Messy weaning tips and hints
Here at Tidy Tot we are love to encourage everyone to embrace the mess of weaning – yes that’s right, we love the mess that much! We want everyone to get stuck in exploring, squelching and scrunching food as part of our drive to tell more and more people about the benefits of Sensory Weaning – a simple way you can engage your baby’s senses and help your baby become a happy little eater! To make things even simpler, our Sensory Weaning flash cards are also available as a free download – breaking down each of the eight senses and providing helpful tips and hints. We’ve also compiled some more of those tips from a range of weaning experts in this blog to help you with your weaning journey.
It may come as a surprise, but learning to eat is actually one of the hardest things to do. Many of us have an expectation that our babies will just know what to do when it comes to eating, afterall, they’ve eagerly watched us do it for the past few months and will no doubt be mimicking our actions. The fact is that whilst it’s the most natural of instincts, there are eight different senses that your baby has to integrate and coordinate in the correct way in order to eat.
At Tidy Tot, it is important to us to understand exactly how babies learn to eat. We have explored this and more with weaning expert, The Children’s Nutritionist, as part of our Sensory Weaning guide. We discovered that a large part of the weaning process involves letting little ones get stuck in and getting messy – hands, face…even feet! Letting your little one get stuck in means letting them feel the squelch, the scrunch the rough and the smooth, exploring every aspect of what makes food so delicious and exciting using all of their senses. All this sensory exposure stimulates your baby’s brain, forming neural connections from one area to another. This leads to your little one learning new skills and behaviours.
Clearly encouraging all this messy behaviour, parents will need a good do-it-all bib to keep clothes, highchairs and floors clean, that’s where Tidy Tot’s range of bibs comes in to minimise the clean-up operation afterwards!
Whether you’re just starting weaning, dealing with a fussy eater or just looking for tips on how to make weaning more fun (and messy!), look no further. These top tips will inspire and help!
On messy weaning from Tidy Tot and The Children’s Nutritionist…
1. Introduce a range of different foods with different textures so your baby’s sensory weaning journey can really start. Try soft and wet foods that squelch and slip and slide between fingers. The nemesis of many parents, stain-worthy Spaghetti Bolognese, is often the ultimate test – Tidy Tot bibs have all passed this test with flying colours keeping clothes clean underneath!
2. Experiment with easy to scoop wet foods like yoghurt – not only is this a great one to dunk hands in but also provides a great opportunity to start some early spoon practise
3. If you’re introducing a new food, put it alongside a food they’ve already liked and accepted, you’ll have a better chance of them going for it!
4. Try soft foods like pre-cooked vegetables, cheese and toast which can be broken up, played with, passed from hand to hand and sucked on, disintegrating into little pieces to be feasted on later. Thankfully the food-safe trays on the Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kits keep this well-chewed food firmly in your baby’s reach
On trying first foods from Kiddylicious…
5. Babies are born with a natural liking for sweet food so it’s good to get them trying mostly vegetables at first, especially the more bitter ones like broccoli or spinach. Don’t worry if they don’t seem to like it at first, perseverance is during weaning.
6. The wafers from Kiddylicious are a great first food as little ones can learn to gum, chew, swallow and practice self-feeding
On learning to drink from a cup from Babycup…
7. Choose a cup that’s the right size for your baby. Can you imagine using a bucket for learning to drink? Babycup First Cups are the perfect size for little hands and mini mouths
8. Learning to drinks can mean spills, use bathtime to practise drinking – they’re already surrounded by water so it doesn’t matter if they spill!
On having fun with food from TUMTUM…
9. Turn that frown upside down by making food fun! Having fun with food whether it be drawing a silly face on a banana or creating fun foodie faces can really help to engage the fussiest of eaters and before you know it they’ve tried something new.
On introducing cutlery from doddl…..
10. First, lay the baby spoon and fork on baby’s tray or table surface, or place in their bowl. As a next step, load the spoon/fork with food, place in front of them and allow them to grab it.
Encourage them to start dipping the cutlery into different foods. Allowing them to keep using their hands to feed themselves at the same time is all part of the exploring!
Mealtimes will inevitably get messy but try not to reach for the wipes until you’re finished. If food gets all over your baby’s face and hands leave it there until the end of the meal, that’s all part of the food experience. Our super-soft Bamboo Wash Mitts are perfect for taking the tears out of wiping sticky hands and faces and make a great eco alternative to disposable wipes
Good luck and enjoy your (messy) weaning adventure from all of us at Tidy Tot!