You’ve just got the milk thing down, you might even have a feeding schedule (look at you!) and then it’s time to start thinking about giving your baby real food. We’re here to tell you, you’ve got this and we can help make it easier with our fear-free weaning checklist to help you prepare for solids.
What is baby led weaning?
First things first, WTF is weaning?! Weaning is what we call transitioning your baby from a liquid milk diet to one that includes real solid food. Like the name implies, it’s a gradual process. We don’t just wake up one day and start feeding our babies a three-course meal, but we slowly start to introduce different solids and textures while still feeding them their beloved milk. Taking it a step further, baby-led weaning is a variation on the typical weaning process of spoon-feeding bub their solids. With baby-led weaning, your baby is in control. You lay out a smorgasbord (well not quite that much, but an array of finger foods) and let them touch and try to feed themselves.
When to start baby-led weaning?
Whether you’re opting for traditional weaning, or baby-led, the general answer is 6 months old. It’s important that you wait until your bub can sit up in the highchair by themselves, which for most children is around 6 months of age. They should also have good strength in their neck and be able to chew and swallow food properly.
How to start baby-led weaning?
When your child is ready to start introducing solids, you should start with soft foods first. Soft fruits and steamed vegetables in finger-sized pieces are perfect. Avocado, banana, sweet potato, and scrambled eggs are ideal for starting your baby off. You want to avoid any harder foods, or round shapes that could present a choking hazard while they’re lining to eat.
Baby-led weaning essentials:
Ready to start weaning? Here’s out must-have list that basically applies to whether you’re opting for the traditional, baby-led, or mixed approach when it comes to starting solids.
The absolute essential when it comes to weaning here is a baby highchair. It sort of goes without saying, but your baby should absolutely be sitting up when eating solids so they’re able to digest their food properly. Part of the fun when your child starts eating solids is introducing them to the dinner table with the rest of the family. We can’t go past the Evolu highchair from Childhome. Functionality meets style with this chair and we love that it will last well into the toddler years. Looking for help picking a highchair? We wrote a whole article about how to choose a highchair here.
2. Baby led weaning cookbook
We’re all about getting creative in the kitchen, but it pays to do some pre-reading if it’s your first time cooking for a baby. It’s important to make sure they’re getting the right nutrients from their food, in friendly serves and shapes. We absolutely love Annabel Karmel’s book on weaning as the bible for knowing when to start, what to cook, advice on allergies and more.
3. Freezer pods
They’re not going to be eating much in one sitting (remember their main food is still milk, for now), so don’t let your culinary masterpiece go to waste. It’s a great idea to cook up a big batch of food that will last you the week (or even a couple) and then dole them out into individual portions to freeze. It makes meal time a breeze when you’re not sure what to feed them, and don’t have time to get your baby chef hat on. Don’t look past the freezer pods from Wean Meister. Think of them as the Rolls Royce of all freezer pods basically- you’re set with these!
4. Feeding set with cutlery
So cute!! If you’re anything like us, you probably won’t be able to stop with just one set. They’ve got little fingers and hands so adult cutlery just won’t cut it here. Love Mae Studio has some beautiful baby feeding sets with gorgeous illustrations on them, whilst Done by Deer makes extremely adorable spoon feeding sets. We’ve never been so excited to say ‘open wide, here comes the airplane’, than we were when using these basically!
5. Drink bottle
When you start weaning your child onto food, then you can also start giving them their first sips of water. Obviously milk will be their main food and drink until at least 10 months of age, but it’s important to start getting them used to drinking water too. Offer it to them at mealtime in a sippy cup, and keep a drink bottle handy when you’re out and about for them. We have a range of sippy cups available, but one of our most loved bottles is the BBox Sippy Cup. It’s BPA-free, so no nasties allowed here, and won’t leak either!
We’re sure you know, but just in case you don’t then we want to prepare you to accept that weaning is messy. Especially baby-led weaning! But it’s all part of the fun. Food is likely to end up all over your baby, probably a little on you, and surely over their highchair and your floor. But that’s okay. It’s a temporary period and you want to allow your child to have fun with their food to help set positive eating habits from an early age. It’s all about exploration and new tastes, smells, textures, we’d probably get it all over us too! Keep mess a little under control with a baby bib. You’re going to want to stock up on these since you’ll likely be washing them after every use. Our pick is the Catcher Bib from Rommer. It’s made from silicone (read- easy to clean), and has an indentation at the bottom shaped like a little bowl to help catch any food that misses their mouth. Ingenious!
Did you know lists are totally our thing? That’s right, we make downloadable, printable lists for you to check off each item as you go and help make this whole having a baby thing that little bit easier. Click here to download our travel list now. You can also discover our full weaning collection here. Like this article?