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Baby CrazyEgg is fed by naso-gastric tube. However, the hope has always been that this will be temporary, and the aim has obviously been to get her eating and drinking normally. We continue to progress, and one of the stages within this has been helped by the use of the Vital Baby Unbelievabowl.
Early on we gave 'food swipes' to Baby CrazyEgg before a feed. This was essentially just dipping your finger into a baby food and then letting her taste the food, hopefully to create a link for her between a nice taste in her mouth and a full sensation in her stomach. At this time I had the food in any old container: a yogurt pot, a previously emptied jar of food, anything suitable really. Then as Baby became more aware and with reflux badly interfering with our progress anything that would add to the idea that these tasting sessions were fun was welcomed, so we moved to proper baby food bowls with fun characters and designs to talk about. This was around the time we progressed to spoons. We have one melamine bowl out of three left, the other two having cracked during 'falls'. Clearly they were inferior to the Vital Baby Unbelievabowl.
After several weeks of Baby being quite content for me to hold the bowl, things began to change in tandem with her physical development and general increasing curiosity and desire to assert her independence. In short, she demanded control of both spoon and bowl, and yet was not equipped as yet to manage either with skill or dexterity. But how would she ever learn if I did not give her the chance? And how would food retain any measure of positivity if I were to set up conflict by insisting on holding these items myself? Sitting with spoon poised to Baby's lips one day, her with her mouth firmly closed, I could see we were heading for disaster, and frankly, I was fed up. So I walked away. And a new phase began: out of the corner of my eye I could see her having a go.
I needed a bowl that stayed in one place so that she could get on with it, perhaps not eating, but at least playing with, smearing, tasting and otherwise enjoying a variety of pureed offerings. Such a bowl would surely allow me to retain my own sanity and simultaneously ensure amicable relations were maintained between myself and Baby CrazyEgg. Two 'suction bowls' for £4 from Morrisons did a relatively ok job, but I needed something better, and Dooyoo revealed to me that there was indeed another option: "It's unspillabowl, it's unmoveabowl, this clever suction bowl is just unbelievabowl!"
The novel feature of this bowl, which is targeted at 9 months plus, is that it comes in two parts, the bowl itself and a suction pad. The pad has a lever which is raised when you position it on the high chair and then pushed down to make the seal tight and the pad immovable. The bowl fits on top with a push and a twist. Now when Baby CrazyEgg jabbed a spoon into her puree, the bowl did not slide about, or fall on the floor. Instead it remained fixed, giving her enough leverage to get some puree onto some element of the spoon and then try it out. Moreover, with the bowl and puree remaining in front of her, there was a greater incentive to hold on to the spoons, and in turn a much lesser incentive to pull out her naso-gastric tube whilst I was busy doing my very important, 'I'm not taking any notice of you' performance, which involved turning my back on her at some points.
The bowl is not infallible. Baby CrazyEgg has been known to dislodge it, but not often. Most of the time it is firmly set. Generally the dislodging follows a crisp or biscuit starter and some of the crumbs will affect the grip the pad can have. I should wipe between courses evidently. I have some more bowls on their way from Amazon since it is so effective. You do not need to purchase further suction pads, just the bowls to go on top, and these were not available in Boots. I would have had to buy another starter set there, for £5.10, which is incidentally more expensive than Amazon for this starter set. The bowls we are getting are pink, but they are also available in blue or orange.
Rather wonderfully in my view, the bowl is suitable for both dishwasher (top rack) , freezer and microwave, and can be sterilised by all the usual methods if needs be. The suction pad cannot be though due to it having a metal component. The bowl is BPA free and made of a plastic that does not have the same level of brittleness as melamine, and therefore is better able to withstand falls from a significant height, should this unlikely event occur. There is no indication that the bowl itself is recyclable when eventually it becomes a thing of the past, but the packaging that it comes in a clear plastic box- is.
The bowl won the bronze award from Practical Parenting in 2009/10 and was a finalist in the 'innovative product under £10' category in the Practical Parenting and Pregnancy awards 2010/2011. Presumably this means there were some other things that were even better, but nevertheless, it is still a great endorsement.
I first heard about the Vital Unbelievabowl here on dooyoo and I am so glad that I did. When I first bought the Vital unbelievabowl, my daughter was not at the stage of even thinking about feeding herself, but I wanted to get bigger bowls, as the little dishes I was using for her meals were no longer holding enough as her appetite grew. So initially although I bought the set with the suction pad, it was the bowls that I used alone, but more recently the suction pad as come into its own!
The unbelievabowl itself, that is made up of a bowl and the suction pad costs just under £4 of amazon, an you can purchase additional bowls that go along with the suction pad. I bought a set of two extra bowls, so in total I have three of these bowls and one suction pad. THe bowls come in several colours including pink, orange and blue. I opted for the pink bowls for obvious reasons.
The main aim of this Unbelieavabowl is to stop young children from being able to throw their bowl from their highchair, and instead keep their bowl in place on their high chair. I like the fact as well, that these bowls are BPA free, as well as being latex and PVC free.
THis bowl is not designed to work on grainy surfaces but should be attached to smooth surfaces such as a baby's highchair. Applying the suction pad to the surface of the high chair was exceptionally easy. You simply lift the tab, put the pad in position, and then shut the tab to lock the pad in place and you can then attach the bowl on top of the pad, screwing it on to lock it in place. I really don't think there is any way my daughter could move this as it is well and truly attached. In saying that however, by turning the bowl, and lifting the flap, it is also very easy for an adult to remove, but not for a young child. The end result is a bowl that stays in place on a high chair, without a child being able to remove it or throw it.
As I said at the beginning, for quite a while I was simply using the bowls by themselves for my daughter's meals and they were the perfect size for her. THey work well in the microwave which is useful as well. When my daughter turned one and was eating family foods, we wanted to encourage the early stages of self feeding without pressure, so we thought if we had the bowl in front of her with a spoon at hand, she may in time show some desire to use the spoon herself. Although I still feed her, I find that since using these pads so her meal is right in front of her, she will reach for the spoon now, and shows some interest in self feeding and I am happy with that at the moment. The great thing is, since the bowl is stuck in place, when she does move in for the spoon, I don't have to worry about her accidently knocking the bowl etc.
So, although some people maybe purchase these bowls because their little one likes to throw their food and plate etc, I bought it to encourage feeding and being part of family meal times,but I know that my daughter is probably likely to go through that phase of throwing her bowls and food around, so I also am pleased that this bowl and pad will be extremely useful then as well.
All in all, I am so glad that I read the positive reviews about this product here on dooyoo, and I am extremely pleased with these bowls and the suction pad that makes them stick to the highchair and stay there. They are great value, and the fact that the bowls can be used by themselves means a set of these should last a good length of time as a child progressing through the weaning and family food stages.
Having weaned three children, I have tried numerous weaning products claiming to be toddler proof but my experiences have been pretty disappointing overall, leading me to accept the inevitability of mess and dropped dinners as part of the weaning process.
I acquired this 'Unbelievabowl' as part of a Vital Baby toddler weaning set, and probably wouldn't have purchased it as an individual item, given my disappointing past experiences with similar products. If purchased individually, this bowl costs around £4.99 which includes a single (small) weaning bowl and a detachable base which secures to the highchair tray and locks the bowl into position. This design is supposed to have a 'childproof locking mechanism' which prevents curious toddlers from experimenting with the effects of gravity on their bowl of food!
The interlocking bowl and base system is pretty simple but ingenious and, despite my initial cynical reservations, proved to be surprisingly effective at thwarting my youngest son's attempts to redecorate the kitchen floor, certainly during the early stages of independent feeding. Using the bowl and its base is straightforward although I did struggle initially as the bowl arrived already attached to its base and I had a real struggle trying to twist it off! When used properly, the small round base secures to a plastic high chair tray by pressing down a lever which creates a vacuum under the rubber seal at the bottom. This makes the base extremely difficult to remove without raising the lever again and releasing the vacuum. The bowl attaches directly to the base by twisting it into a small groove in a clockwise direction until it clicks securely into place. Removing the bowl is a matter of firmly twisting it anti-clockwise. Removal does take quite a bit of strength and effort, and has sometimes resulted in me spilling some leftovers if I misjudge the effort needed! This does mean that a baby or toddler would certainly not be able to remove the bowl from the base.
It is important to note that this system is only effective on smooth surfaces which, in reality, means that it is not suitable for use with wooden high chairs or with high chairs used without trays as the base will not form a strong enough vacuum over a grainy surface. On a plastic highchair tray, I have found the suction to be more than adequate to keep this securely in position. The tray must be completely dry before use- attempting to wipe down the tray immediately prior to use will make this product pretty ineffective as I discovered. Vital Baby do warn that the Unbelievabowl won't be effective on scratched surfaces either. My son's tray does have some very minor surface scratches just through everyday use and this hasn't impaired the effectiveness of the bowl so I suspect that only really uneven scratched surfaces would be an issue.
It might seem a lot of unnecessary effort to install a bowl that is stuck into position but the benefits are particularly apparent during the very early days of weaning. My son loved helping himself to finger foods and soon began snatching at the spoon I was using to feed him, even at six months old. Unfortunately, his co-ordination was not quite as strong as his determination and he would often struggle as he inadvertently managed to push food and the bowl itself out of his reach, with his early attempts at self-feeding. This system really helped to reduce frustration as the bowl remained fixed in place, allowing him to develop the skill of mastering a spoon and improving his hand-eye co-ordination (even if the contents would inevitably drop off the spoon before reaching his mouth!) This is one of the reasons why I feel that the age recommendation on the packaging is a little over-cautious. This is marketed as a product for nine months plus, but I see no reason why this shouldn't be used at the very onset of weaning. I actually found it most useful during the period prior to my little one being nine months old as this was the period when he was most likely to view the bowl and its contents as a toy and more inclined to knock it or tip it, whether intentionally or unintentionally, on the floor. Fortunately, I found the combination of the bowl and its base to be a pretty secure system and my son, certainly up to the age of one, was not able to physically remove the bowl from the tray and get up to mischief!
The only other issue that I have with this bowl is that it is very small and shallow, again making the relatively high minimum age recommendation seem unhelpful. This size is fine for very young babies or for small amounts of finger food and snacks for a toddler, but nowhere near big enough to accommodate main meals for a growing toddler, which is a shame as it does limit the period of usefulness for this product. The bowl can still be used on its own, however, as a standard small weaning bowl, which is how I tend to use it nowadays for snacks and puddings. (There seems little sense in attaching it to a base when my son's meals are served on a plastic plate which isn't stuck into place.) The bowl is BPA free and also dishwasher proof. Despite well over a year's regular use, the plastic bowl is still in excellent condition with only a very slight degree of discolouration, presumably due to the dishwasher use.
Overall, this set is a great concept for the very early stages of independent feeding and is a much more reliable method of preventing toddlers from throwing the entire bowl on the floor than competitor's products. It is pretty good value for money too, especially as replacement bowls can be purchased from the Vital Baby website for £3.99 for a pack of two. This is an excellent idea as there really is no need to have any more than one base in the household, so this is a much more economical solution than buying another bowl and base set. I would certainly recommend the Unbelievabowl to other parents but would particularly advise purchasing this at the onset of weaning, to maximise the usefulness of the set.
When my daughter was a mere 3 months old, I went with my mum to the Baby Show at Earls Court to have a look around, see what deals we could grab and most importantly nab some freebies!! There were a range of different stands and brands floating about, and being a newbie to mother hood most of them I did not know about before, one of them being the Vital Baby brand.
Vital Baby are a brand focused on bringing innovative and original ideas and products for the baby product industry and are quite under-advertised and under-rated in terms of the genius of their products in my opinion! The main product that we own and which this review is focused on is the unbelievabowl range.
- The product -
Now knowing what eating times are like with a toddler (or even an older child!) at meal times food can simply go everywhere with the bowl/plate sliding around if not the child simply picking it up and chucking it on the floor! Now this product is designed to allow independence at meal times which will be mess free! It is a simple bowl and base which has been designed to stay put on the table/high chair using the suction grip on the base which really is secure.
- How to use -
The unbelievabowl comes in 2 parts, the base, and the bowl which is clicked into place on the base. The base is a suction pad which has a lever so simply place the base on a flat surface, click the lever down, and thats it! The base is good to go and will not be shifting anywhere. To attach an unbelievabowl to the base requires putting the bowl on top of the base and swivelling it in a clockwise direction where the are little holes the bowl sits in perfectly and clicks in a locking position. Removing the bowl is the same just reverse instructions, simply twist the bowl anti-clockwise and lift the bowl off the base, and then flick the lever up and the suction releases and the base can be removed and put away for storage.
- My Opinion -
I absolutely love this product and I am so glad the sales assistant at the baby show talked me into getting it! Getting it earlier than required meant we never had any problems with her throwing food everywhere, unless we were in a restaurant or at a friends house. We even got extra bowls and an additional base to stay at my mums house so she couldn't make mess there either!
The bowls are really easy to use, and so I hope my explanation of the base and the bowl didn't sound overly complicated! The sales assistant showed us how to use it only once, and literally that was it, we grasped the concept immediately and have not looked back since. The bowls are great as they are made from safe BPA free materials, and are extremely easy to clean.
It should be noted the suction base works optimum on flat surfaces and of course on hard surfaces, as it will not stick down on a table cloth or on carpet (if you allow your child to eat off the floor I don't know what people might want to do these days!) so it's use is limited. My daughter is now almost 3 so we have been using it near enough for 2 years and sadly with ours at home which got daily use the suction really has lost it's grip. This could be due to the fact we normally left it on her table, which of course over time got sticky and clammy and as I constantly try to clean the table these liquids get across on the suction and it has lost its durability. In addition, it has lost it's edge as little Miss Clever Clogs has worked out how to take the bowl off the base herself which pretty much defeats the object!
The bowls are interchangeable and come in a wide variety of colours. We have an orange base, but also have pink and orange bowls which both work just as fine on the base. The bowls have great longevity and hold decent sized portions of a meal/snack and although our base is almost obsolete (luckily enough madam doesn't really throw her bowl around but it does seem to move around an awful lot when she's eating which creates enough mess anyway!) we still love the bowls, and she still eats her cereal out of them, as the bowls can still be used on their own as a normal bowl which is great.
Sadly I cannot remember how much we paid when we nabbed it at the Baby Show, but I am pretty sure we got it for a good bargain as at our house alone we have one base and about 5 bowls! On the website I have seen they are retailing for £4.99 for one bowl and one suction pad, and an additional £3.99 for 2 bowls. Seems a bit steep, but of course with washing and re-using you don't need much more than this amount I guess.
I started off with the normal kind of weaning bowl that you hold as I had decided to take a traditional approach to weaning. When I got to the point of offering my twins finger foods I used to just put them onto the highchair tray thinking that any bowl would just end up on the floor. I know babies make mess but I like to minimise this and therefore the amount of time I have to spend cleaning up, after all spending time with little ones is far more fun than cleaning up after them. Another twin Mummy mentioned these Unbelivabowls that actually stay stuck onto the highchair tray unlike most of the normal push down suction ones.
Made by Vital these sets are BPA and latex free, in particular I check to ensure products are stated as BPA free and so was pleased to see this product was. The sets are available in a choice of colours Blue, Pink and Orange. I like to get different colours for my twins so that they can have their own.
They are suitable for stage 3 of weaning from 9 months+, if you doing baby led weaning I don't see why these bowls wouldn't be suitable from 6 months.
It is designed to work on smooth surfaces and I have only ever used it on the highchair tray. With the plastic lever up you place the suction part where you want it to stick you then press the plastic lever back down. When this snaps down into the base a really strong suction is formed. The only times I have found it not to work is when either the tray or the suction base have been slightly damp, so I always ensure both are completely dry before using.
The bowl fixes on to the base by lowering it onto the base and twisting it clockwise, this then locks it onto the base. Once it is fixed in place baby can't get the bowl off the base and the base is firmly suctioned to the tray. They can then feed themselves and I know that a bowl of food isn't going to land on the floor in seconds. As it is so easy to change the bowl you can swap it over with a spare one for a different food, you can buy bowls on their own without the base for this purpose.
We are trying to get the twins to use spoons to eat and it makes it easier for them to have their bowls firmly in place. I would really struggle to hold 2 bowls and help them get food on the spoon.
It is easy to remove the bowl and base by reversing the twisting and lifting the lever to release the suction. They wash well and are still in really good condition after about 10 months use.
Price and availability
The bowl sets are available from Amazon for £4.99, they are also available direct from Vital Baby and from John Lewis among others. I think this is a good price for the set, a pack of 2 spare bowls is £3.99
Would I recommend?
Yes, these bowls have worked really well for us and are of good quality.
When my son was showing signs of being ready to feed independently I wasn't feeling very prepared. It was nice to see him becoming more confident and independent and developing in this way but the weaning kit that I had just didn't support his latest development. If I put any food on his highchair tray for him to pick up with his fingers he didn't really seem to understand it was to be eaten, being used to having food from a bowl. However, the weaning bowls that I owned would just be played with and thrown on the floor. It was obvious that I needed to purchase a bowl that would stay in place for him to eat his food from.
Whilst weaning, I had used a lot of Tommee Tippe products so the natural choice would have been their 'magic mat' and bowl set. However, I had heard very mixed reviews from my mum friends about this product so I decided to research what else was available on the market. I came across the 'unbelievabowl' from Vital Baby for £4.99 on Amazon and, whilst I had never heard of the manufacturer before, thought that it was a great idea and decided to purchase one in blue.
The concept of the bowl is that it supports self-feeding by sticking and holding in place no matter how hard it is pushed or pulled - so baby can get the food out of the bowl without throwing the bowl (and food!) on the floor. There are two parts to the bowl. There is a round plastic suction pad with a white rubber bottom. This is made of a hard blue plastic and has a lever that can be pulled up and pushed back in to the pad. This lever operates the suction - you pull the lever up, place the pad on the table or highchair tray, then push the lever back in. This holds the pad firmly in place.
The bowl is made of a transparent blue plastic and has a circular base that slides over the plastic suction pad. The bowl has little bump nodules on each side that slide into grooves in the side of the suction base to lock it into place.
USING THE BOWL
The bowl comes attached to the base and your first challenge is working out how to detach! This is best done by placing on a flat surface and pushing down quiet firmly and twisting the bowl. The base is easy to use and attaches well to most flat surfaces. You do need to make sure that the surface is completely dry and unscratched though as there is loss of suction if not (it may not even stick).
The bowl clicks into place on the suction pad easily and this is very simple to do. However, we have found that twisting this into place can sometimes dislodge the base, even though this has felt very securely held in place. Therefore, you need to make sure that you do not apply too much pressure when fixing the bowl in place.
We have mainly been using this bowl for finger food and it is a decent size for this purpose. My son can see clearly into the bowl and choose which food to pick up. He does grab hold of the bowl sometimes and pull himself towards it. This usually stands up well to the pressure and remains firmly in place on his highchair tray but he has, occasionally, managed to dislodge it. This does make me a little anxious as to whether to use this with messier foods when he starts practising spoon feeding...
We have also used this bowl when out and about and he has been sitting on a booster seat at the table with us. We have found that it actually sticks and holds a lot better to wooden surfaces than it does his plastic highchair tray.
Although not completely faultless - it has been removed from the tray by my baby a few times - this is a good product. It sticks well to most dry surfaces and holds well under moderate pressure. The bowl can easily be cleaned - I place it in the dishwasher and it washes up well - although the suction base is a little more tricky to clean. The white rubber on ours has also discoloured slightly over time.
For £4.99, I think this is good value. You can also buy additional bowls to go with the base so you don't have to fork out for a new base because you need more than one bowl (two bowls for £3.99). They are also available in pink and orange.
I would recommend this to you if you have a baby starting to self feed as I think this is one of the best options available and it is also a decent price. It's a very simple idea and handy to take with you if you eat out - rather than take a special mat and bowl out with you like some of the market alternatives. So, in summary, not perfect but probably as near as you are going to get!