Baby Led Weaning Must Haves for Beginners
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I recently posted a Beginner’s Guide to Baby Led Weaning in which I wrote about the best way to start “BLW”. This is a follow up post so if you haven’t read that one, go check it out! This is simply a list of my favorite baby led weaning ‘must haves’.
We adore baby led weaning.
It worked out wonderfully for us! I really believe that it’s a great way to teach your child healthy eating habits early on.
Here are a few things that will make your journey a little bit easier!
EZPZ Happy Mat
James’s mom got one of these for Leopold after hearing me talk about it and we absolutely love it! Right after we got our regular size mat they came out with the mini mat, which would have been better. The smaller one fits a lot better on a high chair tray! These mats are easy to clean (dishwasher safe, too!) and suction wonderfully to the table so baby can’t throw the whole thing on the floor. They just came out with their new Nordic collection in more muted colors and they are BEAUTIFUL. They currently have a promotion going on, too! Buy any two items and get a book for free!
When I was an au pair in Germany the family used these bibs. I always loved how easy to clean they were! Not to mention they hold food in the pocket so it’s less you’re cleaning up off the floor and the baby.
A lot of people struggle with these bowls, but we loved them for a good while! I will admit that they do lose their ‘suck’ after a couple of washes in the dishwasher. If you want them to retain their suction for as long as possible then just wash them by hand! Ours worked okay for a good while though! They are especially useful when baby is still small and isn’t trying to pry the bowl off the table. It’s just easier not to knock it over.
A variety of baby silverware
If you’re like me and a lot of other moms, a new phase in your baby’s life is an exciting reason to buy new baby gear! I have a problem. I know. Leopold’s first Easter basket was full of things to start our food journey. Mum Mums, Silverware, sippy cups, bibs, the works. Even now when he is 19 months old I have to hold myself back from buying more eating gear that we don’t need. We got these Gerber spoons that I loved because they are like tiny spatulas if you are spoon feeding a bit. They are great for wiping excess slop off baby’s mouth. I found these great spoons with tiny holes in them that keep the taste there for a little while longer. They are also curved which makes them a great first spoon for babies who are learning to feed themselves. We never bought these ‘num nums’ but I thought they were seriously cool! Maybe for the next baby. We did buy some of these learning spoons by Nuk. They are supposed to help the food stay on the spoon. They work pretty well but you often have food hide in the back of the spoon that baby can’t quite get to. If you’re looking for a spoon/teether combo, check out these gorgeous spoons by OlaSprout!
A mat to go under your high chair.
I never had one of these because I have dogs and they are really the best at cleaning up food. We did come close to buying one a few times after our little dog ate too much and got sick! If you want to protect your floor from flying food, check out one of these high chair mats to help make cleanup a little easier.
Cleaning products you trust.
You will be doing a lot of wiping. Wiping baby’s face, the high chair, the floor, etc. Make sure you have good cleaning products around that won’t leave a lot of nasty chemicals on the surface of the high chair! Try BabyGanics all purpose cleaner for the high chair and Neat Cheeks face wipes for baby’s face! That is, if you aren’t headed straight for the bath tub!
A reusable pouch so baby can learn to feed themselves.
While purees are considered a ‘no no’, that doesn’t mean baby can’t feed themselves the baby food! One point of baby led weaning is teaching your child to successfully feed themselves. So if you want to give them yogurt, applesauce or purees, go ahead! Just give them the bowl and the spoon and let them go crazy! We love our Nature’s little squeeze reusable pouches, and our squeasy silicone pouch/water bottle.
A sippy cup, or better yet, a regular cup!
Learning to drink from a cup is quite a process. Why not start early? Leopold does fairly well drinking from a cup, but I haven’t worked with him all that much. Aside from offering it to him at some meals, he usually drinks from a sippy cup. Let’s be real, who has time to wipe up water all day every day? We are taking it slow and that’s okay. I offered him a variety of cups in the beginning. We tried the Munchkin 360, Nuk sippy cups, Munchkin Latch cup, weighted straw cups, and regular cups. He prefers straw cups and Nuk cups to anything else at this point in his life (at 19 months). He obviously loves trying to drink from a cup, too.
The Baby led weaning book and cookbook.
If you love reading and parenting books, you should definitely grab a copy of both of these! The BLW book is the ultimate guide to the most effective baby led weaning tips. The cookbook is a great companion if you are looking for inspiration and ideas.
The biggest ‘must have’ is PATIENCE!
Learning to feed yourself is no easy task, so empathize with your baby. Don’t get frustrated when they won’t eat what you offer them. Try not to fuss when they throw every last piece of food you give them on the floor. It won’t last forever, and whether or not it appears like it to you, they are learning!
People are going to be shocked that you are letting your toothless infant chew on a strip of steak. Most people aren’t aware of baby led weaning so if they gasp in horror at the way you are doing things, ignore them! Better yet, educate them! If they are willing to listen, briefly explain baby led weaning to them and assure them that you know what you’re doing and you believe this is best for your baby.