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This time around I have found weaning a totally different experience. I have been much more relaxed and enjoyed it so much more. I feel almost like I failed Emilia with weaning, knowing what I know now and being so much less stressed. I feel like it could have been a totally different experience for both of us.
Ava on the other hand has taken to weaning so well. We tried a different approach and started with bitter veg doing a mix of both puree & finger food. I’m not sure this made a massive difference as I just think my overall feelings towards the process were so different so she has been much more relaxed around food.
There is so much information around when it comes to weaning and having been through it with 2 now I wanted to share my favourite weaning essentials.
For me the basic IKEA highchair is an absolute winner, it’s simple and easy to clean plus the removable tray gives you 2 options when feeding baby. It is however very basic which is reflected in the price so this time around I have added a few extras to ours which makes it a slightly better seat for Ava.
We added a footrest after reading about the benefits of babies being able to rest their legs, it helps to stabilize their core and can reduce the risk of choking. We got our from Printaboodle on Etsy.
And to make the perfect highchair we also added a cushion. I absolutely love ours which is from Messy Me. Kindly gifted it is a great addition to the chair and one I highly recommend. Especially for the early days as it adds a little more support for smaller babies. You can just wipe it along with the chair as it is made from Oil cloth, and if you do get it stained (hello raspberry!) the sun works its magic on it.
Back when weaning Emilia I used the Bamboo Bamboo bowls and plates which I absolutely loved, super cute designs and great suction are big bonuses to them but they weren’t the easiest to clean. This time around I found Omnia Baby on Instagram, a small business selling gorgeous looking weaning equipment but with one additional bonus. Dishwasher safe. With 2 little ones this is a huge plus point. So I have a selection of their bowls and plates and I love them. Great suction, Ava tries her best to pull them off but hasn’t succeeded with these ones yet, and they look great.
One thing I 100% couldn’t live without when weaning is bibs.
For baby led weaning or when you start to offer finger foods I find the apron style bibs the best. I tried a few different ones with Emilia and never loved them but this time around I’ve again used Omnia Baby and wow their bibs are awesome. I have 4 for Ava. The designs are gorgeous but they are also really practical. They keep her clothes clean and dry, and they are really easy to clean. I wipe clean or rinse them under the tap after use and then every couple of days they all go in the wash. Doing this I haven’t noticed them smelling like with previous ones I’ve used and they haven’t stained.
Babies also need to be offered small sips of water when weaning, and I have found having a variety of different cups has worked great with Ava. We have small open cups from Cognikids, which are easy to grip, a Munchkin 360 which are great for taking out and about and the free flow Tommee Tippee cups. I will be introducing a straw cup soon as well which we will use for cows milk when she reaches a year old.
I find weaning a little mind boggling and so there’s been a few books which have definitely helped me navigate my way through the journey.
I had one book which I used with Emilia, Gill Rapley which was great for the basics of Baby led weaning however I never loved the recipes. There is a few that worked well but not many I would rave about. Now if you follow my Instagram you will definitely have seen me shouting about the What Mummy makes books. They have been amazing. Almost everything we eat now is from these books and I use the meal planner every week. The recipes are fab for both girls but also really nice for us adults. I do think these books have helped me immensely with Ava’s weaning as we really do all eat the same which is something I always struggled with with Emilia.
I also used the Wean in 15 book as a guide I initially with Ava, and that’s where I read about the veg led mixed approach which I do think has worked out well for us. There are a small number of recipes I make from that book now and if focusing more on puree is the way you want to go I would recommend it.
Weaning is a messy business no matter what so I would definitely recommend thinking about the clean up. I absolutely love the Cheeky Wipes kit. The wipes are reusable and come with a storage box, they are much kinder to babies skin, the environment and they make the baby clean up operation as quick and painless as possible.
I don’t think there’s much else you need to get started to be honest, if you like to batch cook which I seem never to get the hang of these little freezer pots are amazing. First Steps Baby Weaning Food Freezing Cubes. A splash mat could be a good investment especially if you have carpet, and you can buy lots of spoons and cutlery.
After having such different experiences with the girls I would highly recommend relaxing, focusing on baby and enjoying it. It should be a fun process