Starting Solids Essentials: Navigating the Mess with Confidence

Starting Solids Essentials: Navigating the Mess with Confidence

Starting solids is an exciting (and messy!) adventure. Whether you choose to start with Baby Lead Weaning (BLW), purées, spoon feeding or a combination of methods, there are joys and challenges along the way. So let’s take a look at some of the basics of starting solids and how to navigate the mess with confidence.

Understanding Baby-Led Weaning

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is a method that encourages babies to self-feed from the start. Current guidelines recommend most babies are ready to start solids when showing the following signs around 6 months of age:

  1. Able to sit with minimal support
  2. Good head and neck control
  3. Showing an interest in food
  4. Able to reach for, grab and hold food whilst sitting

(Premmie bubs or those with developmental delays or other health concerns may be ready at different times - seek individual advice from your medical practitioner.)

With BLW, babies are offered appropriately-sized finger foods, allowing them to explore textures, tastes, and develop fine motor skills. It's a process that celebrates independence and builds a positive relationship with food.

Another method to starting solids is spoon feeding purees. Some parents feel more comfortable starting with purées and moving to finger foods later on. As with all things in parenting, follow your mama gut and do what feels best for you and your little one. The signs of readiness apply to both methods.

Choosing the Right Foods

When embracing baby-led weaning, opt for age-appropriate, soft foods that are easy for your baby to grasp. Think avocado slices, steamed vegetables, and soft fruits. Cut foods into finger sized pieces to minimize choking hazards and promote self-feeding. The website has fantastic visual guides for age appropriate sizes and shapes of foods.

The Role of Messy Mats

Something you’ll realize very quickly no matter which method of starting solids you choose is that A LOT of food will end up on the floor. Babies become fascinated with gravity around this age and dropping food is an important part of the developmental process. Messy Mats are a game changer for making clean up super easy. Lay one under the highchair then after the meal simply shake off any excess food and either wipe clean or pop in the wash.

Dressing for Success: Smock Bibs!

Smock bibs are a mamas best friend for your little one’s starting solids journey. Whether you start with purées, spoon feeding or baby lead weaning the question isn’t whether there will be mess, but rather, how much! Smocks provide full coverage of your baby’s clothes as well as a catch all pocket at the bottom meaning their clothes stay perfectly clean even during the messiest of meals. Our smocks are waterproof and machine washable so for small messes you can simply wipe clean and for everything else - straight in the washing machine!

The Clean-Up Routine

Embrace the mess, but also have a clean-up routine in place. Keep wet wipes or a damp cloth handy and if bub hates their face being wiped try bringing a little bowl of water over to the high chair for them to wash their hands and face themself.

Have a couple of smocks and messy mats in rotation so there’s always one available when others are in the wash.

Celebrating Milestones

Starting solids is an exciting milestone. Celebrate each moment—whether it's the first successful grasp of a slippery piece of fruit or the first attempt at using a spoon. These messy moments are the building blocks of your baby's journey towards becoming a confident eater.

So, let the exploration begin, and enjoy the messy, magical moments with your little one!

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