Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Best Of" Week: Toddler Feeding Made Simpler for Travel and at Home

My husband saw me working on this post and asked if I was going to title it "My Best Idea Ever" because he thinks it just might be.

Minnie turned 13 months old yesterday and is a fiercely independent child.  She's never been very interested in being a baby.  She wanted table food early, walked early, etc.  Basically, she's your normal second child who is trying her best to keep up with her big sister.  This has led to a set of challenges to keep her safe and fed while maintaining my sanity.  Hence, my latest baby breakthrough.  

Months ago, we discovered the baby food pouches and the spoon that attaches to them.  The pouch baby food does tend to be on the sweet side but getting some vegetable in her is better than none.  These were so wonderful for travel or just meals out at home.  Since Minnie wants mostly what we are eating, she's never been much for baby food.  This made the traditional jars or homemade food awkward because it's messy to deal with a partially eaten container.  With the pouches and spoons, we didn't dip into anything so the leftovers could be taken home.  I'd drop an icepack in the insulated pocket on my diaper bag and off we'd go to dinner.  I could safely and neatly bring home the rest of the food to try again within 24 hours.  I did this at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort since we had a full kitchen and didn't stay gone from the resort for too long.  At Walt Disney World, I carried a cooler bag with multiple ice packs anyway, so we were able to use this plan there too.  
Back to that independent streak, (which by the way, my parents think is hysterical. They have no idea where she got it. Not.) now that Minnie is older and able to feed herself even more finger foods and is learning to use a spoon, my previous plan doesn't fly.  I tried letting her hold the pouch without a spoon attached and eat straight from it.  That worked for a while, but eventually, she learned to squeeze it or bang it on the high chair.  A kid with a DIY banana squash volcano does not make for a pleasant meal out.  

Now for the sanity saver.  I bought a couple of Crayola juice box holders at Walmart for $2.50 each and they work perfectly.  Just slip the food pouch into the juice box holder and put on the lid.  She can't squeeze or remove it.  The ones I have are partially open on the bottom which is helpful if I need to squish the package halfway through the meal to help Minnie get to the rest of it.  Our juice box holder also has a large circular opening on the lid which allows me to put the lid on over the cap for the baby food if needed.  We've tested this system out at home and on a weekend road trip.  Minnie ate more of the fruit/vegetable combinations than usual and didn't make a mess with them.  If we had any leftovers, they went straight into the fridge at the hotel or on ice in the van.  This works with any size baby food or applesauce package, but the larger ones do need to be folded just a bit to get the lid on, just be sure not to remove the cap until after you've done that.

This idea helped Minnie feed herself which made her happy and kept her cleaner at mealtime which made me happy.  I hope it allows you to enjoy getting out just a little more too.  Please let me know if you try it.

This article originally appeared on Growing Up Disney on July 2, 2012. 
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  1. that's a great idea! I bet you could put a small ice pack in there with it... just a thought. I might just have to try that!

    1. Cool idea. I just gave that a shot. We have the standard small blue rubbermaid ice packs and one filled up the entire holder on its own with no room left over for the food. Might work with a thinner one?

  2. Awesome Idea. My son is 16 months old and loves the little pouches (has been on table food since 11 months old he refused baby food). good idea to keep him from squeezing it

    definitely gonna try it

    1. Thanks! Hope it works out for you. We are loving this trick.

  3. Very clever, Amy! I wish I knew about this when Henley was younger. I couldn't give her those pouches any more because she would squirt them everywhere!!! Ew.


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