Introducing solids to your baby is an exciting milestone. I mean, who doesn’t love food? When it was time to introduce our son to solid foods, we opted for baby-led weaning over spoon-feeding. Spoon feeding is exactly what it sounds like–spoon-feeding your baby their food, most often purees. On the other hand, baby-led weaning skips purees altogether. Instead, babies are offered age-appropriate finger foods. I won’t go too in-depth on this topic, but if you’re looking for more information, check out this post.
Regardless of the route you take when introducing solids, you’ll find that there is an endless selection of cups, tableware items, and utensils for your baby to use. I’ve put together a list of my top five must-have items for your baby-led weaning journey. They’re all momma and baby approved!
5 Must-Have Items for Baby-Led Weaning
Plates and Bowls with Suction Cups
Trust me, suction cups are a must. You do not want your baby to be able to pick up and toss their plate or bowl that’s full of food onto the floor. You need those bad boys to stay in place! These plates and bowls from NUK are inexpensive and stick to a table or high chair perfectly. Your little one may still use their hands to throw their food, but I’ve got a solution for that a little later.
Bibs with a Pouch
Bibs are always a necessity. But what I love about these bibs is the added pouch to catch food. It is a game changer. No more food falling in your little one’s lap! Plus, they’re easy to clean and roll up, which makes them perfect for travel. I always make sure to throw one in the diaper bag when we go out to eat.
I prefer a straw cup over a sippy cup. I find that they leak less often than sippy cups. This Munchkin cup has a weighted straw so your little one can drink from almost any angle. The handles on either side make it easy for them to hold and the flip-top allows you to cover the straw while on the go. It also comes with a tiny bristle brush so you can easily clean the straw.
Most babies prefer to use their hands when they start baby-led weaning (heck, my son is 18 months old and still uses his hands), but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage them to try utensils. We have a variety of spoons and forks in our house, but our son really loves these Nuby utensils. They’re the one set of utensils he’s been able to use accurately at any age. The curvature of the spoon and fork make it easy for him to hold. I’m also a fan of these take and toss utensils, though he didn’t really get the hang of these until he was about 15 months old.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but baby-led weaning is a messy undertaking. For every piece of food that makes it to your baby’s mouth, another piece ends up on the floor. . . or on the wall . . . or on you. I haven’t found anything to protect my walls or myself, but this Bumkins mat is perfect for your floor! It’s waterproof, can be wiped clean, and is machine washable, which makes clean up fast and easy. It also comes in a variety of cute colors and patterns.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is to have fun. Your little one needs the space to explore and discover all of the flavors and textures food has to offer. There will be messes and picture-perfect meals that don’t get eaten, but nothing beats watching your little one truly savor a new food.
Do you have a favorite product for feeding your little one? Share it in the comments section!
Originally published August 2019.