Everything You Need For Baby-Led WeaningBy Louise Millard 5th September 2015
Regular readers of TMBaby will know from my previous blog on this topic, that I’m a strong advocate of Baby-Led Weaning. We had great success weaning Skye using this method and we're looking forward to another food adventure with Zac in a couple of months time.
I've been completely delighted to chat to Mrs M, our regular blogger, about Baby-led weaning for Freya and after a hugely successful first month for this Mummy and Daughter, I thought you might find it useful to know what I think you need to get started with Baby-Led Weaning.
Firstly, do invest in a copy of the ‘Baby-led Weaning Cookbook: Over 130 delicious recipes for the whole family to enjoy’, by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. This is an excellent introduction to baby-led weaning, combining an outline of the BLW philosophy with a comprehensive recipe selection.
One of the main ideas behind Baby-led Weaning is that your baby eats the same food as you do from the outset. This encourages family mealtimes which is something I’ve loved with Skye particularly now we can have a proper chat about our day over dinner. I think the best highchairs for BLW are those that have a detachable tray so babies can enjoy sitting with the family at the dinner table. The Noah Highchair by BabaBing is a fantastic design that grows with your child through to teenage years. It’s incredible value for money and comes with the necessary accessories in one box. Sleek, modern AND comfortable - we love!!
I’m not going to lie, BLW is REALLY messy but I think the fun of the adventure more than compensates for the mess. My thinking is that you spend less time cleaning up a messy baby and wiping down a splash-mat than you do cooking separate food and pureeing/mashing.
A full-coverage bib is essential for keeping your little one’s clothes clean, particularly in the early days or with food that you just know will get everywhere, like Spaghetti Bolognaise. This smock is ideal - it provides full cover and packs compactly into a little pouch ready for messy occasions when you’re out and about. It can also double up as a smock for the little painter in your life :-)
The funky new Catcherz bibs from Skibz are also great for BLW - a modern take on the traditional pelican style bib, they are BRILLIANT for catching spills and dropped food. We love Skibz’ quirky, inventive style and their fun and funky designs in Rockstar Red, Bubble Blue and Popping Pink.
Plates & Cutlery
This toddler plate is ideal for BLW. It has a slip resistant bottom. The rim of the plate is narrow and steep, perfect for little fingers pushing food against to pick it up. The distance from food to mouth is shortened so it hopefully won't all end up on their lap.
For the first few months, BLW is all about using their hands. However, having lots of opportunity to practice their hand/eye coordination, babies quickly progress to cutlery. I think I introduced cutlery to Skye at around 10 months and she was super eager to master using a spoon and fork. She's now working on her chopsticks - see photo :-) This Toddler Table Cutlery set is perfect for chubby little hands - well-designed to make it easier for little ones to grip.
This stylish, colourful range also includes a Toddler Cup with a slip resistant outer surface and a ledge to rest on those chubby little finger.
Out & About
It was one of the best summers we’ve had for years when I was off on maternity leave with Skye. Picnic lunches were almost an every day occurrence. We were out and about all the time and I didn’t leave home without a bag of chopped up vegetables, fruit, cheese and last night’s dinner! It’s important to keep food chilled to keep all that nasty bacteria at bay and the Fridge-To-Go bottle bags work like a refrigerator, keeping contents cold to a safe 5°C. With a wipe clean interior and exterior and a handle to attach to your pram, these little bags are another great BLW accessory.
I live in Hackney, East London where we have a fabulous range of cafes and restaurants who cater very well to the mummy crowd. In most eating establishments, there’s a stack of Ikea highchairs so it’s rare that you are left juggling a baby on your lap while eating lunch - although it can happen on occasions when you meet your 6 NCT friends and babies!
Also, I completely appreciate that not every City/Town/Village is so well catered for and if you like to eat out with your baby but are often struggling to find a highchair then the Totseat is your friend. It’s a fabulously compact, fabric highchair that safely harnesses your little one to an adult chair when there are no available highchairs. Read our Parent Tester reviews on this ingenious product.
I’ve already mentioned that Baby-led Weaning is MESSY. It really is! Food gets everywhere - up noses, in eyebrows, hair, on walls and all over the floor. An essential piece of kit is a splash mat. We don’t sell these on TMB (yet) but John Lewis do a great range of oil cloths which you can have cut to size. This really is a must-have!
My over-riding piece of advice would be to ignore the mess and marvel in the adventure - it really is the most amazing experience watching your little baby pick up his/her first piece of food and enter a whole new world of tastes and texture. I loved introducing Skye to food and really hope we have a similar experience with Zac in a couple of months time.
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