Starting baby-led weaning can be very exciting, but also veeeerrry messy!! I remember when my son just started eating solids, there was literally food on the walls. But I just went with it... and wiped the walls later.
Fortunately, there are some essential tools that I had that made my life much easier. Not only for cleaning but really for everything baby-led weaning related. So this is my list of the top 6 BLW tools that every parent needs to have.
1. The Baby-led Weaning Book
Ok, this one is an obvious one, but also probably the most essential. Reading this book will explain to you the benefits of baby-led weaning, what you need to know about choking, how to start, and how to stay motivated to keep going.
It really helped me feel confident through the hard times (you know, potatoes stuck to the wall kind of days, or hair full of oatmeal).
2. High Chair
The best high chairs for Baby-led Weaning are those that have an easily removable and washable tray, support a healthy posture, and ideally have a footrest. The footrest will also help support your child's posture, allowing them to stay comfortable for longer and enjoy the meal in front of them.
My favorite option by far is the Stokke Tripp Trapp. The great thing about this chair is how easily adjustable it is. It promotes a great posture and can be adapted as your child grows (it will even support an adult sitting on it too). You can add additional safety harnesses when your child is small and remove them when they aren't needed anymore.
The very popular, budget-friendly option, Ikea's Antilop is not bad but while your child is small they may need a pillow behind their back to support a better posture. It also does not come with any foot support so tucking a dining chair underneath may be a good work-around.
Both have removable trays that you can easily and quickly wash in the sink
I am surprised nobody thought of this years ago, but this bib is genius. It completely minimizes any mess by strapping to your highchair, covering the gap between your child and the tray and keeps your child clean and dry. Amazing! You might still have to clean oats out of their hair at some point, but oh well, we can't have it all (or maybe a shower cap?).
4. Sustainable Plate
Honestly, when my son was starting solids we didn't really use a plate because everything ended up on the tray anyway. But you'll be surprised how quickly they learn to keep things in one place, and after watching you eat, soon enough they'll expect a plate too.
And if possible it's better to go for a sustainable option instead of plastic. Personally, I prefer bamboo versions rather than silicone – it's more sustainable and smells better to me!
In the UK, my favorite option is the Bamboo Bamboo Plate.
For US pick Avanchy.
Even though it might seem that there is no way that your baby would be able to use cutlery at 6 or 7 months, the sooner you let them start trying, the quicker they'll be able to.
Since my son started weaning I always handed him his own loaded spoon. He was eating chunkier stuff very easily with a spoon at a year old, and mastered quinoa and oatmeal with minimal mess at about 15 months. Children are as capable as we let them be but I will leave that discussion for another post! When you start weaning the best cutlery option is Grabease.
Grabease has an ergonomically designed handle for a more natural hand feeding motion and a choke protection barrier for baby self-feeding to promote confidence in independent eating.
The Doddl cutlery set took my son's feeding capabilities to the next level with the design that encourages pincer grip development, needed for drawing and writing. After about a month of consistently using them he was a pro at feeding himself.
6. Munchkin 360 cup
I would really encourage everyone to give their child the option of using an open cup as early as possible. At home, we started using espresso cups and shot glasses, once my son started to become aware that they were breakable, which was at about 11 months. We still do, and often give him regular mugs or glasses as well and at under 2 years old, he's very comfortable using them without us having any concern that they will get dropped. This is really based on the Montessori approach which we'll talk about in a future post.
But starting out, you want something that allows your kids to drink, won't break and ideally doesn't even spill. Something that can come with you on days out and is perfect around the house. And that's where this 360 cup is so valuable. It has a dentist recommended spoutless design that totally eliminates spills and encourages kids to drink as they would from a normal cup. What more can we ask for?
Now that you know our recommendations for necessary BLW tools check out our: