Starting Solids with the Busy Baby Bib - Game Changer

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I understand and value the importance of self-feeding as a desired skill for young children early in their development.

However, as a mom of three young children, I also understand that feeding your baby can be both exciting and extremely nerve-wracking.

From the time babies are born, the pressure to make sure our babies get the best nutrients possible is palpable; Nursing versus formula and then puree versus baby-led weaning (BLW), there are decisions to be made and the pressure is on.

As a parent, and I know I am not alone in saying, second-guessing yourself just comes with the territory of parenthood.

However, as a professional, with over ten years of experience working with children and their families, I am here to tell you, FED IS BEST . So whether you have chosen to start with purees or baby led weaning, I want to help you navigate this new stage of parenthood and baby’s development.

Developing Infant:

As an occupational therapist, I can confidently say that exploration is KEY to a baby's development. Whether we're talking about vision, touch, or taste, innately, babies want to, and need to explore the world around them.

Touching, tasting, and seeing are critical to infant development

Our job as parents is to assist when needed, provide a safe environment, and tag along for the trials and tribulations of the journey.

Signs your baby is ready for solids:

According to the CDC , the presence of the following skills demonstrates that your baby is developmentally ready to start solids:

Your child can:

  1. Sit upright with support

  2. Has control of their head and neck

  3. Opens their mouth when food is offered

  4. Swallows food

  5. Brings objects to their mouth

  6. Tries to grasp small objects

  7. Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow

The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that babies can be introduced to solid foods around 6 months of age and exposure should be to a variety of healthy foods and offer a variety of textures.

6 plus months old baby sitting using a teether

Starting Solids: BLW vs Traditional Puree

Parents who raised their children in the 80s and 90s look at us parents raising children in 2024 like we are crazy when we hand our 6 month old a piece of steak or [gasp] a WHOLE banana.

So what is BLW? The idea is simple; we as parents and professionals should follow the child’s lead in terms of what, when, and how much to feed our children.

Just as research has helped us understand best sleep practices to alleviate the prevalence of SIDS, research has also proven the positive impact of baby-led weaning.

The Cleveland Clinic offers a great definition and tons of information on its website.

Starting Solids with the Busy Baby Stop-drop Travel Bib+Utensils

Before starting solids with your baby, you need to have the right tools ready (ie. bib, utensils, highchair). Whether you choose BLW, a combination, or purees only, all of these feeding approaches involve a utensil.

My favorite as a mom and an OT is the Busy Baby Mat Bib .It’s not only beneficial for babies, but also makes parents' lives easier.

Why I LOVE the Stop-drop Travel Bib+Utensils

As an OT, the use of tethers is absolutely GENIUS. Young babies (6-12 months) do not have the coordination or attention to sit and feed themselves a bowl of oatmeal and that my friends, results in flying utensils that babies cannot retrieve independently.

So guess who needs to stop what they are doing and play the game of “find the utensil”? You guessed it: the parent!

The teether system is the solution; if the spoon falls attached to the teether, it does not fall far, and the baby can look to retrieve it.

The teether system with the busy baby stop drop bib. If the teether falls, it won

Not only is the action of looking for the utensil a great way to develop hand-eye coordination but also later on, when the baby understands the use of the tether.

They may no longer rely on their vision to find the spoon; rather they will rely on other sensory systems to find and grasp the utensil. 

This is A HUGE jump in developing the different sensory systems. Therefore, not only is this bib making your life easier, it is also promoting a burst of development in your baby's nervous system.

4 Pro Tips to Get You Started with Busy Baby Bib and Utensil

Pro tip #1: Nervous system development

Utensil use is not an all or nothing. Introducing utensils at a young age can help your baby become more comfortable with the presence of a fork or spoon. 

We aren’t looking for babies to be independent feeders at 6 months old, rather we want them to explore utensils and their use. And this is where the busy baby bib has nailed it!all-or-nothing

6 months older baby using the buby baby stop drop bib plus folk to try pick the food with the folk.

Attaching utensils to a bib allows the child to try and use the utensil when and if they please, for however many minutes or bites of the meal, and then allows them to have it in arms reach if they feel like trying again. These bibs promote self-feeding from a young age.

Pro tip #2: Hand-dominance

Using the busy baby bibs, you can actually attach two of the same utensil to the bib to accommodate for both left and right hand use.

Fun fact: Children do not pick a hand dominance until about the age of 5, therefore providing a fork on both sides could actually help your baby explore how the utensil feels in both hands.

Pro tip #3: Where to start

Don’t be afraid to try a combo of self-feeding and adult-led feeding. Babies are a blank slate and can benefit from modeling and repetition to understand how and what to feed themselves.

Try scooping the food onto the spoon and feeding baby for the first 2 bites. For the next two bites, scoop the food for baby and allow them to bring it to their mouths. For the next two bites, encourage your baby to try to scoop the food independently, helping as needed, and then bring the food to their mouths.

In the therapy world we call this technique backward chaining, which really just means breaking down any activity into steps and then completing all the steps but the last, allowing the child to complete the last step and then working backward from there.

Pro tip #4: one meal at a time

Don’t give up, and don’t feel like you NEED to do this every meal for it to “stick”. Choose one meal a day to concentrate on teaching your baby how to feed themselves.

If morning time is hectic in your household, give all the finger foods and wait until lunch or dinner to give self-feeding attention. And if you miss a day, it’s OKAY. Say it with me, IT WILL BE OKAY. Babies catch on quickly and their brains are craving any interaction.

With that being said, anything is better than nothing when introducing a new skill. Parents and caregivers, give yourselves a break. Use the busy baby bib and leave the utensils for the child to explore on their own, because I promise there is value in that too.

Environmental exploration is critical to babies development, so while babies enjoy your help, they also like, and need, to independently explore their world.


Self-feeding can be messy, frustrating (for parents and for babies), and time-consuming. The busy baby bib allows for baby led feeding, adult led feeding, or a combination of both, with half the mess.

Have FUN during feeding time and give yourself grace as you enter just the first of many transitions as your babies develop from infants to babies then toddlers and beyond.

I hope this blog provides you with credible information, peace of mind, and a few pro tips to help you along the way during what can be an exciting, but also stressful time for parents and caregivers as our babies transition to eating solid foods.

Kelly Sullivan

Kelly is an occupational therapist with over 10 years of experience working with children and families. She is also a mom to three young boys: Jake (age 4) and Tyler and Ryan (age 15 months). With that being said, she is passionate about child development and making families' everyday lives less stressful and more fun!

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