Starting Solids – What Do I Need?

Starting solids with your baby can be daunting, but then you’re faced with all the equipment you might need! How do you know what to buy, and what’s just a gimmick? Here are some things to get you started!

There are so many different types of bib out there, and you may well end up buying a selection. You can get a basic, cloth bib that you can just throw in the washing maching when you’re done. These are great for popping in the changing bag for when you’re out and about, but they don’t always cover a lot of your baby – and babies get messy! You can also buy bigger, coverall bibs, that have sleeves and protect more of their clothes. You can even buy giant ones than cover the seat too, if you really want to avoid your baby getting messy! There are plastic/silicone bibs with a bit at the bottom to catch any drips (sometimes called pelican bibs). These can just go in with the washing up or in the dishwasher. Equally, you might just want to do away with bibs and feed your baby in just their nappy. Babies clean pretty easily!

Highchairs are a personal thing. You might want something that fits the decor of your house, or space may have an impact on the one you buy. Visiting cafes and restaurants to try out different styles is a good idea! Ultimately you want something easy to clean. Avoid anything with lots of fabric and creases where food can get stuck! You might want a wooden highchair that adapts and changes as your baby grows, or something that folds up. The Ikea Antilop is a firm favourtie with many parents – you can even take the legs off and wash the seat in the bath or the dishwasher! It doesn’t have a footrest though, so you may want to conisder buying one to add, or making your own.

You will probably end up buying lots of cups over the years – every parent’s quest is for a decent cup that baby will drink from, and that doesn’t leak! You can introduce a cup of water with meals from 6 months, and ideally you want something free-flowing so your baby gets used to managing the flow and swallowing. Buy a cup with handles so your baby can hold it. It will take a bit of practise for them to get used to it, and master the art of drinking from it, and they may get wet in the process! You can always practise drinking from a cup in the bath. There’s nothing to stop them from using an open cup, and you may find something like a Doidy Cup useful as it’s tilted and your baby can see the liquid. Small, plastic shot glasses are also great for tiny hands!

Regardless of whether you’re going down the baby-led weaning route, or starting with purees, you’re going to want some cutlery. If you’re spoon-feeding then you’ll want something with longer handles, but if buying cutlery for your baby to use then go for short, stumpy handles, so they are just an extension of their hands. Start with plasitc or wood initially (as it’s gentler on gums) but as they get older you can move on to metal. It’s never too early to introduce your baby to using cutlery, and many babies who have cutlery from the beginning are able to feed themselve with it by the time they are one.

Starting solids is a mucky business and you’ll be needing to clean your baby up! You might want to use disposable wet wipes, or ktichen towel, but you’ll find you get through a LOT of these! Having cloths that you can reuse can save you money in the long term, and are better for the environment. You can buy fancy sets, or you can buy cheap flannels from the supermarket. They will last you years, and you can give them a bleach every so often if needed (banana stains are a right pain!!). Whatever you use, try to avoid regularly wiping your baby while they’re eating. They probably won’t like it, and may start to associate the cold, damp cloth with food, leading to eating problems as they get older. Embrace the mess and give them a good clean when they’re finished!

If you’re thinking of starting solids soon, then join me for one of my workshops!

Written by Sarah Lewis – antenatal teacher and postnatal doula

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