Weaning is going well in our household - from brocolli to bolognaise sauce, parsnips to pancakes most things are explored, worn, and eventually eaten. As is the way with baby led weaning, I'm not entirely sure how much is going in, and I'm OK with that. When I worry, I remember that he still has all of his breastfeeds that he did before (and sometimes some extra) and "food is fun until they're one"
I googled furiously before we started weaning, and put together a little kit of our essentials so thought I'd detail them below, in case they're useful to you.
What I have noticed though is that we have some things that I have come to totally rely on - they've all been bought by us and I've whittled them down here to our essentials. Before you write a list or start shopping there are some other things we've had to develop too...
An aversion to mess - Seriously. If you don't have this. Develop it. If you're the sort of person who lives in a show home - be prepared for some serious cleaning. Although I'm typing this and someone will tell me just how clean and tidy their baby is at weaning and it'll be just mine who grins massively and lobs steamed sweet potato fingers at the newly decorated wall.
Antibacterial spray and j-cloths are your friend (Milton spray is currently on 3 for 2 at Sainsburys). Also, wipe things up while they're soggy if you can. For some reason steamed carrot sticks weld themselves to any available surface, and porridge becomes concrete like when cold. Seriously - it could be used as a building material on Grand Designs
Enthusiasm - whilst it might not seem thrilling if you or I happily chew on some apple, or suck enthusiastically on a strip of roast chicken, I think it's important that my baby knows how well he's doing. We also make sure to include Harry in conversation at mealtimes (when possible we all sit up to the table together). It's probably too early for much of it to sink in, but it's a habit we wanted to get into straightaway. We also eat pretty much the same thing as Harry which I think helps him understand about eating as a family - it does mean that poor M is dairy and soya free when he doesn't have to be, but I encourage him to eat pizza when he can to make up for it.
Resilience - there are days when Harry refuses my lovingly cooked pancakes, or the dairy free yoghurt I've searched high and low for. And it's not personal, nor is it permanent. Much like you or I, Harry has days where he's just not as hungry and sometimes he needs to try things a couple of times. Sweet potato is a case in point - he hated it first time, but loves it now. In fact the only thing he repeatedly refuses is Weetabix.
Camera - your baby will dye himself purple with blueberries (yes, really. And I gave them to him twice because I didn't learn the first time) Or smother himself with bolognaise with such gusto that a jetwash inspired bath seems likely to be the only way to get him clean. Whilst you might not want to share these with the world, I implore you to think ahead to the baby's 18th birthday and what wonderful decorations these will make.
Highchair - Originally we were going to get the Ikea Antilop highchair, but were able to choose a Christmas present, and decided to future proof a little way, with this chair from John Lewis that adapts to a toddler chair and table. Whatever you buy, make sure it's easy to clean!
Bowls and spoons -As I didn't have any plastic bowls we picked up some of the Tommee Tippee Explora ones - although marked as for 7 months plus, we've used them since the beginning. To be honest I mainly use the tray of the highchair, but rely on the bowls for porridge, porridge fingers and when we have stewed fruit.
Spoons - I initially got wrong - as we weren't going to do purees, these ones were a silly purchase as the handles are too long for Harry to use himself - I pre load spoons of porridge, bolognaise etc for him to aim at his
Bibs -We were given lots of bibs when Harry was born that we hadn't really used, but quickly discovered that little bibs are of little or no use - the only way forward when your baby is intent on dying himself and everything around him purple is a long-sleeved, coverall bib. Have I ever written on here about how much I love Aldi - their baby event had 2 long sleeved bibs for £2.99 - until then I'd only found them for £4.99 each.
Beakers - Harry is a little baby and has difficulty lifting his beaker when it's full of water as it's too heavy and if it's half empty he struggles to lift it high enough to get the water out. He's not managing a Doidy cup yet either - although he is very good at watering the wall/ splash mat with it. We've implemented a hack to get around this and pop a mini tupperware container with it's lid on inside the beaker, then fill it up with water and put the lid on. Harry can then lift the cup and happily drinks without difficulty. I'm sure that bigger babies might not have this issue, but if you have a littly like me, it might just be useful. The hack comes courtesy of M - I knew there was a reason I married an engineer!
Splash mat -We didn't buy a splash mat - a few years ago I picked up an end of roll peice of pink oilcloth from Cath Kidston. It works perfectly. As would an old shower curtain, waterproof tablecloth... anything really. I guess what I'm saying is look around at what you have before you shell out for something expensive that's labelled up as a splash mat.
They're our hints and tips - I'm no expert, and might be way off the mark for other babies, but these work for us and hopefully they'll work for you too.