So you've decided to try baby led weaning with your little one. Great! Here's a quick dietitian-approved guide on the tools you need to get started with baby led weaning to make it safe, fun and easy.
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After successfully using the baby led weaning approach to transition my children to solid food, I've learned a lot about how to make the process a little easier on you (the parent or caregiver), which I think we could all use, right? The great thing about baby led weaning is it's so simple, so you truly don't need a lot to get started. No jars, no special baby food making equipment, and no pouches are necessary! You just make meals for your family and let baby join in on the fun! That said, there are a few things that will make your life easier when it comes to starting baby led weaning with your little one. Here are my picks:
(For a refresher on what baby led weaning is and how to know if it's right for you, head to this post about Benefits of Baby Led Weaning.)
Must-Have Tools To Make Baby Led Weaning Easier
While you won't need all the equipment you would for making pureed baby food (another great thing about BLW!) there are a few tools that will make your baby led weaning journey easier. Here are my top recommendations for parents starting baby led weaning:
I highly recommend this book, written by two dietitians passionate about raising confident, adventurous, body positive eaters. It's such a great tool, complete with everything from the basics of baby led weaning, to the nutritional aspects of feeding your baby, to sample meals and snacks for a variety of stages. It's a total confidence booster, and a must-have if you're even thinking about going the BLW route.
Baby led weaning or not, every little one is going to need a high chair when starting solids. Since BLW can be messy, I prefer one that is easy to clean, like the Stokke Clikk. It's easy to wipe down after meals, and the tray is dishwasher-safe and easy to snap into place at mealtimes. I also love the modern design!
Pocket bibs are a must with baby led weaning! Your little one will drop a lot of food, and these genius bibs catch those dropped pieces, saving you a little more cleanup and preventing more waste. They're super easy to clean, and I love that this brand donates a meal to kids in need for every product purchased! Stock up and taken them with you everywhere!
Even though you won't be spoon feeding baby, there will still be things like yogurt or oatmeal that you will need to load onto the spoon and then hand it to baby. My favorite are these soft silicone spoons by Beaba. The end is just the right depth so that babies can easily get the food off, and it's a great size and shape for their little hands to hold. They're also nice and soft so they are nice for teething babies to chew on.
Babies love to pick up their plates with food still on them! That's why I love these silicone dishes with suctions on the bottom. They stick to the high chair tray, the table, or just about anywhere, making mealtime much cleaner. I also love that I can toss one in my purse for when we go out to eat, because our little one especially loved to turn over restaurant plates. This set includes an undivided plate (which I prefer), bowl, spoon, and open cup, which is great for practicing drinking.
Baby led weaning can be pretty messy, so if you have a rug or floor that needs to be protected, a splat mat is a must! They catch (most of) the food that will inevitably fall on the floor. I love that they are machine washable, and once the messy eating stage is over, you can use them for messy crafts and such!
And more tools that aren't really necessary but are nice to have…
Baby led weaning is a great time to start practicing with an open cup, so that kids aren't using a sippy cup well into toddler years. This is great open cup developed by a SLP for training babies to drink from an open cup. It's soft silicone and just the right size!
If your family travels a lot or eats out often, this travel chair is so nice to have! I kept it in the car for times when we ate at friends or families' houses and didn't have access to a high chair. It folds up easily and clips right onto tables or countertops so that baby can participate at mealtimes wherever you are!
I received these glass baby blocks (meant for pureed baby food) for a shower gift, and though I donʼt make purees, I do use these tiny containers all the time! They're the perfect size for storing any leftovers from baby's meal that you can serve later, without taking up a lot of space in the fridge. With BLW, your child may or may not eat a lot at mealtime, so it's nice to be able to save food for later to help with food waste.
I hope this list helps you on your road to baby led weaning. While you really don't need much, a few tools can make things that much easier on the exciting journey of starting solids!
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