The #1 Reason You Shouldn’t Buy a Baby Suction Plate

baby suction plate, bowl, cup, and utensils

Suction plates for babies

Are you shopping for the best baby suction plate?

They are quite the trend!

A baby suction plate or bowl helps prevent dishes from being flipped over, falling to the ground, and making a big mess.

As a busy mom, who wouldn’t want less mess to clean?

But did you know that a baby suction plate or bowl actually causes more mess and more steps in the feeding process in the long term? Let me explain.

When I was touring a preschool as a potential place to send my children, the principal took me on a tour where we walked into a classroom that was in the middle of eating.

All of the little 2 year olds were drinking out of glass cups and eating off of regular dishes. Everyone was well behaved and had the best manners. Each child was being so careful. I was blown away.

The principal shared with me that children are more capable than we think. That they learn best from cause and effect.

All it takes is one dish to break, and they learn the importance of being careful, that we are gentle with the things we care about.

Children throw sippy cups because they know nothing happens to them. The same thing is true with plastic or silicone dishes.

The principal’s message–along with seeing her words in action in that classroom–made such an impression on me. I could not wait to do the same with my babies.

My four year old daughter and 2 year old son skipped the baby suction plate, as well as all baby plastic/silicone plates and bowls. They went from using their high chair tray as a plate to then eating out of regular dishes.

It has been such a fun thing to watch, and I am certain my husband and I have broken more dishes on accident than our kids have over the years.

What we used specifically will be explained further down the article. For now, let’s talk a little bit more about a baby suction plate.

The Pros and Cons of a Baby Suction Plate

plus and minus cubes on a scale of pros and cons to a baby suction plate

4 Pros

1. Less mess

Babies and toddlers are still developing their fine motor skills, and they can often accidentally knock over their plates, leading to spills and messes. Suction plates help keep the plate in place, reducing the chances of food being thrown around.

2. Safe

Traditional plates can become projectiles if a child manages to lift or throw them. Suction plates adhere securely to the surface, reducing the risk of injury from flying dishware.

3. Independence

As babies transition to solid foods, parents encourage self-feeding as a way to develop independence and motor skills. Suction plates enable the child to attempt to feed themselves without constantly needing assistance to hold the plate.

4. Stress reducer

Suction plates can be especially useful when dining out or in new environments. They provide parents with a bit more peace of mind, knowing that the child’s plate won’t easily become a source of disruption.

9 Cons

1. Skill Development

While suction plates can promote independence, they might hinder the development of certain motor skills. Children may not learn how to handle regular plates or bowls effectively if they become reliant on suction plates.

2. Cleanup

Suction plates can accumulate debris and liquids underneath them, which might require a bit more effort to clean thoroughly.

3. Transition Challenges

Eventually, children will need to learn how to use regular plates and bowls. Transitioning from a suction plate to a regular one might pose a challenge, as they have become accustomed to the stability provided by the suction plate.

4. Cost

Suction plates are often designed as specialized baby products, which can lead to higher costs compared to regular plates or dishes.

5. Dependency

Using a suction plate exclusively might lead to a sense of dependency in the child, as they rely on the plate’s stability rather than learning how to manage regular dishware.

6. Adhesion Issues

Suction plates might not adhere as effectively to certain surfaces or materials. They tend to work best on smooth surfaces like high chair trays or glass tables, so their effectiveness can be limited in different dining situations.

7. Limited Designs

Suction plates may come in limited designs and sizes compared to regular plates, which can be less visually appealing or engaging for children.

Plus, the design alone is different than what Mom, Dad, or Big Sister/Brother are eating off of; how many times have you heard your little one say, “I want what you have”? Monkey see, monkey do. If you model eating off a regular dish, kids naturally want to do that, too. No need for baby product extras or gimmicks.

8. Health and Safety

There have been concerns raised about the potential release of harmful chemicals from certain suction plate materials or suction bases. It’s important to choose products that are made from safe materials and free from harmful chemicals.

9. Space

Having suction plates, along with other baby items, is one more thing to have to store in your kitchen. If space is limited, that can be a challenge.

I am more of a minimalist than not and get anxiety over having lots of things. Your kitchen does not have to become full of baby suction plates and bowls, or divided plates for toddlers, or specific kinds of sippy cups. You can keep your kitchen clutter free, and have your baby feel they are valued, trusted, and respected with real dishes and utensils.

How do you do that? I will show you!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

What to Do in Lieu of a Baby Suction Plate or Bowl

baby eating off a baby suction plate in a high chair

1. Have your child use their high chair tray as their plate.

That’s what we did with our Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair.

We chose this high chair because it grows with the child, promotes healthy posture, and takes up minimal space.

Because the Stokke high chair transitions into a regular chair that is strong enough to hold an adult, you get to skip purchasing a booster seat for when your baby is ready to move on from a high chair. Unlike many booster seats, the Stokke chair promotes healthy posture. Plus, the chair scoots right under a table like regular chairs do, so it truly takes up very little space.

2. Using the tray as the plate allows your little one to explore and play (yes, play!) with their food.

Food is new and exciting for a baby! Let them learn about food through the five senses, allowing them to squish, smoosh, rub their fingers in it.

Often times, after a child has played in their food for a few minutes, they then start to eat it. The exploration is harder to do on a confined baby suction plate.

Many parents assume they need a baby suction plate since that is what is consuming the baby and toddler market.

Or, they feel they need a plate that is divided into sections, which many baby suction plates have.

However, doing this can cause more stress and struggles for your child (and you) down the road.

If a little one only ever sees his/her food on a plate that is divided, they may naturally start to think that food should always be separated or never touch each other.

Do that with the brain of a developing toddler, one who may not like change (i.e. using a regular plate when in a new environment, like a restaurant), and you might spark a meltdown.

By using a divided plate early on, you might be setting your toddler up for becoming more of a picky eater than if you were to serve them food on regular plates.

3. Have your child eat off of side plates or salad plates

That is what we do. They are smaller than regular dinner plates and are perfect for little eaters.

What if your child throws plates?

Be okay with it. The sooner a child sees the consequence of a dish splattering to pieces, the faster they learn how to be careful and gentle. Most learn after just one time.

Our kids have never broken a plate, but they have accidentally broken a bowl.

After they both saw the one break, we honestly haven’t had them break another.

The breaking of dishes has come from my husband or me moving too fast as we unload the dishwasher.

Our children’s bowls are ramekins. We already had a lot of them, and they are the most perfect size for little tummies and hands.

4. Do buy baby utensils

Adult silverware is heavy and big. Buy baby and toddler utensils that you like.

For us, we wanted our children to be as close to “the real deal” as possible, so we use these ones and these ones from Amazon.

5. Do buy glass shot glasses

This is the one thing I regret NOT doing. This is what I beautifully saw all the little preschoolers drinking out of with ease and caution when I toured that preschool I mentioned above.

But, I didn’t do it because I didn’t have them. And, so many of my friends had their babies drinking out of the 360 cups that I decided to purchase those instead.

The 360 cups are dentist recommended, so I do really like them for that. And, they are BPA free plastic. But, they are the ONE thing my kids throw. Over and over.

And, I do have a whole cupboard dedicated to these darn cups when I could have easily just added glass shot glasses (or another kind of mini glass) to our glasses cupboard no problem.

I think I had a mental block, though, of worrying what others would think if they came over to my house and saw my kids drinking out of shot glasses.

But, hindsight is 20/20! And if I could go back in time, I would have skipped the sippy cups, too, and just done the shot glasses until we could transition into bigger glasses.

My cupboard would have less stuff and my kids would be modeling the caution they have with their dishes towards their drinking glasses, too.

My Overall Thoughts

You need to do what is best for you and your family. For me, the baby suction plate is not the route to go because I feel it over complicates an experience–eating and bonding with your child over food–that doesn’t need to be complicated.

You do not need to go out and buy all sorts of baby plates, bowls, and cups for your children.

Ultimately, we want to set a good example for our children not with just how we eat, but how we behave at the table. The earlier we can do this, the better.

I hope I’ve made the process of selecting your kids’ dishes a little bit easier.

Happy eating!

Read Next:

35 Easy AND Healthy Toddler Breakfast Ideas

21 Toddler Meal Ideas the Whole Family Can Enjoy

26 Healthy Snacks for Moms That are Quick & Easy

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