Disclosure: I received some for of compensation from Brown Owl Kids to produce this post, however all opinions are my own. 

Dear Diary,

I am a mom of three kids–a five-year-old picky eater, a two-year-old high maintenance eater and an 11-month old-messy eater. As all moms can attest to, mealtime with the kids is always an exhausting adventure. After preparing what seems like 3 separate meals, we dive into dinner. Of course, my meal is cold, since in addition to my chef’s hat, I’m a waitress running back and forth to the table serving everyone hand and foot. Over the years, I have figured out how to make mealtime less stressful and more meaningful. Here are my mealtime tips for babies and toddlers.

Anticipate a Mess

I put a floor mat under the high chair and the kids’ table This helps me clean up quickly. Otherwise, the mess stays on the floor until after bedtime. After meals, I just pick it up and shake it off outside in the trash can. You can also go the disposable route and throw the covering away after each use.

Buy a Bib

We reviewed the Brown Owl Babies Jungle Bibs, which you can wipe clean or throw in the dishwasher. There’s a big pocket to catch spills and minimize messes. Now that my Messy eater is feeding herself, the pocket in these bibs is a must-have. Because the pocket is propped open, the food (mostly) falls into it, and my daughter will usually just reach back in and grab it again. I really liked the adjustable neck, which will fit babies from four-months-old to toddlers. The bib is soft and comfortable, so my daughter didn’t try to take it off. If we eat out, the bibs are super cute, and the neutral colors match almost every outfit.

Brown Owl Bibs


Make Food for Everyone

I wish my kids would eat everything I made, like my siblings and I did with our mother. But that’s not the case in my house! At first, I thought cooking for everyone’s individual tastes would wear me out. Then, I figured out how to cook smarter, not harder. This reduced cooking time and my grocery bill. For instance, I can purchase a whole chicken and make multiple meals. I’ll whip up a chicken soup with lots of fresh veggies for one child. I quickly pan fry part of the child for another child. While the soup is cooking, I’ll make side dishes, like rice. The messy eater has soup and munches on a roll. My picky eater eats the chicken. The High Maintenance eater, my husband and I all eat the entire meal. If you have leftover chicken, you can make sandwiches or a chicken salad for the next day. One 30-minute cooking session at the stove serves everyone.

Schedule Meals

There have been several times where I felt like I was cooking or feeding someone all day. Anytime someone was hungry, I would feed them. And with everyone on a different schedules, especially as my oldest started school, I, finally learned to schedule meals as a family. If the children get hungry in between breakfast, lunch or dinner, I grab go-to snack. A yogurt or string cheese will suffice! This helps me not slave away in front of the stove. Instead, I can spend more time making memories.

All of these things have helped me become better organized and more efficient as a mom. I now enjoy mealtime and enjoy the company of my kids.

Hey DFTM–What are you tricks to making mealtime more enjoyable? And didn’t you just adore the Brown Owl Babies Jungle Bibs? You can enter to win a set for your little one!


Disclaimer: All entrants must be from USA. A winner is selected at random and will be announced on the 5th December via email and Facebook, if the winner does not claim within 7 days another random winner will be chosen.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

3 Responses

  1. Janeane Davis

    One thing I learned while cookin for our family of six is that I make only one meal and meal time is the same for everyone. I make thins that everyone can eat. My son hates vegetables and one daughter is a vegetarian so I make meals iwth a little someting for everyone. This means a side dish for one is the main course for another. These bibs are adorable, by the way!

  2. MJ

    Those bibs are the cutest! And boy do I know how important a good bib is! It’s a mommy savior for sure!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.