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Trying out travel placemats

Eating out with Henry can be a messy business, so I'm always on the lookout for ways to make it a little less so. Recently, we tried out two different types of placements designed for kids. Since Henry is still practicing how to eat from a bowl or plate, a placemat helps to make clean-up easier. Also, sometimes Henry wants to chew on the edge of the table, so a placemat helps protect the table from his sharp teeth.

The first product we tried was the TinyDiner Placemat. This item receives rave reviews from other baby-led weaning families so I thought we should give it a try. This placemat has suction cups along the sides to help it stay on the table and a catch tray along the front edge to collect dropped items. When baby is done eating, it rolls up and can be tucked in the pocket of diaper bag. It is reusable and dishwasher safe.
Henry eats Japanese food from his TinyDiner Placemat.
The first couple of times we used the TinyDiner, Henry was distracted by the catch-tray. As you can see in the photo below, he spent a good portion of our meal chewing on the tray instead of eating his food. 
Henry attempts to eat the TinyDiner Placemat.
After a few uses, Henry figured out how to rip the suction cups off of the table. In addition, since the placemat spent most of the time rolled up in the side pocket of Henry's diaper bag, the plastic wanted to return to that shape when we laid it out on the table. This mat would benefit from stronger and more effectively placed suction cups.

Since the TinyDiner Placemat was not working well for us, I went in search of another option. I purchased one set of the Neat Solutions Neat-Ware Table Topper. These placemats come in packs of 20 but they fold up very small so I can tuck a few in a diaper bag pocket. While I am not a huge fan of disposable products, these are biodegradable. 

The placemat sticks securely along all four edges to the table. I adhere the front of the placemat just under the table edge and so far Henry has not been able to peel them off of the table. I have heard that some of the Table Toppers only have adhesive on two sides so be aware that they are not all the same.
Henry waits for his meal.
The Table Toppers come in several fun patterns which we look at together while waiting for our food to arrive. So far the designs have not proven distracting during mealtime, but I could see how this may cause problems for some kids.
Henry enjoys eating a quesadilla off of his Table Topper.
When Henry is done eating, I just peel the placemat up by each corner, folding them in to the center to create a pouch for any remaining bits of food and water. Several waitresses have remarked that these placemats are a great accessory for eating out with little ones.


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