Jack has been eating solids now for 6 months (and still nursing like crazy too). He is a very adventurous eater, willing to try almost anything. He has clear favorites (cheese, chicken nuggets, blackberries and noodles soup). And clear dislikes (tofu, peaches, oatmeal, and bananas). Well atleast for this week, it changes all the time. For a good month he LOVES oatmeal. Now he gets mad if I even suggest it.
Some days he eats me out of house and home. Seriously, one day I had run to the store to by him snacks because he signing “eat” and I had nothing to give him! Some days he only wants breast milk and refuses anything I give him. But, most days he likes one big meal (usually lunch) and just snacks the rest of the day.
Here is a list of items I found crucial for our baby-led weaning success. Nothing too complicated, but the right stuff makes it easier on you and your baby.
Essential Baby-Led Weaning Products:
Simple High Chair—I can’t stress the simple part enough. You want a very basic high chair that comes apart easily to clean. Your baby is going to make a big mess for awhile and it is a pain to clean one of those big fancy high chairs. We had a second-hand one that was very nice, but it was so hard to keep clean. I felt like I was washing the entire thing 3 times a day and Michael still had to go hose it off outside once a week. Even with it being free, it was not worth the effort. We bought a Summer Infant Deluxe Comfort Booster for Thanksgiving at a relative’s house and instantly saw how much easier it was to use. No crevasses for food to hide and no fabric to get dirty. Just wash the tray in the sink and give the rest a quick wipe down after each meal. And I stick it in the shower once a week for a deeper clean. Plus it’s portable, and can sit on the floor if you want to have a living room picnic. Don’t waste your money (or effort) on a big high chair.
Silicon Mat—Most restaurants have a high chair you can use (note it’s a simple one, they know cleaning a big one is not worth it!), but your baby needs something to eat on. A plate is too distracting for most babies for quite awhile. Jack is 11-months and still gets overwhelmed with a plate and plays with it instead of eating. And who knows how clean that table actually is or if your baby are going to make a giant mess. Get a reusable, washable silicon mat they can eat off of safely and safe you the hassle of clean-up. I got a Kiddopotamus Tinydiner Placemat and it works great. I leave it in the diaper bag rolled up, stick it to the table when we go out. Jack can focus on his food and I don’t have to clean up a giant table mess afterwards. I just wipe it off at the restaurant, and wash it when I get home.
Good Spoons—I bought this little dinky colorful spoon thinking Jack will only take little bites and smaller will help him until he gets more dexterity. Wrong. They are too small for him to scoop up anything, and not long enough for him to turn around to get into his mouth. It didn’t take too long for me to realize he hated them. He would try, then struggle too much, and throw it. Then reach for my spoon or fork. When I did give him mine, he did pretty well with it. Then we bought him these bigger and wider Borja spoons from Ikea and it was a whole new ball game. He can actually use utensils now and even asks for them. He’s bad at it still, but it’s a big improvement. Bigger is better in this case, for sure.
Reusable Pouches-— The few times I tried to feed Jack purees, he was not having it. He is totally cool with me handing him pre-loaded spoons of soup, stew, oatmeal, rice & etc. But once and awhile I want him to have a few more fruits and veggies, so I tried purees. He would smack the spoon away from me. I don’t know if it the texture or what, but he refuses. I’ve tried a several flavor combinations, no-go each time. But one day when I was in line at Starbucks, he pointed a squeeze pouch and signed “give me”. So I bought him it, beet and berry flavor. He INHALED it. Light bulb! So I ordered some Squooshi pouches off Amazon because they had good reviews. They are a HUGE hit. He will inhale anything I put in them. He especially loves greek yogurt and pineapple puree. They are easy to fill, easy to wash (right in the dishwasher) and a great price. Right now Jack is sick with a sore throat and only wants soft food, so he’s loving his Squooshis. When he wants one he points at the drawer where I keep them!
Otherwise all you need is good food, some patience,and camera to capture all those cute messy faces! I hope these suggestions help your baby on their weaning journey. Comment with your own too!