Updated on September 28, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Mealtime for your baby or toddler is a time for learning and exploration. As your little one learns about their pallet, maneuvering cutlery, and other mealtime skills, a playful bowl can encourage this learning process. For picky eaters, the right bowl can make all the difference in ensuring your baby receives the healthy food they need. The key is finding a bowl that safely promotes a positive mealtime experience while keeping your floor clean and not overcomplicating your dishwashing routine.
Here are my top picks for fun and practical bowls for toddlers and babies.
The Best Baby Bowls
(Best value — $)
Why it’s great: This brightly colored set is excellent for toddlers who have recently graduated from a highchair to the table. The lids are particularly advantageous for picky eaters or kids who prefer to eat a series of smaller meals throughout the day because they are easy to store in the refrigerator or freezer.
This set is also one of the few microwave-safe options on the market, and it is BPA-free. These bowls are reasonably priced, great for parents who are still testing which type of bowl works best for their little one.
Keep in mind: Your little one may need to practice eating from a bowl that moves if used to the suction bowls.
Good for: Toddlers and young children and parents on a budget.
(Easiest clean-up — $$)
Why it’s great: These bowls have great suction and are great for any parent looking to limit clean-up time after meals because they are easy to rinse and dishwasher-safe.
In addition to the fun colors, this set is great because it comes in three different sizes. The snap-on lid is also great for storing food in-between mealtimes.
Keep in mind: These are great for granite countertops or a highchair but won’t stick to wooden or porous surfaces.
Good for: Messy eaters and gifts for a new or expecting parent.
(Best for baby-led weaning — $$$)
Why it’s great: This bowl is not too deep, perfect for babies who are new to solid foods. The plate is ideal for baby-led weaning! You can see which foods they gravitate towards and encourage babies to try new solid foods.
This product comes with an ergonomically designed spoon and is dishwasher and microwave safe. The suction release is baby-proof but allows parents to remove the plate and bowl from the surface easily.
Keep in mind: This product has great suction, but you may want to make sure the highchair table you are using is big enough.
Good for: Baby-led weaning and babies who like variety at mealtime.
(Most stylish — $$)
In addition to the beautiful design, this set includes a baby spoon and lid to facilitate storage. This bowl is also great for traveling or babies on the move.
Keep in mind: This is a silicone bowl, and while it’s top-rack dishwasher-safe, it may require a sterilizing soak from time to time to remove stains.
Good for: Baby’s first bowl and parents looking to maintain their kitchen’s aesthetic.
(Best suction — $)
Why it’s great: This is a strong choice for parents who want a suction-bowl. The suction technology is so great that many pet-owners recommended this bowl for pets inclined to spill their water bowls.
This bowl has a kid-proof suction release and is great for toddlers looking to increase their intake at mealtime! The tall, curved sidewalls also help with scooping and self-feeding.
Keep in mind: This product is microwave-safe, but you will need to remove the suction base first.
Good for: Any age, this bowl is great for babies and toddlers!
(Most comprehensive set — $$$)
The plates are freezer, oven, dishwasher, and microwave- safe. This set would make an excellent gift for a new parent.
Keep in mind: The plates are non-skid but do not have suction and may be better suited for toddlers and young children.
Good for: Gifts and families with more than one child under 5.
(Most compact storage — $)
These lightweight bowls are sturdy and recommended for ages six-months and above. Microwave and top-rack dishwasher-safe, food preparation, and clean-up are easy with this set.
Keep in mind: Munchkin recently redesigned this product to improve its suction, but they no longer include lids.
Good for: Traveling and parents with limited cabinet space.
FAQs about Baby and Toddler Bowls
1. What are the must-have features for baby dinnerware?
Safety first, you want to make sure than any baby bowl you purchase is BPA-free. BPA is the most common toxin found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, and you want your baby to steer clear of it. Other toxins you want to avoid are phthalate, lead, and PVC.
The next most important feature is how appealing it is to your little one. The right bowl can make all the difference in setting mealtime expectations. Then you will want to consider your meal preparation and clean-up process and find a bowl that will facilitate, not complicate this process.
Finally, you should think about durability and find a bowl that can stand the test of time. If you have multiple young children, try a variety set to serve little ones of different ages. You will want bowls that your little ones will be excited to “graduate from” as their fine motor skills improve, and their appetite grows.
2. Can I microwave my baby’s bowl?
You want to be sure to read the product description for this one. Most bowls with a suction feature that is not removable are NOT microwave-safe. The same goes for determining if a bowl is freezer or dishwasher-safe, be sure to read the product description. If you’re not sure, avoid microwaving; microwaving an unsafe bowl can destroy your microwave our cause a fire.
3. When should I start using baby bowls?
Most bowls are safe from six months old. You want to be sure that baby can sit up properly before putting them in a highchair. Your baby can start using a bowl even before a spoon, and a colorful bowl is an excellent way to entice baby to begin baby-led weaning.
4. What should I keep in mind for a toddler bowl?
Toddlers test limits, and every suction bowl is a challenge for most toddlers. You want to make sure any toddler dinnerware has great suction technology. By 18-months, your toddler should be able to communicate their preferences to you, so consider buying bowls and plates in their favorite colors to promote healthy mealtime habits.
5. Do suction bowls and plates work on all surfaces?
It depends on the product, but in my experience, wooden tables tend to pose the biggest challenge to suction bowls and plates. Most suction bowls and plates are perfect for highchair tabletops. If you plan to use a porous surface, try buying a single bowl first to test before ordering in bulk.
6. What is baby-led weaning?
Baby-led weaning (BLW) adds complementary foods to a baby’s diet of breast milk or formula. BLW facilitates the development of age-appropriate oral motor control while maintaining eating as a positive, interactive experience. Baby-led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by “self-feeding” from their first experience with solid food. The term weaning does not refer to giving up breast milk or formula, but rather introducing foods other than breast milk or formula. Choosing the right baby bowl can play an essential role in baby-led weaning, as exciting colors and designs contribute to a positive mealtime experience.
Creating a positive mealtime experience is more than just feeding your child. It is critical to babies and toddlers learning socialization, healthy eating habits, independence, and table manners. The right baby bowl can help support a lifetime of healthy eating habits and make your already challenging job as a parent easier by facilitating clean-up and meal preparation.
I reviewed the bowls on this list with an eye for visual appeal, design, durability, and safety. Any of these bowls or combinations of the bowls will serve you well in your mission to encourage a positive mealtime experience.