Am I the only one who finds weaning to be such an exciting and fun time? All of my friend’s approach it with such a sense of dread, if not dread then at least annoyance, after all, the food is no longer on tap and the mess, ohh the mess, but I just can’t bring myself to be anything but enthusiastic about this time! I love weaning.
There is an awful lot of equipment and books out there for weaning, and to be honest you could spend an absolute fortune on paraphernalia that you really don’t need. I do believe that there are a few things that you simply can’t approach weaning without, but after that, it’s anything goes! Here are a few of my weaning essentials that will make our life oh-so-much easier.
1.) A really good high chair.
Look, I get it, a high chair is a high chair and you don’t want to spend your full wage packet on it. Fine, but the problem is, in my vast experience working with high chairs not to mention using them as a mother, I can promise you you pay for what you get. I made the mistake with Reuben (despite knowing better after years of replacing broken ones) of buying a cheap, plasticky monstrosity that I hated in my dining room, that took up so much space it was untrue and eventually after only 8 months, frayed along the seams and I had to return it. I bought a much better, wooden chair that can be used over and over. At the moment, we use a Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair for Edith that was originally Toby’s. Not only is it insanely stylish and a designed to fit with your own kitchen or dining set, but it grows with your child, right from birth and keeps them at a perfect height to join in a family dinner time… or at least one in front of the sofa without you breaking your back! I’m not saying it has to be wooden either, there are plenty of great chairs that are plastic, but you really ought to consider in investing in one that has a good, solid structure and can hold your child to a decent weight and size.
2. An all in one blending kit
When I first had Reuben I was determined to try all sorts of wonderful flavours. Right from 6 months he had everything from pasta in a tomato and tuna sauce to curry thickened with quinoa. I spent ages, and I do mean ages, making batches of food for him to enjoy throughout the week. I even had to push food through a sieve because I refused to buy a baby blender. I had a blender but for the quantities I was making and the consistency I required it was useless. Utterly useless. With Toby I rarely gave him anything with pasta or quinoa (or anything that required full pulverisation) before 8-9 months when he was old enough to have the odd bump and lump and he didn’t like finger food in the way that Edith does. He even went onto our food much faster than Roo. When I look back, I feel sad that he missed out on all those flavours, I just didn’t have the time and I don’t have it with Edith either. I’ve been using Nuby’s Mighty blender kit and it is wonderful! I literally chop whatever I want, put it in the steamer, and then pop it into the microwave. Once it’s cooked I unscrew a cap, whack on a different lid that has a blade and blend. Job done. The difference this will make is huge because I will be able to go back to making batches of wonderful, nutritious food for Edith, just like I did with Roo, but without it being so time consuming so when she does indulge me and try more puréed food, I’ll be ready for her!
3. Storage pots galore & pouches
Storage pots are a must, especially for at home, however squeezable pouches are far better for going out and about. I always have an emergency shop bought box of pouches for going out in a hurry once I’ve started weaning. In fact, we went to Turkey when Toby was 6 months old and I took enough shop bought pouches to last 16 days so that I could guarantee he would always have healthy, clean food to eat. I later discovered that boots offer an international shipping service for this exact reason! So, storage pots and pouches, because baby will never eat the amount you make in one sitting and you don’t have time to boil 1 tablespoon of rice whilst steaming 1/2 a carrot, 1/2 an apple and 1/4 pear. Trust me, you don’t.
4. Bibs, bibs everywhere!
You need bibs. Lots of them, and you need places to keep them. I have a side table cupboard for nappies and I keep a few in there, I keep a few in her room and I keep about 4 in my bag. Bibs are an essential for any child under 2 years old and any type of weaning. It just makes life so much easier and cleaner! For baby led weaning you really need a bib with a ‘crumb catcher section’. If you don’t have one then you find yourself fishing bits and bobs out of everywhere! Bits of toast in the walker, carrot slices in the back of the bouncer… Everywhere!
5.) Spoons – try the one for you, one for me trick.
Obviously I’m not telling you that you need spoons, that’s just patronising! Of course you all know you need spoons (I recommend the dreaded plastic here I’m afraid, metal is too hard on a little baby mouth) but this little trick my mum taught me might help if you have a baby like Edith who wants to feed herself but can’t just yet. I give her a spoon to hold and I use a spoon myself to feed her. Once I’ve fed her a ‘meal’ (usually a couple of spoons of puree, we have some finger foods for her to hold too. It seems to trick her into thinking that she is doing it herself somehow – I don’t need to understand it, I just know I’m not wearing more food than is in her and neither is she!
6.) Patience and Trust
I don’t wish for this to sound corny, but the truth is you need patience and trust with baby AND yourself. The amount of people I have seen through my retail work who are asking for advice because baby isn’t taking to weaning and it’s been a month… Trust yourself and your instincts, if your baby isn’t taking to weaning with what you are doing, why not try another tact. If you are offering purée, try baby led and vice versa. It isn’t the most essential part of your baby’s diet until they are over one year old so you have a lot to play with for now. Just be patient, keep trying different things and baby will eventually start to come around.
Enjoy this time and if you have any weaning must haves then please let me know!