Just when you thought your nappy bag couldn't have any more jammed into it, you realise... it can! But whilst feeding your wee one outside the comfort of your own home can feel overwhelming, it needn't be.
Here's our list of essentials (suitable for babies in the initial purée and mash stages) to make things easier:
Baby food - obviously!
Packaged, or if homemade, either frozen (will stay cool and be naturally thawed by meal time) or heated piping hot and ready to go - see points 2A and 2B below.
A → Small, microwaveable containers to transport the baby food in.
We've found most cafes / restaurants are happy to reheat baby food - just give them the brief that it needs to be piping hot and then make sure you let it cool to a suitable temperature for your baby before serving. You can get great little storage containers really cost effectively - Kmart or the supermarket (e.g. Sistema) have the basics and there are plenty of other options on the market.
B → A small thermos or insulated food jar.
These really are SO convenient and mean you’re not having to make sure you’re nearby somewhere with heating facilities at meal time. Our tip? Fill the thermos with boiling water and let sit for a couple of minutes while you heat the baby food to piping hot. Drain the thermos then add your baby food - this will help keep it hot for longer.
We've found the plastic backed ones are great for this initial stage and help keep little ones just that wee bit cleaner! In winter, the sleeved ones are extra handy for keeping clothes clean.
A warm flannel in a resealable bag or container
To help with cleaning up baby.
An extra set of clothes
in case the flannel / wipe and bib don't cut it!
Baby’s sippy cup
It’s a good idea to begin to offer your baby sips of water during their ‘solids’ meal, and taking water from home in a suitable sippy cup means you don’t have to worry about the quality of the water available when you’re out and about. Bonus - baby’s water from their cup can also be added to their solids to help cool or adjust the consistency at serving time.
Fresh food feeder
These little tools can be great when out and about, especially if you have a baby that loves to self feed. Pop in anything that is juicy (fresh fruit is a great option, and avoids the need to find re-heating facilities) and your wee one can happily gnaw away. These can be a great distraction for inquisitive little hands, leaving you to operate the spoon (and saving a whole lot of mess while out!). Choose a feeder with a single handle and a silicone food reservoir - much easier for cleaning and for younger babies to operate. Our tip - those handy dummy tethers double as a great way to ensure your little one’s fresh food feeder doesn’t end up on the floor!
High chairs are available in most places, but we recommend giving them a quick wipe over before using them. Alternatively, take your own transportable one! Although not a necessity, there are some great clip on or travel feeding chair products available.
For more information about starting your little one on solids, you may like to check out our e-book Your Baby's Food Journey; easy step by step guide, to help set you and your baby on the right path of eating from the beginning. Our guide to solids covers suitable foods for each age and stage your baby will likely pass through, up to around the time they turn 1 which is when they should be enjoying family foods. For those starting out and wanting a wee bit more support, there is a handy ‘first 30 days’ plan you can choose to follow, taking all the guess work out of it so you can relax and enjoy this exciting stage. We also have a very active support group on Facebook which you are welcome to join.