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BLW is messy— but worth it! This Baby Led Weaning gear really helped make the mess more manageable so I could focus more on the fun part and not worry about cleaning up so much.
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Food prep and storage gear for Baby Led Weaning
I don’t know about you, but the idea of prepping and storing snacks and meals every day was a bit overwhelming. These items helped me organize and prepare with ease.
When you do BLW, you steam A LOT. I have a comprehensive guide to food steamers here.
The TL;DR version is: this one is my favorite for preparing fruits and veggies for Baby Led Weaning. It’s easy to clean, BPA-free, and has a timer and an automatic-shut off.
Added bonus? My husband and I found out we LOVE freshly steamed veggies as a result, and now we eat more veggies, too.
Homemade popsicles are the best, because you can use anything to make them! They’re especially wonderful in the summertime, but even in colder months, it’s fun for kids to have a different format of a food. I love this Nuby one because the handles are easy for little hands to grip, the shape of the pops are easy for kids to get in their mouths, and all pieces are top-rack dishwasher safe.
I used my Nutribullet to mix up different combinations of things and poured them into the pop molds. My son’s favorites were (and still are) frozen yogurt and berries, and frozen applesauce. You can make your own by throwing veggies and fruits into the Nutribullet with a little bit of yogurt and water, blending it up, and then pouring it right into the molds. This is a great way to introduce them to flavors such as kale and spinach. Plus, I use this to make fresh fruit and veggie smoothies for myself, too.
These beauties can be stuffed full of food that’s delicious but also a choking hazard and/or can’t really be steamed – blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, for an example. They’re great for the early stages of BLW when you’re child is getting the hang of things but doesn’t quite have fine motor skills mastered. For the record- having them master fine motor skills takes time and kids really do need to practice. But sometimes, my son enjoyed this different format as it was less frustrating. I also put yogurt in it before he mastered the spoon. He’s 2.5 now and a well seasoned eater, and occasionally he’ll see these in the drawer and ask for yogurt in them still, just because he enjoys using them.
If your kiddo is eating fruit and veggie pouches, you can freeze the leftovers in the pop mold for a cold tasty treat later.
Splat mats can be put under the high chair so the food falls on to it instead of onto your floors. They’re easy to wipe clean, and can be thrown in the washer/dryer too every few days. This is currently one of the largest ones on the market.
I recommend starting with two. That way, you always have a clean one. I wiped mine down between meals, but some foods were messier than others and it was just easier to throw it in the wash than to scrub it down.
As your kiddo gets older, they can also be used for many things– picnic blankets, art splat mats, etc.
These cool contraptions are machine washable, dishwasher safe, and a breeze to hand wash. AND they catch a lot of the food your kid will inevitably drop. This lessens the amount of clothes you need to wash and you can also roll them up while you travel and throw them in a small wet/dry bag with silverware.
If you have the kind of high chair that hooks onto a dining room chair, this cover will protect the upholstery. It’s machine washable. You don’t need this if you get a stand-alone high chair.
Lots and lots of baby wipes. If possible, this is a great place where you can use reusable washcloths to wipe down your child after meal time. However, I left mine outside to dry and we quickly got a family of rats to move in and eat the food scraps off of the drying washcloths. I don’t wish that upon anyone. Now, we use wipes to do a wipe down instead and it is easier than carrying a sticky kid all the way through the house to the sink to clean off.
Around the time children can start eating solids, they can also start drinking a little bit of water (check with your pediatrician for specifics). I loved this sippy cup because it had handles so my son could begin to hold it on it’s own. Plus, the straw is weighted, so the water would come out at any angle. These aren’t leak-proof, but they were still the best I found for an intro cup. According to the Child’s Play Therapy Center, using a “straw cup will help to build lip, cheek, and tongue strength and will promote an appropriate resting position of the tongue for future speech development and a proper swallow pattern.” Great, right!? Standard sippy cups also have developmental advantages, but my son was able to master a straw more quickly than the other kind of cup (which we eventually offered).
I’ll be honest, I thought this was silly and just let my son use our regular silverware until someone gifted us kid-sized silverware. It was a game changer. They’re able to move it much easier because the size of it matches their hands. I also eventually purchased a silverware holder so I could throw silverware in my diaper bag while we were traveling.
You won’t need this right away when you start BLW– at first, kids just use their hands. But you can offer it to them after they’ve been eating solids for a few months. At first, they’ll just use them to make noise and push food around. But, eventually they’ll start using them on their own.
Travel gear for Baby Led Weaning
Traveling with kids can be fun– even if you’re thinking about all of the ways to make BLW convenient! These items can make it easier for eating with new-eaters on the go.
You put this bad boy on the tables of restaurants or even grandparents houses. In the beginning stages of BLW you don’t need to use a bowl or plate- it will actually be easier for them to eat without them while they’re refining their fine motor dexterity. At home, you can feed your child right on their high chair. I found this mat made it possible for us to continue having my son practice BLW even when we were on the go.
These Rubbermade containers come in great sizes, plus they’re microwave and dishwasher safe. I also love this multi-compartment lunch box inspired by Japanese bento boxes. It seals in each compartment so you can put yogurt in one compartment, for an example, and it won’t leak over onto the other foods. We use this a lot on the go because it makes it easy to bring kid portions without needing to bring a ton of containers.
Good luck! With this gear in your kitchen (and maybe a apron on yourself), you’ll be ready to embrace baby led weaning. Just remember:
Food before one is just !
There are only a few years where our kiddos will permit us to rope them into (adorable) family costumes, so we have to take advantage of that while we can. There are an infinite number of costumes on the market for kids, but many of them need to be hand washed.
Raise your hand if you’ve got time to hand wash costumes.
There are some wonderful doctor toys for kids on the market now that can help you bring a doctor’s office right into your home. These toys can help children gain some control by allowing them to take a step into the driver’s seat, so to speak. Plus, they can practice empathy and creativity as well.