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Top 10 Essentials for Feeding Baby on the Go

October 23, 2011

Taking your solid food eating baby out to eat for the first time – or even contemplating such an event – can seem daunting, even to a seasoned parent. And rightfully so, just feeding baby in a controlled environment at home is a mess; imagine taking that show on the road! Here are the ten essentials items you will need for a successful lunchtime outing with baby, where to purchase them, and why. After your diaper bag is stocked, enjoy this milestone with your little one!

WHAT to buy

WHERE to buy

For the items in today’s list, I shopped at Amazon.com, Diapers.com, Giggle, L.L. Bean, Target, and my son’s closet.

After about a year of comparing prices at big box stores like Target to such sites as Amazon.com and Diapers.com, shopping online is the clear winner FOR MOST ITEMS in terms of price and convenience, as long as shipping is free.  The downside is the wasteful packaging – please recycle!  Free shipping is available with an Amazon Prime membership ($79 annual fee) and better yet through the new free Amazon Mom membership. I recently switched from Amazon Prime to Amazon Mom and received a prorated credit for my unused months. Signing up for Amazon Mom entitles you to 3 months of free 2-day shipping on Prime-eligible items, and you earn an additional month each time you spend more than $25. Select diapers and wipes are 20% off. I also tried the Subscribe & Save program for additional savings, but it did not work for me as it is standard versus 2-day shipping. That requires knowing too far in advance when you’re going to run out of diapers!

WHY to buy

For those of you who have not read About Me, I am a mom of two boys, 2 ½ yrs and 7 months. Mr. 7 months was a pleasant surprise, and I had given his big brother’s baby gear away when he arrived on the scene. That afforded me with the opportunity to research and re-research, test and retest nearly everything twice for the 2 and under set!

#1 The MeToo portable high chair definitely makes it in my Top Five Most Practical purchases. I bought it for my first son intending to only use it in lieu of the dirty wooden high chairs with one strap missing at restaurants. It worked so well having him right at the table that I started using it at home instead of his regular stand alone high chair. It’s great to just clean off the table as I already do at mealtimes vs. the additional tray. One less step! And there are far fewer parts and crevices to clean than in a typical high chair. Yes, I am aware of the recent voluntary Recall to Repair, installed the new part, and like it even more!  (Update:  I just saw Phil&Teds Lobster portable high chair in action, it’s great!, but probably not worth the extra $30 price tag.)

#2 Bumpkins bibs are waterproof and thin so they dry fast. And are machine washable unlike some other similarly styled bibs.  Disposable bibs were a waste of money; my son ripped the paper at the adhesive tab on every try. Same with the Kiipis Bib Clips that turn “anything” into a bib. I wanted them to work, but they don’t.

#3 These disposable placemats are a must once baby is around 8 months and eating finger food. I use them even before that stage as a sanitary play surface for toys and feeding utensils. Yes, I tried the more environmentally friendly Kiddopotamus Tinydiner reusable placemat, but constantly forgot to take it out of my bag to clean. Pureed peas are even more disgusting a week later.

#4 On the rarest of occasions, my favorite portable high chair does not work with a restaurant’s table. It’s either too thick to accept the chair clamps or sits on a single post vs. four legs making it too unstable. In those cases, I thoroughly sanitize the restaurant’s high chair with Clorox wipes. Baby wipes won’t do as they do not disinfect. And cloth seat covers are as useful as the reusable placemats; caked with food sitting in the trunk of my SUV until the next dinner out.

#5 Earth’s Best, Huggies Natural Care, Nature Baby, and Seventh Generation travel wipes all clean baby’s hands and face without harsh chemicals. Sometimes I throw in a baby wash cloth and clean up my son’s face intermittently throughout the meal with that dipped in my water glass. Save hand sanitizer for yourself and your child once he keeps his hands out of his mouth.

#6 L.L. Bean’s lunch boxes are the perfect size to transport everything for a meal out less the high chair and wipes. Both the inside and out clean up easily. They come in a variety of kid-friendly but not adult averse prints and are relatively inexpensive.

#7 HAPPYBABY Organic baby food pouches win out over similar products because they are the most economical per case. And over traditional glass jars or plastic containers for sheer convenience. No bowls required, just squeeze directly onto screwed on dispensing spoon. No dripping baby food on your lap or baby swatting the spoon out of your hand mid-air. I keep the pouch/spoon contraption right at baby’s mouth and just keep squeezing! Take home whatever baby does not eat by unscrewing the spoon and replacing the cap. Great for babies who crave continuous feeding as if they are drinking from a bottle.

#8 What a fantastic simple little tool! These dispensing spoons by Boon are branded to only be compatible with the pricier Plum Organics line, but work equally as well with the less expensive HAPPYBABY pouches. They screw directly on to the pouch and are reusable.

#9 Bring the mess home in a gallon size plastic bag or try a trendy reusable bag from etsy.com. This Bumkins Zippered Wet Bag looks useful too. I use plastic; if anyone has experience with a reusable gallon size zipper bag, please leave a comment!

#10 A change of clothes. In case the meal doesn’t go as planned..

#11 Here is an extra item that both entertains baby and is great practice for graduating from a bottle to a sippy cup – the NUK Learner Cup. My son uses the soft silicone spout as a teether too.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin permalink
    October 23, 2011 7:10 PM

    Useful information! Disposable placemats were a brilliant invention!

  2. Jenn permalink
    October 24, 2011 9:03 PM

    Great info! Had no idea about Amazon Moms…will be signing up tonight!

  3. Robin permalink
    October 26, 2011 3:28 PM

    I like your top 10. I have never heard of MeToo portable high chair. I am going to check online now. Thanks!

  4. Suzie permalink
    November 3, 2011 7:25 AM

    I can’t believe I read all that. The things u do when you call in sick.:)it’s great now I just need a husband and I’m ready.

  5. Erin permalink
    November 5, 2011 2:01 PM

    Just went to Wonder! as you suggested and wow! That is my kind of store. It is more than a toy store – they have everything. It seems well thought out, almost like a boutique but on a grand scale – my husband said it was the Whole Foods of the toy industry and I believe it. Kid-friendly, environmentally friendly and mom-friendly 🙂 Toys with purpose, wooden toys, european brands, educational materials, art supplies, creative play, gross motor! They have tons of ride on toys with an area set up for the kids to try them out! Brilliant. I will be back to investigate the furniture, clothes, and class schedules. Hope this is around for years to come!

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