Tips for Mess-Free BLW

Infant feeding is immensely challenging for the parents, as weaning has a major impact upon the nutritional status and health of the infant. Transition from exclusive breastfeeding to complementary feeding should be followed by spoon feeding for 4-6 months and then introducing solid foods.  Majority of parents used to prefer introducing solids to their babies in the form of purees. However, now the priorities have changed and the parents have bypassed the purees for Baby Led Weaning. This is an alternative and a wonderful approach that flips the table for the babies and gives them the charge for their meal time. The babies have the whole control to play with their food and then put it in their mouths.  BLW is an efficient and effective method for the babies to feed themselves as per their hunger. The main responsibility of the parents is to choose the right and nutritious foods for their babies whereas the babies should decide how much of that food they want to eat. Baby Led Weaning has several potential perks for the babies motor skills, hand-eye coordination and health status. It encourages the babies to try new things and to experience new textures. The baby learns self regulation, which allows them to differentiate between the feeling of hunger and fullness. In 2012, a study was conducted by the Nutrition Department of University of Otago, New Zealand. It suggested that baby led weaning encourages healthy eating patterns for babies, develops good behavior and maintains healthy body weight. It was evident that baby led weaning is a feasible and popular approach amongst parents.

Baby Led Weaning – an Absolute Mess

Despite having lots of positive points, Baby Led Weaning has a very messy drawback. This complete process is an experiment for the baby, which makes it sure to be untidy. You do not need to panic about it, though. It may be messy for the parents, but it is great fun for the baby. Let them play and create a mess. However, this mess can be reduced by introducing the specific foods that can be handled by the babies accurately.  

Messy Foods and Their Strategy

    • SOUP- Soups are too much of a mess so instead of giving them with a spoon, pour them into a cup. 
    • PUREES- Purees are not easy to eat for the babies and are messy. Serve fruit and veggies instead. However, the fruits and vegetables should be cut into tiny pieces.
    • OATMEAL- Foods like oatmeal are thin and can be spilled. They should be cooked with a thicker consistency.
    • WATER/JUICES– Leak-proof good quality sippers should be used to avoid spilling.   

Foods Perfect for BLW

Here are some foods that are easy for babies to handle without creating a mess:
  • Sliced Avocado, Banana, Apple
  • Cooked and diced carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli
  • Cucumber is a best option
  • Whole-grain toast and pancakes
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Yogurt

Tips and Tricks to Avoid the Mess

Baby feeding isn’t an easy task for the parents. To avoid the stress, the exertion and the mess we have penned down some tips to be followed for better results:  

Start the Process Slowly

In the beginning, let the babies go with the flow and do not force them. They are used to breastmilk or formula milk and it is difficult for them to accept the change immediately. Forcefully doing anything might make them frustrated and this will eventually become their habit when it comes to food. They might throw the food away or spit the food when it’s forcefully put in their mouth.

Feed Only a Few Pieces at a Time

Do not place a plate in front of them that is full of their meal. This might reduce the temptation and the baby is likely to resist. In some cases, the baby swipes away the whole meal with his hand. Instead, place only 2-3 bites on the tray and when the baby finishes them, add more.

Attentively Observe the Baby While Eating

When the baby is having his meal, all you need is to attentively watch and ensure that the baby is not throwing the food away. Try to catch the food particles that might create the mess.

Invest in a High Baby Chair

Find a plastic high chair with no cushions or cloth covering to avoid the dirt. The plastic will be easy to clean and the cushions won’t hide any leftovers, preventing extra mess. Moreover, a baby sitting in a high chair will be more comfortable to eat at the level of family members sitting at the dining table. 

Use a Proper Bib 

Remove the baby’s clothes, wrap the diaper around the waist and cover the baby with a huge bib. This would prevent the clothes from being untidy and the bib will keep the baby clean. This big size bib avoids the dribbles and food to reach the baby’s front and will help in preventing the mess. A bib with a drip catcher pocket will be ideal in catching any scraps of food before they reach the chair or the floor.

Use Silicone Suction Bowls

Silicone suction bowls are the best thing that you can have to prevent the mess. Their bottom has a suction property that makes them stick with the table/high chair surface. When the baby eats the food the bowl remains in place and does not move. These bowls have pulled off the stress of the dish being thrown on the floor. 

Good Company Sipper

Use a good quality sipper with outside silicon cover and handles so that it is easy to handle for the baby. Make sure the sipper does not leak.

Keep the Wash Cloths

The whole process of  baby-led weaning is followed by wiping off the baby’s hands and face. Instead of using tons of tissue paper, keep 2-3 washcloths for cleaning.

Conclusion

Baby-led weaning is quite adventurous and a fun activity for the babies. It regulates your baby’s skills and is an efficient approach for better health. This might be messy sometimes but do not forget it’s their time! Let them enjoy their meal and keep your cameras ready to take their super fun pictures of these priceless messy moments.

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