think wet wipes are much more effective in cleaning up a mess than a dry paper napkin.

And hey, we’re saving the environment. Plus lots of money.

cloth wipes - Real Simple Mama

cloth wipes in an old wipes container

Bungee Clips

I’m gonna be real honest here and say that I got these from a secondhand kids’ store, but they’re so useful! We have them for the high chair (for toys as well as the snack pops), stroller, and the walker for when I need to do a workout at home. One end has a plastic clip, and the other end is a loop of the same elastic fabric. These work great for cups, snack holders, teethers, and toys! And I just put them in a delicates bag and throw them in the washer when they get too disgusting.

baby bungee clip - Real Simple Mama

if you’re crafty, you should make these and sell them!

The closest thing I can find on Amazon for you is the Baby Buddy Safety Strap, which still looks pretty versatile. They have different color combinations and measure about 11 inches long.
You could always get some of those baby loop clips (like these from Bright Starts) and put them together, too! I swear these things multiply in our home, I think I’ll be finding them in drawers until my kids are in college. We use them for everything!I personally really hate pacifier clips, because my daughter wants to chew on the metal end and that is not ok!

Germ-Killing, Baby-Safe Wipes

I know, I know… I was just talking about how cloth wipes are better for the environment because they’re not wasteful. But they’re also not super practical for when you’re out and about (not for me, anyway). So I have a few packs of these alcohol-free germ-killing baby wipes in the car or in my diaper bag. They’re ideal for a quick cleaning of hands after playing at the park or using a public bathroom, before my minions start shoving food into their mouths. This is also not just a normal baby wipe, but these are designed to kill germs.

Johnson and Johnson makes their own version too, and you can also find the off-brand ones at Target or other retailers (the packages are yellow).

Just be sure you’re using a disinfecting wipe which is safe for baby hands: that means no Clorox!

A Few Guidelines

While all of these bowls, plates, and cups are microwave-safe, don’t heat any item for more than a minute at a time. You don’t want to burn your child, and you don’t want to warp the plastic. And always check temperatures (I use my pinky) before feeding your babe.

Additionally, try to cut up foods before putting them on the bowls or plates; I’ve ruined a few because I used a sharp knife on them. Bacteria can grow in those grooves, so if this happens then just toss the dish.

mmm corn baby toddler blw- Real Simple Mama

mmm. corn.

Speaking of bacteria, you want to make sure that your spoons and forks don’t get scratched up, either. Those grooves are impossible to clean thoroughly. Plus, you don’t want your child to get a cut on their lip because of a sharp edge. (I’ve done it by accident and I felt like a monster.) So please don’t be cheap: just throw away and replace anything which gets damaged!

Tah-dah! That concludes my massive list of the best baby led weaning gear we’ve tried!

Want more hacks for baby led weaning? I have an entire article, with photos, for you right here!

Let me know which BLW gear you love in your home! Comment below so we can all help each other out!

RealSimpleMama.com

and, in conclusion, here’s my Kiddo with a “grape butt.” Never a dull moment, folks!

4 Comments

  1. Wow this is quite a comprehensive list!!! I wish I had this for my first child. Like you, I have drawers full of mesh feeders, different spoons, different sippy cups… and the list goes on. I can’t wait until the kids are old enough so that I can use those drawers for my other kitchen gadgets 🙂

    • The Mama

      February 22, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Agreed! I won’t know what to do with all of that space! And I didn’t think to do this list until Kid #2… we’ve spent so much money on mediocre stuff that I’m hoping I can help others not waste their cash!

      • This is a very helpful list. Thank you! May I ask what ‘suction’ bowl or plate you do recommend? We’re heading into soup season here in NZ and wanting to find something suitable. Thanks! 🙂

        • The Mama

          April 13, 2017 at 8:52 am

          Thanks so much! I’m glad it’s been useful. Honestly I think that the Boon sets are probably better than the others (including Munchkin, which surprised me). A few tips, though: I find that nothing sticks really well to a high chair or a wooden table, so use a plastic placemat or something else down first, and stick the bowl to that. Additionally, never put those in the dishwasher (or use super hot water to clean), as that will warp the seal on the bottom and then they won’t stick!
          Let me know what ends up working for you!

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Real Simple Mama

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: