A lot of parents ask our experts for recommendations of baby-friendly products or props that can be used during a family’s weaning journey. Today, we will look at just that. However, please remember these 3 things before you read this article:
1) Babies outgrow things very quickly, so take a call depending on what’s most comfortable and affordable for you.
2) If you and your baby can manage with what you have at home (or hand-me-downs), there’s nothing like it!
3) The most helpful and valuable thing you can offer your baby is your presence and loving attention. Being present in the moment is tough for parents as they juggle different responsibilities within the home and outside, but if you can put aside everything and take a genuine interest in your baby’s mealtime experiences, your baby will sense your deep, loving presence and automatically have a very positive weaning experience! No other prop or accessory can replace your presence.
What’s Helpful to Have in Your Weaning Toolkit
That said, let’s see what are some of the items you can choose to keep in your weaning tool kit. This can differ from parent to parent, so see what works for you, your lifestyle, your budget, and your needs!
1) High chair/booster seat
A good high chair or booster seat is a very good investment before your baby starts solids. And it is necessary no matter which weaning approach you choose. High chairs allow babies to sit in one place in a steady, upright position. As mentioned earlier, babies should not be fed when they’re moving about or lying down, as that can result in choking.
Babies require a good sitting position – remember the “90 90 90” rule? When babies are sitting in their high chair,
And, their feet should be on a footrest or on the floor straight down, not dangling in the air.
When you’re buying a high chair, look for:
Should you buy a booster seat?
If you’re a family that enjoys eating your meals while sitting on the floor, then a booster seat would be great for your baby (compared to a high chair).
Learning to drink out of an open cup is an important developmental milestone for your little one. The best kind of cup you can buy for your baby is:
Using an open or straw cup will help babies learn and master a skill that they will need for life (as they move to drinking from regular cups or glasses as they grow up).
Avoid buying a sippy or 360 degree cup.
When you’re buying an open or straw cup, look for:
A note on straw cups
Straw cups or glasses tend to come with a valve, which helps avoid water leakage. However, for babies who are just starting this drinking or sipping journey (6 months), we suggest buying straw cups without the valve, so they can learn to suck easily. Once they learn this skill, they can move onto straw cups with valves.
What material cup should you buy?
Consider using under the table mats when your baby starts weaning. This is because meal times will be messy and placing a mat will help you clean up faster afterward.
So what can you use as a mat?
Place this mat under and around the high chair or feeding area, so that you can clean the spills and mess more easily after.
Let’s look at the right spoon for your baby.
Whether you choose to go for spoon-led or baby-led weaning, the size of the spoon should be small enough to fit into your baby’s mouth. Which is why the regular steel spoons we use for eating will not be suitable for small babies.
If you’re encouraging baby-led weaning, use a spoon that:
Small babies hold spoons using their entire fist, as they’re learning the various ways to grab and grasp objects. That’s why spoons with short and thick handles are important.
Try a “groovy spoon.”
If your baby is yet to get comfortable holding a regular small spoon, no sweat at all. Try a small groovy spoon with a thick handle for the first month or so. It has a great shape with grooves that can easily hold solid food and can help with self feeding. E.g. num-num spoon or similar spoons that you can find in your city. It also helps babies get confident with self-feeding.
Once your baby can successfully bring a groovy spoon to their mouth, you can move them onto a short, thick-handled spoon.
5) Plates and bowls
Especially in baby-led weaning, a suction plate placed on the table of a high chair will prevent the plate from moving around. This gives your baby a stable space from which to eat.
The main reason parents use bibs is to protect the baby’s clothes. Having said that, you can avoid a bib by dressing your baby in old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or opt for no clothes (your baby will be a happy camper!). Also, remember, a lot of babies dislike bibs and may try to remove them!
If you want to buy a bib: