With Tyson’s first birthday quickly approaching, I’ve found myself reflecting on the past year.  A year ago I was on the brink of having a baby and I felt completely out of my element.  I would sit in Tyson’s nursery and my head would spin thinking about putting all the clothes, toys and other gadgets into use. I was terrified!

A year later, I look back and want to poke fun at my former clueless self.  Being a new mom is an overwhelming experience for sure, but I managed to get through the first year and have a healthy and happy little boy to prove it!  In reality,  I don’t know how I would have done it without the advice and knowledge passed on from my large network of other moms.  Sometimes it was a huge issue, such as sleeping through the night (a topic still discussed at every.single.playdate).   Sometimes it was just a small tip to make life easier, like the best brand of baby wipes to use.  Whatever the issue, other moms speak from their very intimate and unbiased experience.

Now that I’m a year into this whole parenting thing, I think some of my knowledge could actually be useful!  So in keeping with the food and nutrition focus of my blog,  I thought I would share and some of the “tools of the trade” that I found really helpful in introducing Tyson to solids during his first year.  I promise I’m not being compensated by any of these companies for my endorsement – I can only dream that my blog is that influential!  These are just some items that made my life a little easier.

Fresh Food Feeder/Mesh Feeder

Fresh Food Feeder

We bought this item at Babies R’Us on a whim.  The purpose of the mesh feeder is to put larger pieces of fresh or frozen food in the mesh, snap it closed and give it to the baby to chew and suck on.  He can get all the juice and small bits out of the food, without the risk of choking.  Admittedly, our initial reason for using this was paranoia.  I think most parents can relate to the fear of their baby choking on chunks of solid food.  However, the mesh feeder became one of our favourite things for an entirely different reason.  It is one of the best distraction tools out there!

You may recall my description of Tyson’s very active personality.  Once I introduced the mesh feeder, I realized that could put in piece of apple – or better yet, a frozen cube of food – and Tyson would be distracted for at least 15 minutes.  Enough time to make, and sometimes even eat my lunch.  Whooohooo!   He love, love, loved this thing right from the beginning, which means I love, love, loved it too.  I never went out to a restaurant or on a coffee date without it.  In fact, it made Tyson so happy that both grandmothers went out and bought one so that he had it at their house as well.  I’m telling you – this thing rocks.

Mesh Feeder

The other reason I love it is because it makes it easy to give Tyson a snack consisting of real food, as opposed to a processed baby snack.  Any type of fruit, steamed or frozen veggie works well in it – no pureeing required.  Now that Tyson is eating mostly chunky food he has other things to distract him at mealtimes, so the mesh feeder has been officially retired.

Long-Sleeved Bib/Smock

Kushies Long-Sleeved BibI didn’t buy any bibs for Tyson as we received a few as gifts and I assumed all bibs are created equal.  Not true!  A regular bib is fine for the first stages of feeding a baby solids –  the short period where you are carefully spooning each small bite into your baby’s mouth, stopping to wipe up each drip as you go.

After that, a regular bib just doesn’t cut it in my opinion.  Once Tyson was over the initial trepidation of eating solids, he started to get more involved.  Whether he is grabbing the spoon or spitting the food out, or turning his head just as I am about to put the food in his mouth, mealtimes are a messy event.  And now that he is feeding himself, it looks like he was in a food fight after every meal.  I found that I was stripping him down at mealtime to avoid getting food all over his clothes and I was sick of trying to scrub stains out of his shirts.  I figured there must be a better way.  Luckily I found these long-sleeved, full-coverage bibs.  I bought the Kushies brand, but there are a number of brands to choose from.  The key is long-sleeved.  With this bib on, Tyson’s clothes are protected when he slops food all over himself .  Even his pants stay clean because these bibs are much longer than a regular bib.  Trust me, these are a good investment.  I plan on picking up a couple more and using them down the road as an art smock for other messy activities such as play-doh and painting.

Boon Catch Bowl

Boon Catch Bowl

Tyson just got this Boon Catch Bowl for Christmas and I love it.  Typically I serve a portion of Tyson’s meal in chunks so that he can pick up with his fingers and eat himself.  He really likes doing this, plus it keeps him occupied and gives me some down time.  This bowl keeps things a little less messy.  It suctions right onto the high-chair, and there is a little ramp on the bowl that can be positioned under him to catch the pieces he drops.  This is helpful since he usually tries to shove handfuls of food into his mouth at one time, and only about half of it actually makes it into the target.  The suction on this bowl is much better than other bowls I’ve tried, although if he pulls on it hard enough he can get it off.

Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Cusinart Immersion Blender

Up until recently, I have used my food processor to make all of Tyson’s pureed food, which has worked great.  However, as he gets older I find I am making more soups and combinations of food in a pot that just need to be blended slightly.  My immersion blender has made it super simple to do this.  When I make a soup, I usually take a portion out for Jon and I, and then blend the rest right in the pot for Tyson.  And it cleans up really well compared to my trusty food processor – just a quick rinse of the blade and you’re done.

And nope, I do not have the Baby Bullet, despite my well-know adoration of the Magic Bullet.  I’m sure it’s a good product, but between my food processor, my Magic Bullet and this immersion blender, I am not short of appliances to blend Tyson’s food.  In fact, I do use the Magic Bullet quite often when I need to blend  or puree one serving of something quickly.

So there you have it – some of the things I just couldn’t live without.  However, I am a big believer that you  do not need a lot of “stuff” when you have a baby.  There are a lot of things that other people –  like the sales associates at Babies R’Us – make you feel like you NEED to have.  I found that in reality, you don’t need that much.  Each baby is going to have their own unique needs and challenges, so my advice to new moms is always to WAIT  until they have the baby and see what “things” their unique baby will benefit from, and which items they can save money on and not buy at all.

That’s it for today – I’ll be back soon with a more food-focused post.  Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

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