So, before you get started, if you’re anything like me, it will feel like you wait
and wait a bit more.
Maybe read about baby led weaning if you’re the kind of person who likes to read up on things whilst waiting. I also got a lot of ideas from the “baby led weaning” forum on www.babycentre.co.uk
I learnt that babies don’t NEED any nutrients other than those they get in milk before they’re 6 months old. By all means, give them something if you want to, its just not necessary. After 6 months, babies’ “stores” of vitamins and minerals gradually start to deplete but there is still plenty of time to take things slowly. This means there’s no need to worry too much about what they do and don’t eat. However, by waiting until they have the strength and skills they need to enjoy eating you’re making your life easier and setting them up to have fun playing with food.
The latest guidelines say that your baby is ready when they can physically feed themselves, i.e. they can sit up, grasp something and put it into their mouth. Makes a lot of sense to me and, by some amazing coincidence, this happens at around 6 months old.
While you’re waiting you can get ready – I think the following things are really useful.
A highchair – everyone will tell you to get an Ikea Antilop. They are right. It’s a good idea to get the tray and the inflatable cushion. The cushion stops any aspiring lecturers/politicians/podium dancers from getting their feet up onto the seat thus giving you a heart attack when you turn round and find them standing up in their highchair. It also gives lots of support at the wobbly-baby stage. For early feeding a bumbo-type chair will do too.
Bibs, lots, with sleeves. Supermarket ones are ideal. Think of these as semi-disposable items; there are only so many times banana/sweet potato/blueberry can be washed off something without permanent damage occurring.
Cloths & antibacterial spray. Be under no illusions: this is a messy business. In the early stages the effort you save by not messing around making puree is repaid in cleaning up the redecoration of your kitchen by your little darling. A friend told me to buy a lot of cloths specifically for baby/weaning; after each meal use the cloth to wipe the baby’s hands and face, then the highchair, then the floor, then put it in the wash.
A plastic mat if you have a carpet. You WILL be picking a lot of things up off the floor.
Plastic spoons. Metal ones are too dangerous for little mouths when wielded by clumsy hands. I don’t think you really need baby bowls or plates at first, I fed her off her highchair tray in the early days and then moved to ramekins. She often uses normal plates and bowls now although we get a bit nervous when she picks up our wedding-present crockery to indicate that she has finished eating.
Cup – it will probably be a bit of trial and error to find one that suits. Apparently the sooner you move on to a “proper” cup the better for your baby’s teeth. If your baby uses this one, you’re on to a winner. We seem to have got stuck with one of these (any tips for moving on much appreciated!) and we never had ANY luck with the non-spill type that they have to suck.
Patience and a sense of humour.
Coming next – getting started!