5 Benefits of Using a Baby Plate or Bowl
When it’s time for baby’s first bites of real food - do you toss it on the tray and call it a day? No way! Here are 5 reasons why baby benefits when you use a baby plate or bowl.
1.) It’s All About the Portions People
As a dietitian and feeding specialist who has taught thousands of families and healthcare professionals how to do baby-led weaning, the number one mistake I see parents and caregivers make when baby is starting solids has to do with portion size.
I see instagram pictures of babies facing piles of protein. And servings sizes of starches that even toddlers couldn’t eat! And then parents feeling dejected or defeated when baby won’t eat “all the food” he was given.
So let’s get real about portions people: baby portion sizes are smaller than you think!
A divided baby plate or mat is a wonderful guide to keeping portions in check. Now don’t forget that your baby still gets the majority of nutrition he or she needs from breastmilk or infant formula up until age 1. The solid foods we offer do provide SOME nutrition, but they’re also an opportunity for baby to try out new tastes and textures and play and explore with this new thing called food.
The preferred baby plate that I use at home and in practice is the Mini Mat from ezpz. It has two 2-oz and one 4-oz portion compartments that are designed in the shape of a happy smile.
You might only fill each section of the plate 1/4 or 1/2 full for babies just starting out with solid food, but I love the visual reminder that less is more here, and keeping portions small is more appropriate for babies and their tiny tummies.
You can click here to get these ezpz MiniMats and enter code KATIE10 at checkout for an additional 10% off.
2.) Variety is the Spice of Life
Another benefit of using a divided silicon baby plate or mat is that it acts as a visual reminder that baby should be having different types of food.
We know that babies who are exposed to a greater number of tastes, foods and flavors in the 6-18 month period of life has a better chance of becoming an eager eater and lower risk of picky eating later in life.
So what’s the best way to bump up these exposures?
Try to show your baby 2-3 different foods at 2-3 meals per day. Now they don’t ALL have to be totally different foods - repurposing foods safely or incorporating leftovers are both great ideas.
But a divided plate with 3 separate segments helps remind you that baby needs to be seeing lots of different types of foods and it helps to get into the habit of doing that at each meal.
3.) Plates and Bowls Minimize Mess
You might think adding a baby bowl or plate to the mix is just going to make more dishes. And yes, it’s one (or 2) more dishes for you to do. But I would argue that bringing a baby plate or bowl to the table actually helps cut DOWN on mess!
Feeding a baby - especially if you are doing baby-led weaning, can be a bit of a messy endeavor. But in my practice I’ve found that babies who sit in front of a bowl or a plate do better with minimizing mess.
Babies faced just with food on a tray will swipe it from side to side and most of it ends up on the floor. With the boundary of the sections of a divided plate or mat or bowl, baby can scoop food into mouth more easily, so less of it ends up on the floor.
4.) Motor Skill Development
Baby bowls and plates can help facilitate development of motor skills associated with eating.
With the soft boundary of a silicon bowl or plate edge (like the design ezpz mats and bowls invented, designed, created and are known for) baby has the ability to start raking food and actually getting some of it in her mouth!
5.) Making Food Fun
ezpz is one of my favorite brands in the infant and child feeding space - because not only do they make feeding easy peasy…but it also makes mealtime FUN!
Feeding your baby SHOULD be fun, and the Happy Mat with its smiley face design does just that. The 4 oz portion of the mini mat is shaped like an actual smile situated below the two 2-oz portion “eye” parts.
And as my friend and colleague Dawn Winkelmann of Spectrum Speech - also the resident feeding expert at ezpz - likes to remind families, the ezpz bowls and mats help parents easily create food art…which no matter how simple the arrangement of food art is - can engage baby in a way that just serving food off of a tray is unlikely to do.
(If you are like me and totally dysfunctional when it comes to food art - check out the great designs in the Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat book written by Ms. Dawn and the team at ezpz.)
Added bonus when it comes to making food fun: the wide array of bright, vibrant colors that the ezpz Mini Mats, Mini Bowls and Tiny Bowls come in will catch any baby’s eye and brighten up mealtime for the whole family.
If you want to check out some ezpz mats and bowls for your baby(ies), visit ezpzfun.com and enter code KATIE10 at checkout to save 10% on all ezpz products.