The #DitchTheTray Campaign
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The #DitchTheTray Campaign

As a Speech Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist, I have to observe the child and the entire family when it comes to feeding and eating. Three of the most important tips for successful and safe eating habits for children are:

Positioning of the child in their feeding chair

Placement of the child in their feeding chair

Products the child uses for eating once safely positioned in their feeding chair

Positioning of the child in their feeding chair: To make the introduction of solid foods successful and safe, babies need to be able to sit upright in a chair. For parents who want to pursue the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) approach, where the baby is independently exploring food, a proper feeding chair is essential. For parents choosing to spoon feed their babies, proper positioning in a feeding chair is key, too, because you want your child to have the stability to lean forward to take a bite. Marsh Dunn Klein, MEd, OTR/L classifies this as a ‘positive tilt’ in her popular seminar The Get Permission Approach to sensory mealtime challenges. The ‘negative tilt’ is when your baby leans back to decline the bite; he/she is communicating that they need more time between bites or they are full! Your baby’s trunk stability and positioning in a chair is vital for both feeding methods.

Placement of the child in their feeding chair: The Stokke Tripp Trapp is the chair of choice at ezpz headquarters because it can start with your baby at 6 months of age, which is when solid foods are developmentally introduced, and grow with your child throughout their developmental years. Using a proper feeding chair (like the Tripp Trapp) allows you to ditch the highchair tray and let your baby be at the dining table for the sensory exploration of smells, colors and parent modeling. Also, thanks to the adjustable seat and footplate, your baby’s feet are properly supported and baby is safe at midline, which decreases choking risks.

Team ezpz is on a mission to inspire others to ditch the highchair tray (#DitchtheTray), and our campaign encourages parents and feeding therapists to let baby eat at the table with the rest of the family. Ditching the tray increases the chance of your little one exploring more foods and tastes. It also allows them to be more independent with eating, which is expected and encouraged. The longer a baby can experience mealtime at the table, the less likely she is to become a picky eater. Win!

Of course, there are special situations where a tray is needed to ensure safe feeding. Infants or children who need additional postural support should unquestionably use the tray, but also be monitored for improvement. That way, as their posture and stability improves you can introduce the chair at the table (without the tray) and practice with small and quick snacks.

Products to use once the child is safely positioned in their feeding chair: The Mini Mat and Happy Mat are all-in-one plates and placements that suction to the table. The mat captures the mess and the suction feature means no more tipped or thrown plates! The mats have three compartments that visually remind parents/therapists to serve a fruit or veggie, protein and carbohydrate. The smiley face design puts kids in the right mood for a positive mealtime experience while allowing them to explore new foods. The Happy Mat and Mini Mat have the following benefits for infants and toddlers:

The Mini Mat (4+ months)

  • Placemat suctions to the table, which allows the child to hold on to the mat to maintain a safe eating position
  • Made from thinner food grade silicone that is lightweight and perfect for dinners out and travel
  • Packaged in a reusable bag that is ezpz to pop in a diaper or therapy bag
  • Portion sizes are catered to infants and travel at 2oz for the eyes and 4oz for the smile

The Happy Mat (9+ months)

  • Placemat suctions to the table, which allows the child to hold on to the mat to maintain a safe eating position
  • Made from thicker food grade silicone that has a wider placemat to catch the mess and provide space for a cup, silverware or food art
  • Portion sizes are catered toctoddlers at 4oz for the eyes and 10oz for the smile

Take the pledge to have baby join the rest of the family at the table and become an inspiration to others to do the same! Hurray for family mealtime! Join our #DitchtheTray campaign and tag pictures of your littles eating at the table with the hashtags #DitchtheTray and #ezpzfun.

Happy Feeding,

Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz


Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz

Dawn Winkelmann, a.k.a “Ms. Dawn”, has treated thousands of kids across the globe by helping families overcome picky eating stages and food refusals, while adding new foods into their diet. Her high success rate is attributed to Ms. Dawn bringing her education, experience, sense of humor and her favorite feeding products to the family dinner table.

You will find Ms. Dawn’s expert feeding advice to be positive and fun for the entire family! She adapts complicated feeding/swallowing research and makes it practical and easy for parents! Get ready to learn the science behind your favorite feeding products and ways to bring happy family mealtimes back!


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