Travel Gear for Feeding on the Go
I don't know about you, but there's nothing like hanging out with a bunch of babies at home that makes me want to get out of the house :)
Even though it takes us forever to get out the door, we do manage quite a bit of travel with our quadruplet babies Charlie, Claire, Henry and Molly along with their two-year old sister Molly.
As a dietitian, I'm big into feeding, and I love trying out and testing new feeding gear for when we're on the go. We've been on a good number of road trips lately, and I wanted to share just a few of my favorite feeding finds.
At home I have this awesome quadruplet feeding table where I can put all of the kids, contain the mess, and from which nobody can escape.
But on the road, it's a different story. I've tried a few portable high chairs, and most were either too cumbersome (especially when I'm dragging around 4 or 5) or too difficult to clean up (out of the question!)
Summer Pop N' Sit Portable Booster
Thanks to some samples sent by the Summer PR rep, I recently discovered the Summer Pop N' Sit Portable Booster seats...and these are seriously the savior seats I've been searching for. They're super portable, which is key, plus they're pretty cute, which never hurts!
The chairs look like mini kids' versions of camping or sporting chairs you probably use as an adult. They fold down into a really convenient bag that also fits the tray. The tray fitting is key because other portable chairs we have had folded down nice and flat, but then you have to carry around the cumbersome tray. Not so with the Summer stuff! They also have extra straps so you can attach the chair to a larger chair if you don't want to feed on the floor.
We do a baby led approach to feeding, so eating is never a super clean experience to begin with. I've found the canvas of these chairs to be very easy to wipe down and I even got spaghetti sauce out of it no problem last week.
Someone through Instagram recently asked me about how to remove the canvas to clean - and we haven't figured that out yet, but as soon as it gets dirty enough to need the washing machine, I'll check back and let you know!
Babies LOVE These Bowls
I've been a huge fan of EZPZ ever since a fellow dietitian friend sent me their silicone Happy Mats. I love that the company was started by a mom who was fed up with how messy her twin boys and their older brother got with placemats and dishes at mealtime. (Check out her video here - I think it's so awesome...mompreneurs are amazing!)
This is my opinion, but I think the whole line of EZPZ plates and mats (and now bowls!) is pure genius. They use silicone to help the plates "stick" in place. It's a great way to introduce your kids to independent eating, without all of the mess that slippery bowls and plates bring.
EZPZ Happy Bowls
The EZPZ Happy Bowls showed up recently at our house at just the right time. After a few months of just eating with their hands at their quadruplet feeding table, the Quadfather and I decided to move the kids into our formal dining room (aka the only room in relatively "adult" shape in our house :)
We really value eating together as a family (...ok, that's all me - but he's on board most days too :) but containing the mess is a high priority for when we all eat together. I love that the bowls pretty much stay in place, even for the most aggressive eaters (Baby Charlie...far right below)!
Here's a few more shots of the quads back at their feeding table where we pretty much use these bowls nonstop. They're dishwasher safe and free of all of the bad scary plastic stuff.
What I love best about the EZPZ Happy Bowls is that they're stackable. So I can get everyone's breakfast or lunch together at the counter, stack it up and deliver them all at once. (Because you KNOW how angry a hungry baby gets if someone else gets served way before her...I'm talking to you Claire.)
You can also put food on the side of the mat if you're serving separate textures or tastes at one time.
Spoons with a Learning Curve
After a terrible experience spoon-feeding Miss Molly, I went whole hog on a baby led approach to feeding with her quadruplet siblings. Thankfully they eat pretty much everything I serve them, and they do so quite efficiently with their hands.
There's one thing I didn't really think through though with this whole baby led approach though, and that was that eventually they're going to HAVE to learn how to eat with utensils. But regular sized spoons don't seem to work that well for tiny fingers, as I have learned times five.
Kizingo KIDS Spoons
I was super stoked when Kiyah, the founding mother of Kizingo Kids (and a fellow nutrition nerd!) reached out to us to try her right handed toddler spoons. I had no idea how awesome a baby spoon could be, and these are great because they're designed for tiny hands and help promote independent feeding.
Here's what's different about the Kizingo Kids spoons - and a quick video overview from the founder:
Now, to be fair...my babies are far from proficient with the Kizingo Kids spoons (or anything but their hands at this point). But I still throw these spoons in the mix to give them ample opportunity to get the hang of eating with a utensil.
They'll grab them and they get the basic gist, but there's still not a lot of actual spooning happening yet...although I know that will come soon.
One more thing I learned by introducing the right hand spoon, is that Baby Charlie is left handed. There's a left-handed Kizingo Kids spoon coming out soon, and I'll be first in line to pick it up as soon as it's available!
Freeze Dried Fruit to Go
I'm not a big packaged snack person...mostly because I'm cheap and I don't like going to the store. I find I can usually make a healthier snack from scratch (...for cheaper) and we generally end up having mini meals or leftovers as snacks anyway.
But I do have a few favorite convenience snacks I love to keep on hand for special occasions, outings or downright bribery (potty training treats in Miss Molly's case these days).
Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit
One of the reps from Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit recently sent me some bags of fruit to try out. Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with regular fresh fruit to begin with, and I'm pretty hard to convince that fruit in a bag is going to be better than the real deal.
But, I really liked the Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit...and so did everyone in my family! There's nothing added here - no sugar, no salt, just a crunchier, more portable way to enjoy some of your fruit favorites, especially when the fresh stuff might not be in peak season.
We had a front yard picnic the other day when the weather got nice and Molly took to doling out all of the fruit to her babies. They dissolve in the babies' mouths, which is good if you're concerned about choking, which can happen with fresh berries and a very young baby.
The Crunchies were a tad on the messy side with the natural colored fruit powder...but fresh berries aren't an entirely sterile or clean experience either I guess. And as with pretty much everything, you can order these from Amazon - they're also super lightweight which I like as a snack that won't load down my bag.
So there you have it...just a few of our favs for food on the go. I'd love to hear which products work for your mobile mealtimes. Please share your comments below!