Congrats! You’re past the 6 month mark which is something to be celebrated. Not only does it mean you’ve kept your precious bambino alive for an entire half of a year, it also marks the beginning of a whole new adventure: solids!
When it comes to introducing solids, there are a few things to consider before getting started. Nowadays, you not only have to choose what kind of food they will eat but how they will eat it. Spoon feeding puréed apples and Farax are no longer your only choices. In fact, many parents have used a different strategy when it comes to the solids game - Baby led weaning.
In a nutshell, Baby Led Weaning is a feeding philosophy that means skipping the purees and starting babies on solid foods by following your child’s cues. The idea is that as babies gradually start to learn how to pick up and eat food and consequently begin to start weaning themselves from breast milk or formula. Hey, anything that takes the onus off us for a few minutes is good am I right?
But BLW is messy business. By messy I mean, food-will-now- be- located- in- areas- of- your home- you- didn’t- know- food- could- reach, kind of messy. There will be splats on the walls, there will be crusty bits on your floors. There will be food on your baby and there will be food on you.
The only way to get through this is to embrace the mess.
Ever heard the term, ‘food before one is just for fun’? It’s true! Baby led weaning is all about exploring different textures and flavours and you can even have them join you at the big table, to instil a sense of routine of the family dinner. To put things into perspective, the calories from complementary foods eaten at 6-8 months of age make up about one-fifth of the total requirement (based on average breastmilk/formula intake). By nine to 11 months, complementary feedings contribute just under half of the estimated total energy requirement.
In other words, stress less about what is actually making its way into your babes mouth and try to have fun with it.
Now that you’ve accepted that mess is inevitable, there are some tools that are designed to make your life easier. For starters, you’ll want to invest in a good high chair. You don’t necessarily need the Rolls Royce of high chairs, in my experience as long as it’s safe and easily wipe able it’s a winner – steer clear of fabrics.
Next, invest in a food smock. Your child will undoubtedly be the messiest part of this experience, but a good food smock can make a world of difference when it’s time to lift them out of that highchair.
Those cute little terry towelling bibs won’t stand a chance. For this venture, you’ll want to invest in a heavy-duty food smock with a deep pocket on the front for collecting all those little treasures that don’t quite make it into baby’s mouth. Marmalade Lion food smocks will greatly diminish the mess you’re left to deal with in the end. And once your baby becomes a bit more self-sufficient at meal time, you can watch with pride as they poke around the little pocket for the food they spat out about 12 times. Our food smocks can also double as art smocks – winning!
Next thing you’ll need for your sanity is a splat mat for ground zero underneath the chair. This way you can scoop up the majority of the mess at the end for easy cleaning. Marmalade Lion Splat Mats are extra-large in size and can either be wiped clean or put in the washing machine. And of course available in all of our signature designs.
This is one of those products I often hear older mums say “why didn’t we have these 10 years ago?” I don’t know the answer to that but I sure am getting some use out of these babies. Wanna know the best bit? They double as a toddler table cloth. We just love a good multi-functional product!
All in all, once you can let go of the mess and the wasted food you will realise how fun and important this process can be. You’ll get to see your bubba wince in disgust over a piece of broccoli and witness the pure delight in their eyes at their first taste of ice cream.
If we can let go of the hang ups and enjoy this process with our babes we will literally set the stage for a healthy relationship with food for the rest of their lives. So enjoy the process and say yes to the mess!
For the well-being of your child during this transitional phase we recommend further reading on how to introduce solids, visit https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/breastfeeding-bottle-feeding-solids/solids-drinks/introducing-solids for more info!