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Mealtime Matters

Mealtime Matters with doddl and

Tidy Tot 

We’ve teamed up with our friends at doddl to bring you Mealtime Matters – a complete hub of information, help and resources to help guide you through your mealtime weaning 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. 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 into the program at any stage or 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 their journey.

Ready, set, let’s GO!

STAGE 1 – GETTING READY TO WEAN

(6+ MONTHS)

Your guide to Mealtime Matters

Welcome to Mealtime Matters, our hub of weaning advice designed to take you through every stage of the journey! For more on what to expect and how to get the most from Mealtime Matters,  read more here

How do I know when my baby is ready to start weaning?

Every baby is different, but there are key milestone indicators to look out for to help you identify when you baby might be ready to start their weaning adventure.

We’ve put together a simple checklist and guidance to help.

 Simple Weaning Journey Markers

 Getting Started with Weaning

 

What weaning choices are there?

Once you are ready to start the weaning journey, it’s important to give some thought to the type of approach that you feel will be best for you and your baby. For most parents this will mean following Baby-Led Weaning, a spoon-fed approach or a combination of the two.

In this blog post we explore the pro’s and con’s of Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) and the more traditional spoon-led weaning approach to help you decide which method would be best for you and your little one.

You can also find some top tips for introducing solid foods here

Our new Sensory Weaning approach is an exciting new way to transition from milk to solid foods with a focus on engaging all of baby’s senses to develop happy and confident little eaters. Find out more in our Sensory Weaning Hub

 

 

What equipment will I need and how should I choose?

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 choices to suit you and your little one.

Find out how to create the right environment for successful mealtimes

and some tips on how to get set up for mealtime success

Cutlery

doddl cutlery is recommended by feeding and development experts and designed to safely introduce cutlery to your baby from 6 months old, encouraging self-feeding and those first steps towards mealtime independence.

 

Coverall Bibs

Our coverall bibs are essential 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.

Our 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 our weaning coverall bibs are easy clean, machine washable and made from super-soft waterproof fabrics designed to take you through your entire weaning journey.

 

 

Food storage

 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 head start 

 

 

Washcloths

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! Say no to disposable baby wipes and embrace the eco-friendly, re-usable option.

Our 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 our top tips to make clean-up fun. 

 

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STAGE 2 – STARTING TO WEAN (6+ MONTHS)

Getting started!

The time has come and you and your little one are ready to get started on your weaning journey. Don’t worry, help is at hand with our simple guide to weaning babies onto solids 

What are the best foods to start with?

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 

5 best finger foods for baby-led weaning 

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 gives advice on how to bring taste, texture and flavour to  the next stage   

Real food, tastes and textures  

 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

Our friends at doddl have a whole host of useful resources to guide you through when and how to introduce cutlery to your child’s mealtimes to help their development into happy and confident independent eaters. 

 Introducing your baby to cutlery 

Top 4 tips to encourage spoon-feeding during weaning 

Supporting development

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 for help and inspiration! 

Developing from palmar to pincer grip 

Encouraging independent eating 

Messy weaning hints and tips 

Advice on weaning premature babies 

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 

 

Common weaning myths busted! 

Tips to avoid the dreaded milestone comparisons 

 Is my baby eating enough? 

Advice on baby’s gag reflex 

Why open cup drinking is an important part of weaning babies

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STAGE 3 – MOVING ON FROM WEANING (12+ MONTHS)

What foods to introduce

types of foods (nutritional)

suggested meal plan for two weeks (‘more independent eating’)

The equipment you might need for this phase

Your baby is growing in mealtime independence and exploring new foods which means that things can get messier than ever before!

At this stage the adaptability and compact design of our 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!

Our 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!

 

 doddl’s children’s cutlery set includes a children’s spoon, fork and knife set with a handy case to keep cutlery clean and hygienic when out and about. Ergonomically designed, it helps children from 12 months old to develop their pincer grip, dexterity and coordination through self feeding.

Supporting 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

Fine Motor activity ideas

Fun and messy creative play ideas

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.

Mealtime Milestones

You can download and print the doddl mealtime milestones checklist here!

The importance of eating out with your children

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

Is my toddler eating enough?

Advice on baby’s gag reflex

Worried about baby choking

How to get your fussy eater to try new foods

Top tips for fussy eaters

Fussy, picky, choosy eater

Food preparation and safety

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STAGE 4 – INDEPENDENT EATING (12-18+ MONTHS)

Nutritional information

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?

Cutlery

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. The 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.

 

Plate

doddl’s children’s plate is suitable for children 18+ months, and helps young children transition to a ‘grown up’ plate, the next step in developing 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 non-slip base keeps the plate still and the colourful splat focuses the eye on to the centre of the plate.

 

Wash cloths

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!

 

Long Length Coverall Bib

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

What foods to introduce/becoming more adventurous

nutritional info
meal plan/menu suggestions
sensory weaning

Supporting 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

Play dough play

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