You don't need a whole lot of items to get started with baby led weaning! Here are the TOP essentials that are sure to help make your weaning experience easier and more enjoyable.
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What is baby led weaning?
It’s pretty neat to see this approach to feeding continuing to grow in its popularity. It almost seems like the “trendy”thing to do. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there and so once again, we really need to put on our detective hats to make sure we get our hands on only the credible resources.
But let’s face it. There’s not enough time in the day as is. So please allow me to walk you through the basics of baby led weaning is and why you might want to consider this method of feeding your baby.
Baby led weaning is a feeding method that encourages offering babies finger foods from the start. It allows the babies to feed themselves, explore, set the pace and to be in full control of what and how much to eat.
Here are some pros and cons to spoon-feeding purees and baby led weaning. I share this so that you can make the best decision for you and your family rather than what others recommend. Baby led weaning may not be for you. What's most important is that you practice responsive feeding, which I discuss in the linked article.
How to get started?
I'm glad you asked because I have a very extensive post on how to start baby led weaning on the right foot. Mainly, I wanted to paint a realistic picture so you know exactly what to expect. Hope it encourages you to not get discouraged and throw in the towel when your baby doesn't take to self-feeding right away.
Baby Led Weaning Must-Haves Gears
There’s just no way around it. Things are going to get quite messy.
While it’s not so fun to witness, handling pieces of food is an important part of this whole process as it helps babies understand size and texture, which help them to learn how it’s going to feel inside their mouth. Your baby may just stare at it, poke it, mash it, bang it, lick it, bite it, spit it out, or actually chew and swallow it.
Oftentimes, it may just look like sensory play, but rest assured that every exposure counts! The primary goal during the first month or two isn’t so much eating as it is discovery, and the best way to ensure that your baby has all the nutrition he needs is giving her plenty of opportunities to explore a wide variety of foods while continuing to provide breastmilk and formula.
The earlier you can expose your baby to as many colorful, nutritious, and full-flavored foods and textures as possible, the greater the likelihood that they’ll try and accept new foods later in life.
The good news is, this messy stage won’t last forever. hallelujah! The first 6 months, you’ll be busy cleaning up the floor, ceiling, hair, ear, and all the unimaginable areas (have mercy!!), but as your child develops her motor skills and dexterity, things will start to get more tame after the first year!
Here are the essentials that I know will save you time and your sanity! I know it’s tempting to buy all the adorable products that are out there. But truly, these are really all you need!
Easy to clean high chair
that allows the baby to sit up straight and has foot support. We love this one SO much that we actually got one for each of our children. Having a foot support is really important for toddlers and older children as well in helping them to eat well and actually stay at the table.
I know this one is on the pricey side, but it truly is worth the investment. The best part is it can grow with your baby! And it's a pretty piece of furniture unlike many other high chairs.
Whatever high chair you decide to go with, do make sure that your child can sit comfortably with their feet supported (so important!).
Get several to rotate through so you don't have to wash immediately after every use. The polkadot one is from IKEA and the others are these.
A suction plate and a bowl
I especially LOVE these plate and bowl because they're super spacious, allowing tiny hands plenty of room to explore. And you guys! The suction is incredibly powerful! All their products grow with the child. Simply remove the detachable suction at the bottom and you've got yourself classic dinnerware. They're super easy to clean, and don't leave a stain or strange odor like some of the popular silicone plates/bowls.
These are AMAZING! The short thick handle is just perfect for their little hands. And the flat head is great because there’s no wrong way to hold and bring to their mouth. and there's no need to scoop, balance, and all of that.
Thick foods like yogurt, mashed foods like avocado, lentils, etc. stay on really well. You can hold it up and hand to your baby or place on the table or a bowl for your baby to grab.
Get several! You can easily hand over another when your baby drops one. Or if they refuse to let go, you can load food onto another spoon and hand over the new one.
Once your baby is a bit older (9+ months), you can start introducing spoons with mini heads. We've tried several but this one worked especially well with both of my kids. I has the perfect size and shape and quite easy to maneuver.
Easy-wipe splash mat
Easy to clean and versatile! You can use this underneath the high chair, on tables, outside...
To wipe your baby's hands, face, feet, hair (somebody please make baby hair nets!), table, chair, floor...you get the idea. Here's my favorite
I've had this steam mop for over 3 years and love it so much! I can quickly clean and sanitize any area without harsh chemicals, and it's just so easy to use!
If you use this mop as much as I do, you're going to appreciate these replacement pads.
4-6 month old baby
If you are preparing in advance, sign up here for incredible tips from me, a registered dietitian, as well as an occupational therapist to help set your baby up for success when the time comes to start solids.
6 months and up
If your baby is around 6 months of age and want to make sure your baby is developmentally ready to start solids (SO important!), then grab my FREE handout. I will also walk you through the top questions and concerns that are sure to arise, such as how to prevent choking, introduce the top allergens, incorporate variety, and much more!
3 Month Meal Plan Program - Baby Led Feeding Journey
Perhaps you are tired of turning to 8 different blogs, watching YouTube videos, googling questions just to figure out the whole baby feeding process safely....and on and on...
Now, I so wish I could hold your hand and personally guide you through this huge transition. I really do. But there’s only one of me and so many parents/caregivers out there who are struggling to move beyond purees.
That’s why I created my ULTIMATE 3 month Baby Led Feeding Program. Rather than me explaining to you in words, I SHOW you how to serve all the textures to your baby in an EASY and SAFE way through DAILY cooking videos. You also get to watch my baby handling them to give you the assurance and confidence that you need to march forward.
But there’s SO much more! It’s seriously the closest thing to having me in your kitchen. If you need step-by-step guidance and are ready to move forward today on introducing a wide variety of flavors AND textures without breaking the bank or spending hours in the kitchen, this program is what you need.
It’s exactly what I used to wean my daughter! You can follow our journey on our Instagram page @kidfriendly.meals.
Do you want to minimize picky eating and set a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits?
Check out this 3 month mastering self-feeding program! It’s the closest thing to me being in your kitchen