Welcome to Mealtime Matters with doddl and TidyTot.
Welcome to Mealtime Matters with doddl and TidyTot.
We've teamed up with our friends at Tidy Tot to bring you Mealtime Matters - a complete hub of information, help and resources to help guide you through your mealtime journey.
If you’re just starting to think about weaning, or you’re in the midst of establishing mealtimes with your toddler, all the information, guidance and advice out there can be a bit… overwhelming.
So we’re here to help! As doddl and Tidy Tot we have years of experience in mealtimes. And together we’ve created Mealtime Matters, to help you navigate weaning through to independent eating and everything in between.
Based on where you are in your journey, we’ll be sharing expert advice, helpful hints and real-life experiences from other parents.
Put simply, Mealtime Matters will help make all that overwhelming information a bit more…. digestible.
You can dip in to the program at any stage or simply follow along on Instagram and Facebook where real parents will be sharing the same challenges and questions as you and taking you along with them on the the journey.
Ready, set, let's go!
How do i know when my baby is ready to wean?
UK Government guidelines suggest waiting until 6 months before introducing solid foods. Of course every baby is different and you will know your baby better than anyone, but there are three very clear signs which, together, might demonstrate that your baby is ready to try solid foods alongside their usual formula or breast milk.
1. They can stay in a sitting position, holding their head steady.
2. They can coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth which means that they are able to see food, pick it up and put it in their mouth
3. They are able to swallow food. If they are not yet ready, they will simply push food back out with their tongue.
- The signs my baby is ready for weaning
- What to expect - some simple weaning journey markers
What weaning choices are there?
You’ll know this is a well talked about subject, baby-led weaning or spoon feeding? What’s really important is that you make the choice that is right for you and your baby, and whatever decision you make, that you have the right information to make it as easy as possible.
- Tips on introducing solid foods to your baby
Creating the right environment for successful mealtimes
The equipment you buy is important (see category below to help with that!) but it’s not all about the equipment. How you approach mealtimes can also be a biggy.
Find out how to create the right environment for successful mealtimes here
What equipment do i need?
With SO many weaning products out there it’s hard to know what items are going to be truly essential and how to make the best choice to suit your baby.
Here’s some of our recommendations:
It might feel early to start thinking about cutlery, but it’s definitely not, especially when you do it alongside your choice of weaning approach. If you can introduce cutlery at every mealtime you’re helping familiarise your baby with utensils, helping them associate cutlery with food and mealtimes, a big plus as they move in to toddlerhood! More importantly the right cutlery will also encourage self-feeding and help the development of key motorskills like the pincer grip, co-ordination and dexterity.
Recommended by feeding and development experts the doddl baby cutlery set is designed for you to safely introduce cutlery to your baby from 6 months old. The short, contoured handles are easy to hold and help avoid the gag risk presented by long handled cutlery. The expertly placed soft touch areas encourage babies to open up their fingers and pinch the cutlery helping to develop strength in their grip.
Tidy Tots coverall bibs are perfect for keeping baby’s clothes and highchair protected from all the mess and spills that weaning brings.
The award-winning Bib & Tray Kit consists of a large tray which fits over your highchair tray to provide a large surface from which your baby can explore and engage with their food and preventing food from dropping to the floor – perfect for Baby-Led Weaning! The included coverall bib attaches to the tray to close the gap between baby and highchair and catch any mess and spills.
Tidy Tots innovative Cover & Catch Bib
attaches directly to your highchair or highchair tray to ‘catch’ any dropped food, protecting clothes and laps. It comes with a handy travel pouch so you can take it out and about with you to save those precious outfits from mess and stains.
All of these weaning coverall bibs are easy clean, machine washable and made from super-soft waterproof fabrics designed to take you through your entire weaning journey.
There are hundreds of highchairs out there – suited to all sorts of lifestyles and homestyles, so you definitely do need to do some research on this. Here are some of our hints on picking the right highchair to support your baby
Helping your baby to learn to eat is a special time as they explore new foods and experiences, but sometimes teaching them the all-important skill of open cup drinking is overlooked until the toddler years when in fact it can start at any time. Find out more about how you can successfully introduce a baby cup here:
Why open cup drinking is an important part of weaning your baby.
It’s important to be aware of food preparation and storage guidance, this handy blog on the importance of weaning food preparation and food safety will give you a great start.
WASH CLOTHS AND MITTS
With all the mess that weaning can bring, you are going to need an easy way to wipe baby down without all the fuss and tears! We’d try and avoid the disposable baby wipes and embrace the eco-friendly, re-usable option if you can.
Tidy Tots super-soft Bamboo Wash Mitts are designed to take the tears out of clean-up time, bringing an element of play and fun which will help your little one learn to clean themselves (or at least not fight the process!)
Read some top tips to make clean-up fun.
Simple weaning guide to get you started
Moving your baby onto solid food takes time and patience, no matter what approach you take, whether it’s baby led weaning or puree led. It can take time for them to get used to the whole process, from figuring out how to move foods around their mouths to using cutlery.
What foods to start with and how to progress?
Whether you have decided to follow the Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) approach, spoon-feeding, or a mixture of the two we have some useful advice on the best first tastes to get started with. Remember starting your baby on the less sweet options can be beneficial so they don’t become too familiar with those sweet tastes!
5 best finger foods for baby-led weaning
1. Raw slices or chunks of soft fruits and vegetables such as banana, avocado, melon, cucumber.
Let them grab and squish to their heart’s content!
2. Cooked sticks or chunks of vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, sweet potato and ‘harder’ fruits such as apple. Ensure the sticks are soft enough to be easily chewed and sucked on and to avoid choking.
3. Cooked pasta is a great texture to explore, fun to grasp and keep hold of and can be served with or without a sauce to expose your baby to even more tastes and sensations
4. Mild cheeses such as Edam are great – simply slice into sticks or large chunks
5. Toast fingers are a quick and easy finger food and especially great for teething babies – they will love the feel of the texture on their gums!
The best first purees for weaning
Once you have moved past exploring those first few taste sensations you can start to add more complexity and flavour in the foods you introduce.
This helpful blog from Family Consultant Claire Burgess gives advice on how to bring in real food textures and tastes.
This Sensory Kitchen Q&A helps to answer a lot of common questions around introducing new tastes and sensations at this early stage in your weaning journey with lots of advice and inspiration.
If you have concerns around allergies and how best to introduce new food groups, you can find some helpful advice in our Weaning with Food Allergies blog post
How to introduce cutlery to your baby
Here at doddl we know a thing or two about designing cutlery especially for babies and toddlers. Here are some of our simple guides to help you successfully introduce cutlery to your baby’s mealtimes to make sure they become happy and confident independent eaters.
Tips to encourage spoon feeding
Introducing your baby to cutlery
Supporting development during weaning
Supporting your baby’s development during weaning goes beyond just mealtimes; engaging in messy and sensory play, eating in different environments and encouraging independence can all help significantly in helping your child become a happy and confident little eater.
Check out our resources and guides below for help and inspiration!
Encouraging independent eating (while reducing mess)
The importance of eating out with your children
Common weaning myths and concerns
It’s important to say at this stage that every child develops at their own pace and no two days of your weaning journey will be the same! Every week will throw up a new concern, worry or question. We have pulled together some of the most common weaning myths and addressed them in a simple and easy to understand way
Tips to avoid the dreaded milestone comparisons
What foods to introduce
At around 12 months your baby is likely able to chew a variety of textures and foods as long as they are soft and/or well cooked. Now is an important time to introduce new tastes, sensations and textures as they continue to develop their confidence at mealtimes.
Check out our Sensory Kitchen blog for top tips and inspiration for adding herbs and spices at mealtimes to give your little one an exciting and flavourful sensory weaning experience
The right equipment for this stage
Your baby is growing in mealtime independence and wants to do more themselves.
Our doddl children’s cutlery set is expertly designed for toddlers aged 12+ months. With easy to hold handles and functional but safe ends, this set makes it easy for your little one to learn to use cutlery successfully, making mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone!
The handle design helps to develop the pincer grip (a key motor skill needed for gripping a pencil, tying shoeslaces and using scissors) and helps develop dexterity and coordination through self feeding.
But let’s be honest, while they’re busy exploring wonderful new foods and learning new skills, things can get messy – its all part of the journey!
At this stage the adaptability and compact design of Tidy Tots Cover & Catch Bib makes it a popular choice for parents looking to protect clothes when at home and out and about. With full, coverall protection and waterproof, machine washable fabric this innovative bib is a mealtime staple!
Their Long Length Coverall Bib is compatible with any highchair or seating set-up as your little one’s clothes and lap are completely covered due to the extra long length. This clever bib is also ideal for messy play and sticky snacks on the move!
How to teach a toddler to feed themselves
Learning to eat successfully with cutlery is a challenging skill that needs time and patience to develop. doddl children’s cutlery takes away a huge amount of the stress of learning this new skill but it can still be helpful to understand how to teach your toddler to feed themselves.
How to teach a toddler to feed themselves
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about how to navigate your little one through from spoon novice to cutlery master these milestones can help act as a guide.
You can download and print the doddl mealtime milestones checklist here!
Supporting your childs development
As your toddler continues to build the fine motor skills that will accelerate their independence and ability to self-feed, there are a whole range of activities that you can engage in to help them on their way
Fun and messy creative play ideas
Worries and challenges
Each stage of the weaning journey brings a new set of challenges and worries, from fussy eaters through to full blown foodie tantrums….and everything in between!
We’ve addressed some of the most common challenges in a series of blogs and resources so you can find the advice you need.
5 top tips to stop your toddler throwing food
How to get your fussy eater to try new foods
At this stage you are well into your mealtime adventure and finding your rhythm. As you enter the ‘toddler’ milestones, the relationship with food evolves further with increasing autonomy, independence….and sometimes defiance!
One of the biggest concerns at this stage is whether your child is getting enough nutrients. Read on for some easy ways to think about your child’s intake here Toddler Nutrients
What equipment do I need now?
Most cutlery is designed to rely on strength and coordination that young children have yet to develop which can make the whole experience of using cutlery particularly frustrating for little ones.
Knives in particular are blunt (for obvious reasons!) but at this age your child will enjoy chopping their food, which is an important transition to using an adult knife in later years. Our doddl toddler knife
features a cleverly designed, safe, serrated edge and is intuitive to hold, making it perfect for this phase in your child’s journey.
Best suited for children around 18+ months, the doddl plate helps young children move on from a bowl or a suction tray to a ‘grown up’ plate, the next step in developing their mealtime skills!
- The gentle curve towards the back helps keep food on the plate with a lower front and sides that allows easy access for food with cutlery.
- The wide flat front means more of the plate is infront of your child, making it easier for them to access their food with cutlery.
- The non-slip base keeps the plate still and the colourful splat focuses the eye on to the centre of the plate.
If your little one has developed an aversion to having their sticky hands and face wiped after meals or snacks, help is at hand with our super-soft Bamboo Wash Mitts. Designed to help your child learn to independently wipe their own face and take the tears out of clean up time, these super-cute wash mitts bring fun and play to mealtimes and are also great at bath time too!
As your toddler gets increasing active and constantly on the move, our Long Length Coverall Bib is the perfect coverall, protecting clothes and laps from all the mess and spills that come from mealtimes, messy play, painting, crafts and beyond! The included travel bag will come in handy for trips out and the easy-clean, machine washable fabric makes clean up a doddle!
Food preparation and family mealtimes
Building the full experience of mealtimes, including your child in some of the food preparation (where practical!) and embracing eating as a family can all have a huge impact on your child’s associations and development
Read on for some helpful tips on getting your children involved in food preparation and making mealtimes not just about food
Supporting your child's development
Nurturing your child’s development can also be useful as a way of keeping them busy in the kitchen whilst boosting their motor skills and even getting started with some early maths!
We’ve got some great ideas here
Ways to keep babies and toddlers busy in the kitchen
Worries and challenges
If you’re worried about establishing good toddler eating habits this blog can help.
If you have other concerns, you’re definitely not alone. Keep an eye on @mealtime.matters where we’ll be sharing experiences of parents going through this journey right now.
And if you need more specific help, feel free to email us firstname.lastname@example.org we’re always here to help.
Meet the Mealtime Matters Ambassadors
Meet the parents that we’ve teamed up with to bring to life our Mealtime Matters resources. Follow their journey’s with us as they approach weaning for the first time, introduce new foods, try out tasty recipes and tackle all the fun and challenges that weaning can bring!
Dont forget to join them and us @mealtime.matters for updates, insights and real life experiences!