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Often, the aftermath of a toddler’s breakfast or lunch must be seen to be believed. Despite having short arms and limited motor skills, there’s nobody better at getting porridge on the ceiling and spaghetti in the carpet.
So it should come as no surprise to learn that a lot of research and development goes into designing bowls and plates for babies. If you think designing products for astronauts is difficult, try creating an untippable dish for a determined toddler who wants to see how far he can throw his soup.
From unmovable bowls to grippy suction plates and rockable dishes, there’s a variety of child-friendly dinnerware options for parents to choose from. In this article, we review the best baby bowls and plates on the market to help you and your little one enjoy calmer, cleaner mealtimes. ‘Cause, less mess equals less stress and more quality time to spend with the baby.
How to Choose the Right Bowls and Plates for Your Baby
There are lots of fantastic baby feeding products so it can be tricky to know where to start looking and what type of dinnerware is best suited to your child’s stage of development. Then, there are construction materials to think about. Is sustainability a priority in your kitchen? Are there certain materials (like plastic) you’d prefer to avoid or do you like the convenience of super-flexible, wipe clean surfaces?
Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the options available for baby’s mealtimes:
Increased awareness of plastics and their impact on our bodies and environments has encouraged many parents to look for alternatives.
However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, plastic bowls and plates are safe for children provided they do not contain phthalates or BPAs.
If you are happy to invest in plastic utensils and plastic suction plates for baby, make sure to read product descriptions carefully and limit their exposure to microwaves to prevent leaching.
We make no judgements about parents’ use of plastic feeding products but wholeheartedly encourage you to consider silicone as an alternative. While not as natural as something like bamboo, Silicone is highly flexible, easy to clean and contains fewer toxins than plastic.
Speaking of bamboo, did you know it’s fast becoming the most popular choice of material for baby feeding products? Bamboo is highly sustainable, manufactured without chemical processing and inherently microbial. Yes, that’s right, bamboo bowls have natural bacteria-fighting properties.
The downside to using bamboo baby plates is their relative fragility compared with materials such as plastic and silicone. The material isn’t dishwasher safe or microwave safe and is prone to expanding and cracking in hot climates.
We’re big fans of silicone baby products because, unlike plastic, the material does not chemically react with other substances (including your food). You can serve meals of all varieties in silicone suction plates for baby and never have to worry about leaching or microplastics affecting their vulnerable body.
Plus, silicone is as easy to wipe clean as plastic while being significantly more durable. Plastic is very brittle and may crack if dropped but silicone is bendy and can be safely twisted, grabbed and pulled.
The Best Baby Bowls and Plates – Reviews
This minimalistic baby bowl from Lalo has a suction design to keep it securely attached to the table during mealtimes. Its flexible silicone shell allows for rocking and squeezing without spilling or tipping. The thumb tab that’s used to release the bowl’s suction base is easy for parents to grip but small enough to evade little fingers making it difficult for children to knock over or throw. The Lalo Suction Bowl is made from FDA-approved silicone that’s stain and fade-resistant so you can expect this dish to always stay as crisp and clean as the day you bought it.
- Quick-release tab for suction base
- Made from FDA-approved silicone
- Material is stain and wear-resistant
- Comes in three stylish colors
- Very plain/simple design
- Needs very clean, dry surface for 100% suction
We’re in love with the beautiful, natural design of Avanchy’s Bamboo Suction Baby Bowl and Spoon set. This bowl’s organic bamboo shell sits atop a silicone ring that suctions on to the table for much cleaner and more predictable mealtimes. It even has an airtight locking tab to ensure a tight seal is created every time baby uses it. The set comes with a bamboo and silicone spoon that’s suitable for adult hands and self-feeding when the time is right. The spoon’s soft tip protects baby’s developing gums and is BPA and BPS-free.
- Super-strong suction base with lock tab
- Silicone-tipped spoon for gum protection
- Made from eco-friendly, hypoallergenic bamboo
- Comes in eight color combinations
- NOT machine washable
- Will crack if dropped or thrown
- 6 months
The ezpz Happy Bowl is one of the best suction plates around for toddlers and older children because it has an integrated bowl and tray design. This product’s bowl and tray are one continuous piece of highly flexible silicone. Think of it like a bendable chopping board or placemat that can be folded and squeezed and still snap back into shape. The big benefit of having a continuous one-piece design is that spills and drips remain on the tray and can be tossed in the dishwasher with the bowl. No more wiping spills off the dinner table!
- All-in-one bowl and tray design
- Flexible silicone tolerates rough handling
- Bowl is available with and w/o compartments
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Suction not as strong as rival products
- Very plain/basic design
- 6 months
We couldn’t review the best baby dishes and cute bowls for toddlers without including Munchkin’s dinnerware products. The brand is supremely popular with parents due to its comprehensive range of sizes and strong suction technology. These Stay Put Suction Bowls come in a set of three graduated sizes, each with a suction base, flexible locking tab and brightly coloured interior. They’re quite simple with a fairly basic design but parents love their large bottoms and ability to grow alongside baby as his appetite increases.
- Three bowls included in this set
- Different sizes to match baby’s growing appetite
- Stack together for space-saving
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Loses some suction over time
- Color may fade after lots of machine washing
- 6 months
IKEA’s KALAS Plates offer a surprising level of quality for toddlers plates that cost so little. Parents can get a six-pack of these plastic dinner plates for a fraction of the price they might pay for one suction bowl. So if you’re on a tight budget, you might want to consider this pastel-colored dinnerware. They don’t have a suction base – these are fairly standard plates – and will slide around on the table but, when combined with a grippy placemat, they’re a very stylish, affordable solution.
- Extremely good value for money (6-pcs)
- Plastic is BPA-free & dishwasher safe
- Stack together for space saving
- Large, spacious plates to prevent spills
- No suction bases/need a placemat
- May only be suitable for older children
If your baby is a determined mess maker, the UpwardBaby Toddler Kids Placemats Set might be the right choice of dinner plate to curb their mealtime mayhem.
It’s a baby suction plate with a difference; its unique placemat prevents the plate from being tilted without grabbing at or sucking onto the surface in a way that makes it hard to remove. So baby can grab at and push against the plate as much as he wants without creating any spills but you can still remove it quickly for cleaning.
Plus, the set also comes with a lid for splash-free microwaving and storing leftovers.
- 3 piece set (plate, lid and placemat)
- Lid is handy for kids who rarely finish meals
- Super-flexible silicone for easy cleaning
- Plate can be bought with compartments
- Quite pricey compared with rival products
- Basic design (only two colors available)
These colorful Re-Play Recycled Plates and Bowls are made out of recycled milk jugs making them a big hit with eco-friendly parents trying to reduce their carbon footprints.
They’re BPA, phthalate, PVC and melamine-free so you can rest assured that your little one eats safely on these plates.
While they don’t have suction bases or grippy backs, their deep design helps them stay sturdy and allows them to tolerate a lot of movement without tipping.
They’re not impossible to drop or throw but stress tests have shown Re-Play’s plates are crack-resistant and much stronger than they look.
- Deep-walled design makes tipping difficult
- Very eco-friendly & sustainable
- Compartments are great for picky eaters
- Made from very strong recycled plastic
- No suction bases or grippy backs
- May only be suitable for older toddlers
If you’re tired of being away from home and struggling to source suitable bowls for baby, the Skip Hop Easy-Serve Travel Bowl and Spoon is worth a look. This clever bowl and spoon combo holds everything you need for a meal in one small package.
The spoon is stored in an insert inside the container’s lid. Plus, the leakproof lid can be completely removed for easy access when mealtime comes. The bowl is deeper than most other infant plates and bowls but narrower as well to help it fit into bags and even your pocket.
We especially love the measurement markings on the bowl’s inside as they help parents keep track of serving sizes.
- Ideal for feeding baby away from home
- Measurement marks for accurate servings
- Can be carried in a pocket
- Comes with a travel spoon
- Capacity may be a little small
- Not suitable for self-feeding
Frequently Asked Questions About Baby Bowls and Plates
We’ve answered some common questions about baby feeding products to help you make an informed choice:
Q – At what age should I introduce my baby to a feeding bowl?
A – It depends on how you intend to use the bowl. Some parents prefer to use child-friendly products way before their baby begins self-led weaning because it increases the child’s familiarity with the look and feel of the utensils. That way, once they do get interested in touching and handling the food for themselves, they’re already comfortable with the utensils.
The design and construction of a baby bowl aren’t particularly important until the infant starts grasping and gripping at objects. Once your baby is aware of their food and can attempt to serve themself – which can occur from four months of age – you should start thinking about whether you need suction bases and grippy, anti-tip materials.
Most babies are around ten months when they develop the skills needed to hold and use a spoon without support.
Q – Is it important to buy baby bowls and plates with divided sections?
A – Again, it’s really down to personal choice. Or, we should say, it’s down to what your baby prefers. Some children are happy to eat off almost any type of plate. Others are pickier and respond poorly to certain food items touching during meals. While it may sound strange, it’s a common habit among toddlers and providing a plate with divided sections is a quick and easy solution.
Some child experts believe plate dividers should be used sparingly or not at all to prevent toddlers from developing entrenched eating habits. There’s a risk that children with more compulsive personalities will resist the transition to grownup plates if they eat in habitually ordered ways during their first years of life.
Q – Is silicone a safe material for my baby to use?
A – Highgrade silicone feeding products are safer and much more sustainable than plastic bowls and plates. High-quality silicone contains no petroleum-based plastics or hazardous chemicals. The material can tolerate temperature fluctuations without leaching and because it’s so inherently durable, it’s ideal for babies and their staggeringly strong grip strength.
While silicone isn’t as eco-friendly as wood materials, it’s a good first step on the road to sustainability when shopping for baby products.
Q – My baby struggles to get most of her food out of a bowl. Should I stop using one?
A – The depth of a baby’s bowl should be suited to his or her motor skills and stage of development but there’s no need to worry if they make a meal of things (pun intended). The physical process of identifying, raking and lifting food out of a bowl is a very valuable learning opportunity. Your baby might look like she’s dedicated to nothing but getting all her food out of the bowl and onto the floor but she’s actually honing her movement skills.
Step in for assisted feeding when necessary but don’t be too concerned if she spends mealtimes getting messy and chasing carrot sticks around her bowl. Just don’t miss her happy grin when she finally manages to catch one!
We hope our foray into the world of baby feeding products has inspired you to think about mealtimes from a different perspective, one with clumsy fingers, curious mouths and a determination to tip that can test even the sturdiest of bowls and plates. Fortunately, there are plenty of clever products out there to keep both your baby and your kitchen happy.
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