We began introducing Noah to food two months ago, when he turned six months old. I previously had done baby led weaning with James, and we decided after a little bit of thinking to do the same with Noah. So, two boys in, what can I recommend to you about baby led weaning?
First off, baby led weaning is where you pretty much give the baby a portion of whatever you’re eating. No puréed food, unless it comes puréed, and basically finger food or loaded spoons. The baby feeds themselves. So it’s going to be messy.
Essential item number one is a floor mat. You can use a mat especially marketed for the purpose, or even a shower curtain, but basically you need something you can just pick up and shove in the washing machine when all the food has fallen down from the high chair.
Speaking of which, essential item number two has to be the IKEA high chair. Go on almost any parenting forum, ask which chair they recommend and 90% of the responses will be “the IKEA Antilop”. It’s easy to clean – I think you can put it on the top rack of the dishwasher – it’s simple to dismantle and it’s the right height for most tables. There are some downsides to the design, for example you can’t lift the tray off easily if there’s still lots of food on it, since it clips on using a lift and push method, so taking it off involves a lift and pull action, which can result in the food falling off onto the baby and/or chair.
Number three is a long sleeved bib. The alternative to this is a naked baby, which you see demonstrated above. A long sleeved bib like this one from Bibetta is perfect as it’s washable, waterproof, and does its job. I also used a couple from the supermarket which had cloth sleeves and a waterproof backing to a cloth centre section. They were fine, too, but I had to replace the hook and loop fastening with a button to make it more durable.
Essential item number four is a chipper! We have this from Culina, but you can get very similar models that do the same by different companies. A chip shaped piece of food is really useful when you’re learning to eat, and these little devices make it much easier to serve them up! You just simply bung a carrot, potato, cucumber, whatever, into the main body of the chipper, push the handle down, and job’s a good ‘un – chips!
Finally, how to clean up that mess I mentioned at the start of this post? Essential item number five is Dettol Antibacterial Surface Wipes – perfect for cleaning up after mealtimes – you can quickly wipe down the tray or table and the chair, knowing that you’re leaving no taint or bacteria.