The idea behind baby led weaning is to eat with your baby, at the same time, the same table and share the same food. Instead of having traditional baby food (purees or spoon feeding), your baby feeds themselves. This allows them to explore and enjoy healthy family foods.
Some of the benefits of baby led weaning include:
Giving your baby a chance to touch and taste a range of food and explore the different textures.
Including your baby in mealtimes and giving you a chance to actually eat yourself as you aren’t spoon feeding.
Helps to develop coordination and chewing skills and encourages independence and confidence.
What are some of the downsides?
It is very messy! Very very messy. Did I mention it was messy?
When a baby first starts their journey into baby led weaning, there is a whole of touching, sucking and chucking, and not a whole lot of actually eating. Food goes in places you never even thought possible.
If you have decided that baby led weaning is for you, here are some items that may make your life so much easier.
Having a food catcher under a high chair is an excellent way of catching some of the mess. Either a cheap plastic one from Kmart, or I have used this one from Mumma's Little Helper and it is a game changer. It attaches to your high chair and act as a plastic ‘net’ under it, to catch most of the food that is dropped.
Because of the material they are made out of (a thick non toxic laminate), after meal time is over, you can literally get a cloth and wipe and scoop the food easily from the catcher. It is also machine washable and comes in a range of very cute patterns. They fit on any four legged high chair.
Kids just love to throw things, and bowls, plates and cutlery is no exception. A suction bowl is an excellent investment as it literally sticks to the high chair so cannot be thrown across the room. You can find cheap ones from the supermarket. You can also buy slightly more expensive but hearty bowls here that are dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe and BPA free. They come with a lid so you can bring them along to the local cafe as well.
Bib with Catcher
As already mentioned, baby led weaning is a messy affair. Using traditional cloth bibs can quickly result in a lot of extra washing. A plastic bib with catcher is a far better option as it can just be wiped down after use, and will also catch some of the spillage in its pouch.
They are flexible, durable and easy to clean. You can buy great quality ones from Baby Bunting or cheaper ones from most department stores.
If you want to learn more about Baby Led Weaning, these resources have great information: