Beginner to BLW? This checklist will help you stock up on essentials before you get started. No sponsoring, no ads. This is based purely on the things I use myself.
- High Chair - You'll need something easy to clean because you'll be doing it a lot. And I mean A LOT. We use the Ikea Antilop which is cheap, fully plastic (fabric chairs look great until they are covered in bolognese!) and comes apart so you can even pop the tray in the dishwasher. You can also buy an inflatable cushion to slip into it so it's a bit more comfortable for baby.
- Long Sleeved Bibs - We have 5 of these and sometimes it still doesn't feel like enough! They're basically an apron which covers most of baby (invaluable when you're dishing up Weetabix or chilli con carne). An alternative is stripping baby down to their nappy but as we move into Winter, dining a-la-nude becomes less of an option. Brr!
- Pelican Bibs - These are great for catching falling debris, saving both your kitchen floor and baby's trousers/tights. I often double bib (long sleeved and pelican together) when we're having a messy meal. A flexible bib is a handy purchase so you can roll it up and store it in your changing bag - this minimises the trail of destruction you leave behind you when you dine out!
- Old towel, sheet or cloth - Preferably, all three. Lay one under the high chair to catch the lumps of flying food which are jettisoned at regular intervals during the meal. Many babies use this as a way of signalling when the meal is finished. Mine likes to lob mashed potato at the wall - how precious! We've recently invested in a proper floor mat because I was sick of picking crusted porridge off our old towels. I love it already - much easier to clean.
- Table Mat - I've found that most places we eat out tend to have the high chairs that pull up close to the table but don't have a tray. This means you either have to give baby one piece of food at a time (then inevitably watch it drop on the floor) or dump their lunch directly onto the table. We have a flexible placemat by Ooga Baby which I use as a makeshift tray placed directly on the table. It's fab and feels like a more hygienic option.
- Water Wipes - Really handy for wiping down the tray before/after meals and stashing in your changing back for cleaning grubby faces and hands. I don't like using baby wipes from the nappy bag on faces because the smell reminds me of stinky bottoms!
- Spoons and bowl - Just because you've decided to wean the baby-led way doesn't mean that utensils are off limits. Little Dude rarely lets me put a spoon to his lips myself but enjoys using one himself (usually this means tipping the food off it then proudly sucking on an empty spoon!). Spoons are a much easier way of dealing with porridge, yogurt, soup etc. and wielding one is great for honing baby's motor skills.
- Cup - It took 6 months for L to accept water with his meals so we've tried a few cups - you might need to do the same to find one which suits your baby. A simple free-flow cup is a good place to start. Ironically, after trying almost every cup under the sun, the one L eventually picked up was the very first one we tried. He likes to remind Mama which one of us is the boss :)
- Soft Face Cloth - If there's anything guaranteed to drive a baby nuts, it's wiping their face. Little Dude practically calls Childline whenever I try to get near him with a tissue. Minimise the trauma (and the clean-up) with a soft face cloth or flannel.
- Ice Lolly Moulds - Probably not essential but these are a fun way of introducing baby to smoothies before they've mastered a straw. Having something to eat that is a different temperature/texture adds to the sensory experience too. Win-win!
What are your weaning essentials? Is anything missing from this list? Let me know!