The Thrifty Mom’s Guide to Basic Baby Feeding Supplies

This post likely contains affiliate links.

This post is sponsored by KUDL. All opinions on essential baby feeding supplies are my own.

As a new mom, there were few things I stressed over more than feeding my babies. I read up on when to introduce solids to a baby (which varied based on the source), how to breastfeed a newborn, how often to nurse said baby, how often to feed them, when to stop feeding for the night, when to introduce finger foods, and how to introduce them.

However, we were poor and had twin babies to feed. And other than bottles and bibs, no one had gifted us baby feeding supplies at our various baby showers. We didn’t even have baby spoons, baby bowls, baby plates and bowls, baby silverware. We didn’t even have a high chair!

We were completely unprepared for when they turned 6-months-old and began eating baby food purees and baby cereals, provided to us from WIC.

We didn’t have a blender to puree homemade baby food, nor did I want to due in large part because we didn’t have a dishwasher, and the amount of baby bottles with rotting formula or breastmilk in them sitting on the counter was already overwhelming me.

So, like you do when you’re faced with less than ideal situations, we made it work.

When we first introduced infant baby cereal to our twins, we strapped them into their baby swings. The covers on their swings quickly became coated with a colorful variety of pureed foods as they dribbled food down their chins and onto their bibs, bellies, legs, and smeared it everywhere with their hands.feeding necessities for babies - baby feeding essentials

Thankfully, the covers washed up perfectly in the washing machine.

For Christmas (when our twins were 8-months-old), my in-laws gave us these two little booster seats and they finally had a real place to sit and eat at the table.

It’s been almost seven years now since our twins were born and we’ve added two more babies to our family. Every time we have a baby, I realize more and more that you really don’t need a lot of baby feeding supplies in order to feed your baby. In fact, you can manage with even less than we did with our twins if needed.

So, here is what are a thrifty, simple mom recommends as the essential baby feeding supplies:what you need to feed a baby | self-led weaning | baby food | essential baby feeding supplies and necessities | baby products | spoon feeding | baby foods | finger foods | high chairs

Essential Baby Feeding Supplies

Food

I have never once made my own pureed baby food, in large part because we’ve qualified for Women Infants and Children (WIC) with all our children and they provide you with so. much. baby. food! Because WIC covers the cost of jarred baby foods, making my own food didn’t make sense. (P.S. The income limit to receive assistance from WIC is often quite high, so it may be worth looking into if you so desire.)

I have no problems with jarred baby foods. Some prefer to make their own. I have no problems with that either. It’s usually much cheaper per ounce than buying the individual 4oz jars. Do what you’d like.baby food essentials - feeding suppliesBut, here’s my realization, especially with my fourth baby: pureed baby foods are really only needed for about 2-3 months (assuming you introduce solids at 6 months). After that time babies want REAL food and have developed many of the skills required to eat food that hasn’t been mushed and mashed first.

Finger Foods

That’s when it’s important to introduce finger foods, which often look a lot like the food you eat, just cut or torn into small pieces for them.

When it comes to “toddler foods” you should not feel pressured to buy the items marked as such. A large box of Cheerios is like $3 and will last you far longer than that $3 container of toddler puffs. Also, to save money on those popular pouched purees, look into buying reusable food pouches and just buying a large jar of applesauce, yogurt, or other soft food (perhaps a fruit and veggie concoction you make yourself). Again, this will say you a bundle and produce far less waste. Win-Win!

Also, skip the go-gurt tubes. I find that they just end up all over my child and are anything but mess-free. They are SO floppy! Maybe if your kid is 6 they could eat from one without getting it all over themselves (still not even guaranteed then!), but to me, totally not worth it. Also, greek yogurt is way better for your kids.

Essential baby feeding supply - bibsBibs

Feeding toddlers is messy. Oh, so messy.

Give them their own bowls, spoons, and plates, and you’ll find baby food thrown all around the room (unless you purchase one of these Happy Mats). Plus, every kid goes through the fun phase of testing if gravity still works, again and again, so everything ends up on the floor.

 
To keep things simple and easier to clean up, you can strip your child down before a meal, limit the ultra messy foods, or feed those to him yourself, and make him wear a bib at every feeding.

Bibs are often super cute but I’ve found some bibs are practically useless. They are way too itty-bitty and more like a drool catcher (which is fine for actual drool catching), but, if you want a bib that is going to protect your child’s clothes, high chair, and skin, a large bib is needed.

Also, a bib needs to attach via snaps or buttons, because Velcro attachments are a big old joke and your kid will rip them off in a nano-second. Skip the Velcro bibs!kudl bibs - bibs with snaps

I recently received these adorable KUDL bibs that have not one, not two, but three nickel-free metal snaps! You can adjust them as your child grows and snap all three down for a more secure fit, discouraging your little one from removing it from around their neck two minutes (or less) into a meal. Plus, they are extra large at 8.5″ x 14″!

The bibs are also super soft absorbent cotton on the top and a fleece on the baby that will keep your baby dry. The fleece is way better than the plastic waterproof backs of some bibs which often wear down and peel apart over time with multiple washings. And these Kudl bibs stay fresh looking even after being laundered.kudl bibs - snap bibs care instructions

Also, if you plan on having multiple children, bibs that are unisex patterns and colors are just smart because I assure you I put my twin daughters’ bibs on my son, and my son’s boy bibs on my current girl toddler. It just happens. If they are unisex like these KUDL bibs, you never have to worry about your son or daughter sporting “the wrong color” or design.

Also, bonus for these KUDL bibs, which were designed by a mom of five and tested on her set of toddler twins, is that they offer a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. I really wish some of the bibs I’ve had through the years offered that, because I would have sent them back!

So, be sure to pick up a 4-pack of Kudl bibs as part of your baby feeding essentials.

Eating Utensils

Honestly, you don’t need to buy them. You can use your regular eating utensils. And your baby will likely want to steal your utensils before too long. But, you can buy some softer infant baby spoons and baby forks. I have yet to ever buy a baby plate. We have these basic Munchkin bowls that have served us well for years.baby feeding essentials

Sippy Cups

I admit to hating sippy cups, but toddlers are notorious for dumping entire cups all over themselves, chucking cups across the room, dropping them onto the floor, and sticking their hand or other objects into a regular cup. Thus, sippy cups are a lifesaver.

But, I have yet to find a sippy cup that is indeed 100% spill and leak proof (note those are different). My recommendation is to skip any soft top sippy cups. Why? Because, kids chew them to bits, stick pencils or other things into the soft top holes, and they leak. And this applies even to these cute sippy cup lids that turn any cup into a sippy cup – we have them, and they leak. Also, I discovered that regular plastic cups are not as durable as sippy cups are against babies through them onto the floor….

Oh, and I’m not a fan of the ones with the bendy straw tops that flip down into the lid (like this) – reason being? When you wash them it’s almost impossible to rethread the top part of the straw through the lid, rendering them useless! Oh, and I’ve been known to misplace (lose) the plastic straw part, also rendering them unuseable.

I highly suggest going for the hard sippy cups and ones that come with a valve (something like this). I am still experimenting to find the best sippy cups, so feel free to experiment yourself. If you get a sippy cup with a valve, you will likely want/need sippy cup and straw cleaning brushes as well to really get in and clean them, because the dishwasher doesn’t always get them clean.

A Place to Sit

A toddler needs a place to sit while eating, for safety reasons (if you run around and trip you have a higher chance of choking on food in your mouth), and for sanity reasons, as it’s hard to feed a mobile toddler. A seat that lets you strap them down is even better. If you must, use what you have, like we made do with infant swings for their feeding chairs. Not ideal, but it worked.

I recommend a high chair, booster seat, or Bumbo. What you get will be based upon your personal preference, home, and finances.feeding a baby - feeding supplies - essentials

Full high chairs take up more space in your home and are more expensive. However, they don’t stake claim to a dining chair like a booster seat does, which if you need it for guests, will need a very thorough scrub down to make it sit-able due to all the stuck on food particles. You could opt for a 3-in-1 high chair or a 4-in-1 high chair  that serve as both a traditional high chair and a booster seat, thus growing with your child, which is pretty cool!

I used a Bumbo for the first time with my fourth baby and loved having it when we visited friends and needed a safe spot for her to sit. They won’t last your child as long as they are designed more for babies than toddlers. But they aren’t very expensive and are highly portable and can be used on tables and other flat surfaces (with strict supervision of course).

You can also have them sit on your lap while eating, but you’ll likely get very messy too. If you plan to transition them to a regular chair at a younger age (we did with our son) then it’s not as necessary to invest in a full-on high chair.baby feeding essentials supplies - wood high chair

When it comes to high chairs, I am in love with our wooden one we currently have as it doesn’t take up as much floor space and looks way nicer aesthetically than the large metal and plastic ones. It’s also easy to clean. (I picked ours up from Craiglist for like $30 or $40 – total score!)

Containers for Food on the Go

When it comes to feeding essentials for babies and toddlers, you need something or some way to keep food on your when you go out. Because babies don’t keep. Having a snack helps tide them over when you’re in the checkout line, stuck in traffic, or waiting at the doctor’s office.

Most common now I just grab a simple snack or sandwich sized Ziploc bag and fill it with something dry like cereal or graham cracker. Sometimes I throw a whole sleeve of crackers into my bag. Other times I may grab an applesauce pouch (get a reusable one to save money) or even a banana.

But, other times we’ve used things like a small Tupperware container or even things with flip tops. I have never been crazy about these containers with zigzag cut tops. My problem with any container is that there is a high chance it will be flipped over, the lid will be removed, and stuff will be dumped out. A Ziploc bag isn’t usually as messy, and are cheap and accessible.

Clean-Up Supplies

When your baby is done eating, you will need a way to clean them up. A simple sponge bath by the kitchen sink or bathroom sink works well. I prefer using a soft paper towel. But, I do love the more thorough clean (and smell) you get using Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Cleansing Cloths. They smell amazing and don’t need to be rinsed off. Baby wipes sometimes broke my kids faces out (even though we use sensitive wipes) so I don’t use those.big family realities - messy mealtime and no time to clean up Johnsons bath cleansing clothsIf you have carpet under your dining table, we once bought cheap $1 tablecloths from the Dollar store (you can pick up some from Amazon too, but they’re not as cheap) and put them under our twins’ high chairs to protect our carpet from stains and spills, which can’t exactly be swept or vacuumed up easily. I even would wipe them down and reuse them, having one table cloth last 4-7 days. Not super economical, but I didn’t have to spend time (or money) removing stains from carpets either.messy toddler meal time - feeding essentials - clean up - tablecloth under high chairsNo matter how you feed your baby, enjoy the time you have with them. Be patient with their messes. Take pictures and videos of them trying new foods, making their faces red with pasta sauce, or trying to use a fork or spoon for the first time. They won’t be messy high chair contained babies forever and before you know it, he or she won’t even need a bib, and will sit in a regular chair, and the messes will stop being as cute then.

So, enjoy them messy babies. Laugh along with them. Smile. And keep it simple (and frugal).

kudl bibs giveawayKUDL BIB GIVEAWAY!

To help you get started feeding your baby, I’m offering a giveaway of a 4-Pack of Kudl Bibs in the colors of your choice! Enter in the rafflecopter widget below for you chance to win! Giveaway will end Saturday, March 18th at midnight EST!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck winning one of the many essential baby feeding supplies parents need!

Comments

  1. Samara says

    I love using the summer infant seat as a booster chair and feed anywhere around the home! These bibs are gorgeous!

  2. tracvee says

    The family dog to clean up anything that falls on the floor!
    (except things like onions, raisins, chocolate, etc. that can kill your dog)

  3. renee says

    I used the same booster seat for my two kids as you have in your last picture. I thought it was pretty darn essential! Also small forks and spoons and cups with lids. I never could get the bowls or plates that were supposed to suction to the table to work correctly so I thought those were a waste of money. Same thing for those toys that were supposed to suction to the table and keep your baby entertained at mealtime. Waste! The cheap tablecloths under the table are a good idea I wish I had used. We repurpose table cloths like that from birthday parties to use as drop cloths during arts and crafts time, but they would certainly catch messes at mealtime well.

    • says

      Yes! It was a good booster seat! And I never ever bothered with suction bowls…. because I know my kids would’ve out smarted them! And tablecloths as dropcloths during craft time is smart too!

  4. Renee Walters says

    I consider diapers, wipes and a baby swing essential. Obviously, there are a plethora of other items, but for me, the baby swing saved my sanity. It was the only thing that would soothe my baby to sleep.

  5. kelly mcgrew says

    my sister uses small ramekins to pour some of the baby food into so she is not dipping the spoon directly into the jars and contaminating it in case my nephew isn’t all that hungry for his feeding.

    also, baby wipes are a definite essential to clean up their face and hands! she also loves this travel cutlery/plate/bowl set I bought for my nephew for when she goes to visit relatives who may not have everything she would like to be able to feed him!

  6. Lisa Coomer Queen says

    I consider bibs, burp pad, wipes and a good high chair essential for feeding. Well made sippy cups when they get big enough. I not a fan of the straw ones either. I have 8 grandchildren and 1 on the way so I keep these things at my house also. Thanks!

  7. Debbie Lewis says

    A bib but sometimes I just remove the shirt if they are eating something extremely messy Then I just “hose” them off

  8. jeani b says

    just plastic spoons are essential. i was feeding my baby on my lap, LOL, and am pretty neat at feeding her, so we didn’t need a bib. now we’ve got a high chair and it’s awesome, hahaha.

  9. Milt says

    A full-size highchair with a tray that is easy to clean,, and with wheels to make it easy to move the chair around, too.

  10. Aaron says

    A highchair seat that hooks onto a counter or table and a portable highchair that attaches to a regular chair.

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