The Easytots ‘EasyMat’ | Stress-free Dinner Time & Easier Weaning
When your baby starts eating proper food you realise how messy dinner times can be. Whatever the food, it ends up everywhere: down the high chair, beneath the high chair, applied to the face more successfully than eaten, and, somehow, finds its way into the nappy. And that’s just the food – plates, spoons and sippy cups are dispatched to the floor only to be repeatedly picked up, wiped or replaced at least five times before you decide dinner time’s over. Weaning, in all its colourful glory, is messy.
Melamine is great – it can withstand all that baby throws at it and when it’s used as the throwing device. But come dinner time its downfall is apparent – it will still be pushed off the highchair. So what’s the answer? Silicone and suction cups!
Back when I went to the Baby and Toddler Show I came across Easytots, a really cool brand that stopped me in my pram tracks. Easytots’ innovative product, EasyMat, is a bright and funky non-slip dinner tray made to stand up to the riguers of toddler life.
Both size EasyMats are entirely silicone moulded which are soft and flexible to the touch while maintaining their shape. Three half moon sections for food separation make eating with little fingers or a spoon super easy, and with four super sticking suction cups to the underside of the mat, the dinner tray stays securely in place to the table or high chair.
The full size EasyMat is the ideal dinner tray for holding a decent capacity of foods. I separate veggies and meats into their own compartments as Reuben likes to see what he’s eating; the main section is great for holding larger foods or carbs such as rice, a sliced up chicken breast or loads of veg like Reuben’s favourite: broccoli! The large Easymat comes with a free co-ordinating silicone spoon that has a good rubbery grip for babies to easily handle. It flexes into the corners of the plate and holds food much better than a metal or hard plastic spoon too.
The original EasyMat is quite a sizeable piece, so for compatibility you may need to check the dimensions of the tray with your highchair. (Reuben’s Cosatto highchair, which we don’t really use now, has an almond shaped tray which it doesn’t fit.)
The mini EasyMat is based on the original size, with three food sections and four sticking suction cups, but is shrunk down into a smaller capacity with the clever ability to fold down. It also comes with a rigid plastic lid that fits squarely over the tray’s food compartments, and once covered and its two sides folded back, can be slid into the accompanying zip lock pouch for the perfect travel food system.
The smaller version is convenient to pop into the changing bag for days out where we’ll be eating indoors. It’s come in handy for my hospital appointments where we have lunch in the cafe afterwards, and Reuben’s mat can be put onto the table alongside our food. I’ve also taken it out with me when we’ve gone to mummy groups over lunch, and I’ve looked way more organised than I really am!
But the size of the mini EasyMat is it’s drawback as much as it’s convenience. It doesn’t hold much food, and you have to make sure what you do put into it doesn’t prevent the lid from securing properly. I think the mini is best suited to more pureed, softer food that will fill the compartments nicely as opposed to finger foods that need more space.
So, does the EasyMat stay put? Both the mats can be used on tables and highchairs but you need to be sure the surface is clean enough for the suction cups to work. I found a greasy pub table didn’t like an EasyMat trying to stick to it. But once stuck to the right surface, it sticks! Reuben tries with all his might to unpick the suction cups but they don’t budge an inch.
Of all of Reuben’s dinnerware, the big EasyMat is definitely one of the most used; coming out at least once a day at teatime. It just makes meal times so much easier and less stress. Reuben can eat happily on his own from it while we eat ours, safe in the knowledge there won’t be an upturned plate to rescue. Now if only you could suction a sippy cup to a highchair!
How’s dinnertime in your house? What plates do your babies eat from? I’d love to hear any top tips for enjoyable mealtimes with the family!