(My) Baby Weaning Essentials

It had been a long, rainy day of shopping. Little Mister needed a new bath chair (we had been using his new-born bath seat still, but as he was able to launch out of it by himself it had to go…), and we had been in and out of shops all day. Something easy for dinner loomed; something hot and chicken-y. So as we were sat in KFC, my baby boy lunged from my lap to make a snatch at my fries. I took it as a sign that he was ready to begin the long, messy process of weaning (even if I wasn’t ready…, naively I thought it would be a choice to wait until 6 months before we would start). Before this point we had tried a couple of tastes; baby rice and avocado. Both didn’t go down well, so it was with a little trepidation we started with real food.

Rice cakes are so, so messy
Rice cakes are so, so messy

We are just beginning week 4 now, and portion size has escalated immensely. With this comes the continual circle of mum-mode; cook, feed, clean and repeat. The sink is continually full of baby feeding utensils, and I’ve stopped putting the hoover away as those baby corn snacks get EVERYWHERE. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of my top essential baby gadgets and hacks that I couldn’t have done without over the last month.

IKEA Antilop Highchair

This chair is so simple. It doesn’t recline. It doesn’t have nooks and crannies. It is just chair and table, and it works so well. As messy as it gets at the end each ordeal meal, it only takes a minute to clean at the end of each session. We’ve also pimped the back of the chair out with hooks, giving us quick access to some essentials each feed without faffing around the room to find them. It’s also a lot cheaper than some of the super-fandango chairs, which is an added bonus (as if going to Ikea wasn’t treat enough).

Self-adhesive hooks help convert the dead space on the back of the highchair into a handy storage area
Self-adhesive hooks help convert the dead space on the back of the highchair into a handy storage area

Dettol Wipes

I keep these in the chair for quick access after feed while the stickiness is still fresh enough to be quickly ousted off with a swish of the wipe. They also say suitable for high-chairs, so I feel less worried about poisoning my Little One when (when, not if) he starts licking the table.

Philips Steamer-Blender

I know this probably isn’t an essential; you could get away with a normal steamer and finishing off with a stick blender. However, I’ve found this has made meals so much easier. All you do is cube your fruit and veg, stick some water in the bottom and set it to steam. Once cooked, turn the jar over (you don’t need to remove the food between functions), and press the blend button. It comes with storage container which is super handy for defrosting and reheating portions. I’ve found I can get about 10 portions out of one blending session, and the whole process takes about one baby nap time meaning I can leap straight into feeding when he awakens. Most brilliantly of all, I can leave it do its thing whilst I have a coffee and a biccie. A review of this beast is in the pipeline, as well as some meals that went down well over those first few weeks, so watch this space.

Munchkin Lil Apple Plates

I love the sections on these; and now little mister is eating a bigger lunch it’s just a nice way of separating out different “courses” so I have everything ready to go. I think these will be the most useful when he’s on more finger foods and is feeding himself more.

Loving the sections, reminds me of school lunches
Loving the sections, reminds me of school lunches

LaMaze Highchair Toy

Any highchair toy will probably do it, but we picked up these spinning chicks cheap in Mothercare when LaMaze changed their logo, and this steering wheel super-cheap at a car boot sale. When I’m home alone with baby, he will get so distracted by literally everything in the room whilst I’m trying to get food into his gob. The toy at least keeps him looking at one thing giving me less of a moving target… even if it is just another thing to clean at the end of the meal. It was also a godsend to get him used to sitting in the high-chair without the trauma of mushy foods being thrown into the mix.

Silicone Ice-cube Tray

At first baby will (hopefully) eat a couple of spoonfuls per meal (about an ice-cube’s worth). But with it being almost impossible to cook that little at once, it’s a great opportunity to batch cook and start a freezer stock pile. I recommend buying a decent quality (i.e. industrial silicone) tray, as I’m sure we’ve all been there in the past, battling to beat an ice-cube out of a cheap-o solid tray. We’re now up to 4 cubes per meal, but with a stock pile of different veggies I can mix it up as they thaw (today we had 2 parsnip and 2 carrot, the day before a mix of broccoli and cauliflower), or can take a fruit cube out the night before to add to breakfast porridge.

I could not be without my stash of cubes
I could not be without my stash of cubes
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