One thing parents learn very quickly is that kids are messy- especially during mealtime. When your child is first learning to eat, chances are you will quickly ditch the plates and put food directly on the table. If this is the case, you might want to consider investing in a baby placemat.
Baby placemats are great for both the home and while on the go. If you are just introducing your child to independent eating, either through baby-led weaning or with purees, you will start to find out quickly that the “do it myself” mentality is strong in most children. Putting food on a placemat helps prevent additional messes that can be caused by flinging plates and bowls to the ground, as well as help prevent damage to your furniture.
If you are a family who likes to be out and about, a baby placement is a great option to take with you on the go. It allows your child to have a safe, clean space to eat off of instead of the dirty tables (which are probably still dirty even after you wipe them down with a safe baby wipe).
Not all placemats are created equal though. You will want to find one that works for your family and one that can’t easily be shoved off the table by excited hands. If your family is often going out to eat or finding themselves on adventures, you might also want to consider one that is compact and easy to take with you.
What to Look for in a Baby Placemat
Baby placemats are great for so many reasons, but you want to be sure you chose one that works well for your family and that is safe for your little one. Here are some things you should look for when looking for a baby placemat for your child.
- Made from safe materials– You should look for a placemat that is made from 100% non-toxic food grade silicone as well one that is BPS, PVC, latex, and phthalate-free. These standards meet the standards for FDA-approval.
- Suction– All silicone placemats naturally stick to most non-porous surfaces, so they have an inherent suction. However, some placemats have additional suction cups that help the placemat stick to a table which is a great option if you have a little one who just loves to dump things on the ground and might try to lift the placemat off the table or high chair tray to do the same.
- A catch-all for food– Some baby placemats have an additional catch-all or accident tray that catches the food before it hits their lap. This is a good option if you want to ensure their clothes stay as clean as possible.
- Easy and compact to travel with– Baby placemats are a great option for travel. Silicone placemats are reusable and can easily be cleaned and wiped down before putting them back in your diaper bag. They are also able to be rolled up easily, making them compact enough to take with you. There are also some eco-friendly disposable options that are great for use at restaurants.
- Additional accessories like suction bowls attached– If you want to give your child the option of eating foods like yogurt or dips like hummus, then a baby plate or bowl is a great addition to have. However, bowls that are independent of the placemat often get tossed on the floor, so you might want to consider getting a placemat that has a suction bowl or plate attached or designed into the placemat.
Do You Really Need a Baby Placemat?
Baby placemats are great for a variety of reasons, but with all the other gear people tell you you have to have for your little one, is a baby placemat one of them? If you are doing baby-led weaning or your child is starting to self- feed, we highly recommend getting one or two for several reasons:
- They are great for travel- Whether you’re visiting your favorite local restaurant, heading out on vacation, or just visiting grandma’s house, a baby placemat is great to have on hand to ensure that your child’s eating surface is clean and safe. Most baby placemats are reusable so you can wipe them down and take them with you, giving you a continuous safe place for your baby to keep their food. They also easily roll up to be placed in a diaper bag or backpack.
- They protect the furniture- Even little plastic spoons and forks can be damaging to your furniture, but a baby placemat helps prevent that damage. It also helps prevent stains on your table from food.
- Baby placemats are easier to clean- High chair trays are extremely difficult to get under your sink faucet to wash off. Using a baby placemat makes cleanup easier, even if they are sitting at a regular table because they can simply be lifted off, food scooped off, and rinsed in the sink. Most silicone baby placemats can also be placed in the dishwasher.
The Best Baby Placemats for Your Little One’s Next Meal
Looking for your first baby placemat? Here are ten of our favorites:
These bright colored Munchkin Silicone Placemats are perfect for mealtime. They are made from 100% food-grade silicone, are BPA-free, and are large enough to fit all of your little one’s meal. The raised edges help keep food on the placemat and contain messes and spills. The two-set placements are super thin so they can easily be rolled up to take along with you. There is also a grippy bottom to it won’t slide off your table and it won’t damage it when being removed.
This cute placemat is sure to make you and your little one smile. The all-in-one ezpz Mini Mat placemat is a placemat and plate combination that suctions to pretty much any surface and contains the food your child is eating with it’s specially designed divided plate. The placemat is small enough to fit most high chair trays, even the smaller “space saver” ones. It is built to last with 100% food-grade silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC, latex, and phthalate-free.
The ezpz Mini Mat is great for travel as it comes with its own plate. It helps to promote self-feeding and fine motor skills, and is a great placemat for baby-led weaning.
Kids are messy but new independent eaters take messy to a whole new level. The BabyMumbo Food Catching Baby Placemat helps to contain that mess with it’s uniquely designed placemat that not only contains the food on the placemat with the raised edges, but also helps to catch any falling pieces with the bucket scoop underneath. This accident tray helps to prevent food from falling on your little one’s lap during mealtime.
The BabyMumbo Food Catching Baby Placemat is made from 100% finest quality, food-grade silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC, lead & phthalate-free so you can rest assured that they won’t be eating off of anything that has harmful chemicals. It is easy to clean and wipe down, and is even dishwasher friendly. And if you’re on the go, you can just roll it up and take it with you in your diaper bag.
One thing parents of newly independent eaters soon come to find out is that bowls and plates are dangerous around toddlers. It’s not because they will hurt themselves but rather it’s because those items quickly become the newest and most fun toys to throw on the ground! But with the UpwardBaby Suction Plate and Bowl Set your child won’t be able to take their bowls and plates off the placemat the throw them on the floor because they are suctioned to the placemat.
With the UpwardBaby Suction Plate and Bowl Set you can have your little one either use the placemat by itself, the placemat with the plate, or the placemat with the bowl. This way your little one can learn how to self-feed with a variety of different foods at mealtime that are not normally able to be placed directly on a flat placemat surface. All of the UpwardBaby Suction Plate and Bowl Set pieces are made from 100% food-grade silicone that is also BPA-gree, PVC-free, phthalate-free, and lead-free to ensure the safety of your baby. All of the pieces are also microwavable and dishwasher safe, as well as stain-resistant and odor resistant. It is a great set to keep at home for all your mealtime needs.
Groovy man! The First Years Finger Foods Placemat is uniquely designed as your baby’s first food placemat to help your little one grab their food easier. The wavy grooves help your child pick up the food more easily by offering additional surface space to allow for easier grabbing and pincher grasp skills. It is made from 100% food-grade silicone so it is safe for your little one to use. It is also dishwasher safe, easy to clean, and it fits on most standard high chair trays. It can also be used directly on the table as the silicone makes it a non-slip option. It is a wonderful first placemat for those little ones working on baby-led weaning.
You and your baby will be floating on cloud 9 with these adorable cloud-shaped UpwardBaby Non-Slip Suction Placemats. They are large enough to hold any messes your little one might make. It is completely slip resistant so it can be put on any non-porous surface like a table or high chair tray. The edges are rifted and lifted in order to keep messes contained, too.
The UpwardBaby Non-Slip Suction Placemats are made from 100% food-grade silicone and are BPA free, lead-free, and phthalate-free. They are three times thicker than other silicone baby placemats making them extra-durable but still maintain flexibility even if placed in the dishwasher for easier cleaning. The UpwardBaby Non-Slip Suction Placemats come in a three-pack so it is a great option to keep one or two at home and one for your diaper bag to use on the go.
Sometimes you just don’t want to risk taking the placemat you used at your favorite local restaurant and sticking it back into your diaper bag with the risk of contaminating other things within your diaper bag. The Hippypotamus Disposable Placemats are an eco-friendly option for a placemat that not only keeps your baby’s eating surface clean while out and about but that also can be disposed of when you’re done. They are made with non-toxic, high-quality food-safe materials that are BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free. They are also completely recyclable.
The Hippypotamus Disposable Placemats have four extra sticky adhesive strips on all four sides of the placemats so your placemats stay put when putting on a table or high chair tray, but it won’t damage surfaces. These are a great option to have on hand when you are traveling or on the go so that you don’t have to worry about putting a silicone placement that has just been used on a dirty table back into your diaper bag. It comes with 75 placemats in three different designs so you will have plenty!
Some times, for kids, mealtime quickly becomes boring. But mom, dad, and the rest of the family probably want to enjoy their meal. With the SUNZIO Food Catching and Coloring Placemats they can still do that even after their little one is done eating. Not only is it a great placemat that helps keep messes contained and is easy to clean up, it also comes with fun pictures that your children can color after mealtime or while waiting for their meal to arrive in a restaurant with the included child-safe markers. The coloring also wipes off easily with a baby wipe or water, so they can color again and again.
The SUNZIO Food Catching and Coloring Placemats are made with 100% non-toxic food-grade silicone that is FDA approved, BPA free, lead-free, and phthalate-free). They are designed to catch any stray food with the raised edges and are easy to clean. They can be rolled up and taken with you for travel, meals at restaurants, or to be kept at home for fun.
Oink oink! This sweetly designed Lightning Baby Suction Plate is an adorable placemat that both you and your little one will love. The toddler feeding plate is perfect for your little one to learn how to self-feed. The small portions are great for measuring out your baby’s meals, and the small-sized placemat fits most high chair trays. It is made from 100% food grade silicone and are also FDA-approved material, BPA-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free, and BPS-free to ensure the safety of your baby.
The Lightning Baby Suction Plate has strong suction cups at the bottom so it can’t be moved easily by your little one, which helps prevent spills and messes. It can also be placed in the dishwasher for easy cleanup and is stain, odor, sunlight, and chemical resistant so you can be sure that it will last through your little one.
Mealtimes with kids is messy. From infants all the way to preschoolers, you will find yourself cleaning up messes after your child eats. Placemats are a great way to help new eaters keep food contained as well as seasoned self-feeders from damaging tables. They are also great to have on hand if you are often eating out at restaurants or traveling.
Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock
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