One of the exciting milestones we waited for with our son was when he would finally be able to taste food. We followed current guidance from medical boards, such as the NHS and waited until 6 months to start weaning. In true First-Time-Mum fashion, I spent weeks and weeks researching the best first foods for babies, good recipes and combinations to try all in a bid to give him the best nutritional start in life and to try and foster a good relationship with food. I decided to go with traditional weaning with a little bit of finger foods here and there and focused more on veggies first.
However, like many seasoned mums, I soon came to discover that weaning could be a bit of a headache at times and it wasn’t long before I was missing the days when my son just relied on drinking milk (and it was more convenient because of breastfeeding!). The food prep, the steaming, the pureeing and not to mention the mess he made just trying to get him to try a small spoon of food, if that!
It got to a point where despite trying to be calm and being so focused on creating a “good relationship” with food, I was getting stressed out as often he wouldn’t even show that much interest in food, or would only be hungry enough to eat at 1 or 2 meals. Despite my hardest efforts, much of it ended up on him, the highchair or the floor. I would always give him finger foods and snacks on his highchair tray and he did seem to enjoy feeding himself berries or other small snacks.
Looking back now though, I realise things like teething can play a big impact on a baby’s appetite (and my son was a very late teether!). And having spoken to more experienced mums I realise now that whilst kids may not always start as good eaters, they will always end up eating eventually when they are hungry, you just have to have a bit of patience, keep offering them a variety and model a good example yourself. And I mean let’s be honest, eating is a fundamental human function to live, so they will pick it up at one point, even if it’s not when they’re 6 months old!
I used to and still do follow many social media accounts about weaning or baby recipes in a bid to get my son to eat better or make meal times more fun. Some popular ones in the UK at the moment being Weanin15 or Whatmummymakes. I would often see them not only creating healthy and vibrant dishes for the babies but would also be amazed at how they presented the food in really cute tableware. I was just using basic Tommy Tippee bowls at that point. There was a big trend in Bamboo tableware for kids, from brands such as Bamboo Bamboo, which came in a variety of different cute animal shapes. Not only is it cited to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable, many of the plates had little divided sections and had a suction ability which meant your little tot wouldn’t be able to chuck the plate off their highchair. I loved the idea of divided sections as it seemed to make eating more fun with the ability to make a varied picky meal with little sides and the suction feature was another appealing draw. However, I did find the Bamboo Bamboo tableware to be very expensive considering this was something I was not sure my little one would get much use out of and also because as mentioned, food times were a bit of a battle anyways.
So I started to look around for a cheaper altternative which still had the suction and divided sections features. In my search, I came across these Munchkin Stay Divided Suction Plates. I was familiar with Munchkin as a reputable and trustworthy brand (I have a review of their bath mat here). And their plates could be bought for a much cheaper price. I bought a single plate from eBay for £6.20. Made with BPA free plastic, they are not as environmentally frienly as the Bamboo plate, I know, but they are easier to clean and I don’t have to worry about maintaing them with coconut oil or anything like that.
So onto my use of it. The suction is alright, it doesn’t slip off but if my son was determined enough then he could get it off pretty quickly. I have tried other plates with worse suction though which would slide right off if there was any water so it’s not the worst. The divided sections are very cute though. It is split into 3 parts, one section taking up 1/2 of the plate and the other 2 sections taking 1/4 each. It does mean I can sometimes do a bit of a picky lunch for my son and if it is a food I’m not sure he will like (such as an omlette) then I can have some fruit or peas in the smaller sections to try and entice him a bit. However, if I’m trying to offer him a bit more of a substantial meal such as rice or curry, the biggest section on its own feels too small so the divided sections become a bit redundant. In instances like that, a bowl or plate is far more practical and that’s what I find myself doing more these days. I like it best for giving him snacks or cut up fruit, but like previously mentioned I can just as easily do that with just the highchair tray.
I am a bit of an old school mum in the sense that I still feed my son a lot myself. I am amazed when I see babies my son’s age and younger feeding themselves confidently but I’ve not done as much self feeding because he always eats more when I feed him and it’s also far less messy! As a result of me feeding him more, I now often just use our normal plates and bowls to do lunch time and dinner time for him. So it does make me wonder if these trendy suction and divded plates are more useful for baby led weaning or babies good at self feeding.
Though it is fun to use at times, I don’t actually get much use out of Munchkin Plate so it has been an unnecessary purchase for us. It’s most redeeming factor has been that it didn’t cost that much. If I had paid double the price, I would definitely be feeling a bit of guilt!
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