Weaning has to be the bane of most new parents existence. First it’s the issue of having to decide between Baby Led weaning, or Spoon Fed, then it’s the struggle of introducing all these foods to your little one.
I was all for Owen trying everything I eat (with some exceptions, of course!) and for me Baby Led weaning was the best option to allow that. This is a whole other blog post, but for the most part, Owen took well to it and I was able to establish a healthy eating routine which was varied and enjoyable to us both. This took away a lot of the issues, as he was more than willing to eat anything I gave him, and I didn’t have the crying (and screaming, and tantrums) of trying to force him to eat things he didn’t like.
One thing I did struggle with was the mess. My Lord, the mess! As someone who likes a clean and tidy home (and with a husband more meticulous than I am!) I really struggled with the amount of bits that would end up on the floor. Chewed up banana, squashed avocado, rice, pasta… You name it, I had to pick it up. I can feel myself coming over with hives just thinking about it.
My issue was the fact that Owen was too young to manipulate a spoon properly, and there was no chance that a plate or bowl would stay on his high chair tray. He also learnt quite quickly that throwing his food would annoy me, so naturally he did this as often as he could.
So I searched for alternatives to make this process as enjoyable for me as it was to him, and came across the Easy Mat on Amazon. I wasn’t sure how this would help, but I ordered it on a whim and have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
Basically, the Easy-mat is a silicone plate that has suction cups on the four corners to allow you to stick it onto a table or high chair. The mat is divided into 3 bowls; 1 larger and 2 smaller for you to place their food in it. The bowls also make a little smiley face which is added fun for little ones. It is aimed at around 6 months of age, up till around 4 – maybe more if you wanted.
When this arrived I was really pleased with it; the orange silicone feels like really good quality and seems hard-wearing; even my little man couldn’t break this!! It comes in 2 sizes; normal and mini. I brought the mini one, and it takes up more or less the whole of the tray, so check the dimensions before you buy one. However, if you stick it to the table this wouldn’t be much of an issue.
The bowl sizes are perfect for all kinds of foods; I tend to put the main foods (Sandwiches, Bolognese, roast dinner etc) into the larger section, with accompaniments into the smaller sections (Sliced fruit, cubes of cheese etc). I also found this incredibly useful for portion control, too.
I was concerned that Owen might be able to lift the tray from his high chair table, but the suction cups are surprisingly strong, and I haven’t found this to be an issue. He tried once or twice in the beginning, but soon realised it wouldn’t move, and a few firm ‘No!”s soon put an end to this!
The raised edges made it easier for Owen to eat his food, and limited the amount of mess on the floor! The mat itself cleans really easily; it either wipes clean or can go through the dishwasher. It even comes in a handy carry bag to keep in your changing bag when you’re out and about.
Since buying the original one I’ve brought several more!
Mini EasyMat® for Highchair and Travel Feeding. Portable Baby Suction Plate & Placemat In One With Lid, Folding Sides & Carry Case. Small Sectional Baby Plate Perfect For Baby Led Weaning Age 6 Month+ by Tots R Us (Orange)