My top 5 weaning essentials

We’re now six months into our weaning journey with Gabe and although we’ve hit a few bumps along the way we are slowing getting there. Having now weaned two babies I thought I’d share my top five weaning essentials with you…

top five weaning essentials
Highchair

Even though we waited until 6 months to start weaning with Toby and Gabe they were both still a bit unsteady when sitting so needed a highchair that would support them. We used the IKEA Antilop with them both which was fab; very cheap and very easy to clean too. My only gripe with it is that it doesn’t fold and so takes up quite a lot of room. The Babymoov Light Wood high chair that we reviewed recently and are using with Gabe is fab in that respect. I also like that it’s the perfect height for Gabe to be able to sit up at the table with the rest of the family but still use the tray of the high chair.

Messy mat

Even if you’re not going full-on baby led weaning there’s no denying that weaning is messy however you do it, and food will end up on the floor. In both our houses we’ve had carpet in the area we eat so a mat to protect the floor has been essential. I know a lot of people use a plastic shower curtain, we’ve had various bits of PVC material bought from the fabric department at Dunelm – this is what we’re using at the moment as it meant I could get one piece big enough to go under both Gabe and Toby’s chairs. You can also get lots of purpose made weaning mats like this one from Messy Me that we reviewed recently.

Spoons

You don’t need lots of fancy equipment for weaning but I would say soft baby spoons are pretty essential. Of course you could just use an ordinary teaspoon but I know both my boys have really liked to chew on their spoons and I would worry about them hurting themselves on a metal one. We like these silicone spoons from Munchkin – Gabe definitely likes giving them a good old chomp!

Bowls

Again you could just use any bowl you happen to have but I’ve found that plastic bowls are great for when they inevitably get thrown on the floor. Lidded bowls are also very handy for storing left overs in the fridge or for when you are out and about. These bowls from Babymoov are the perfect size for babies and toddlers and they’re stackable so easy to store too.

Bibs

A good bib is essential when you are weaning unless you want to spend all your time washing food covered clothes. Even Toby still wears a bib at three when he’s eating cereal or anything that might drip or splash just because it makes my life easier. For babyled weaning a complete coverall bib is fantastic and I really like the Close Parent Coverall bibs and had a couple of them we used on rotation. We also use these from Silly Bibz which are a great size, fold up small for eating out and both boys seems to find them comfortable and don’t try to pull them off which is a bonus!

I also wanted to mention one non-essential but very useful product – especially if you are going down the more traditional puree route with weaning…

Steamer/Blender

Of course you don’t actually need a steamer/blender specifically designed for babies. You can steam things in a pan or in the microwave and use any kind of blender to make your purees. However, we’ve been trying out the Nutribaby from Babymoov and it is a great little piece of kit. It is quite small so doesn’t take up tons of room on the worktop. The steamer can be used to heat and sterilise bottles or warm baby food, as well as actually cooking food. The blender is a really good size and has some great features – for example it’s impossible to turn the blender on without the lid clicked into place…great for those baby brain moments! I’ll be sharing a few ways we’ve been using the Nutribaby over the next couple of months.

So there you have it – my top five weaning essentials (and one non-essential). Is there anything else that you’ve found invaluable when weaning?

 

**Disclosure: We were sent some of the products featured in this post as a part of our role as Babymoov Ambassadors on the #stresslessweaning program. As always, all opinions are my own.

Review: Babymoov Light Wood High Chair

When we started looking for a high chair for Toby when he was weaning we got lots of recommendations for a very cheap one from a well known Swedish furniture store. It served Toby well until he moved into a booster seat at the table when he was nearly two. We used the same high chair with Gabe for the first month or so of weaning until, as part of our role as Babymoov ambassadors, we were sent the Babymoov Light Wood High Chair and matching Comfort Cushion to try out.

Babymoov Light Wood High Chair

I’ll be honest here – coming in at ten times the cost of our old high chair I did wonder if the Babymoov high chair would be worth the extra money. But I have to say it does have loads of great features that really do make it stand out from other high chairs on the market.

Large easy to clean tray on the Babymoov high chair

As the name would suggest the Babymoov high chair is made from wood and it is really solidly built. It is very sturdy and I’ve never felt worried that Gabe could tip it, whether he’s sat in it or using it to pull himself onto his feet! The slight downside to this is that at 6.5 kg the chair is quite heavy – I wouldn’t want to have to move it around a lot.

What makes the Babymoov Light Wood High Chair different to a lot of other high chairs on the market, and one reason I think the £140 price tag is justified, is that with a movable seat and foot rest, and a removable tray this chair can adapt to be used from around 6 months right up until your child is big enough to use a standard chair, and beyond.

Sitting up at the table in the Babymoov Light Wood high chair

Now I know there are a few other wooden high chairs on the market that are adaptable to be used by both babies, toddlers and children but the thing that makes this Babymoov high chair unique is that it also be folded so it is almost flat. For me this is a massive plus point over our previous high chair, and other chairs of this type. It’s really easy to collapse as well; just release the crotch bar, press two buttons on either side to lower the tray then squeeze the clip on the back of the seat to fold it. Opening it back up is even easier and can be pretty much done one-handed.

Babymoov Light Wood High Chair folds flat

The high chair is very easy to wipe clean and I do like that the lip on the edge of the tray doesn’t go right round to the back which makes it even easier to wipe crumbs and other bits off into your hand. The only thing to watch out for when cleaning is that crumbs (and Cheerios in our case) can collect just at the base of the crotch bar and they’re easy to miss when cleaning, especially when you’ve got the cushion over the top.

Watch out for those Cheerios

Looks wise the Babymoov Light Wood high chair is definitely more stylish than our old high chair. I like the dark and light grey of the chair – it’s going to fit in really well when we get our new kitchen soon.

Gabe likes the Babymoov high chair

If you are looking for a wooden high chair that will adapt with your child and last them right from weaning through to childhood then this Babymoov high chair is definitely one to consider.

 

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product as part of my role as a Babymoov ambassador. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

We're going on an adventure

Weaning with Bibetta and Messy Me // #messisbest

I have a confession to make – I love the idea of babyled weaning but I just can’t stand the mess! I will never be one of those mums who posts a picture on Instagram of their baby covered head to toe in spaghetti bolognese or yoghurt. However, I know that getting messy and exploring food is important for Gabe’s development so I do try and rein in my need to clean up every spill and drip whenever I can.

Gabe thinks that mess is best

Whilst working with Babymoov we’ve been lucky enough to be able to receive some great advice from nutritionist Julia Wolman. Here she explains a few of the reasons why, when it comes to weaning, mess really is best…

1. It’s fun

From experience, watching babies exploring their food in an unpressurised environment is usually accompanied by beaming smiles on their faces. And when they are happy and relaxed at mealtimes, they are more likely to enjoy eating and develop a positive relationship with food in the long run. As tempting as it might be to step in with a baby wipe, try to take a step back instead, and take pleasure in watching them enjoy themselves.

2. Learning through sensory play

Any early years’ practitioner will confirm that ‘a play opportunity is a learning opportunity’. This theory can also be applied to mealtimes. When a baby squashes a chunk of potato, s/he is learning how solid foods can, under pressure, turn to mash. When they rub their fingers in yogurt they are learning how runny textures feel. When they throw food on the floor they are learning about the forces of gravity!

Research from the University of Iowa suggests that playing with food may improve a child’s learning abilities, specifically in relation to developing early vocabulary. The study, published in the journal Developmental Science in December 2013, looked at the mealtime behaviour of 72 toddlers. It found those who were allowed to explore foods, for example, through touching, poking or throwing them, were more likely to name them correctly.

Weetabix is messy

3. Increasing familiarity

Babies need to feel comfortable with and trust that new foods are ‘safe’ before they will put them in their mouths. So it follows that if they don’t know how a food smells, or feels, they may be reluctant to taste it. All too often parents may interpret this response as a baby not liking a certain food, when really, they just don’t know enough about it to want to try.

4. Fine motor skills development

Around nine months, babies usually develop the ability to use a pincer grip, whereby they can pick things up using their thumb and forefinger. Before this age they tend to grab using their whole hand. Allowing babies the freedom to explore smaller pieces of food with their fingers will help to develop their pincer grip – try blueberries, peas, sweetcorn, raisins or rice
(NB. always supervise your child and never leave them alone during eating).

5. Hand-eye coordination

Whether using spoons or self-feeding, when babies do it themselves they are learning how to get food into their mouths. And while most of it may go anywhere but their mouth at the beginning, with practice they’ll quickly work it out!

In order to help me embrace the mess of weaning we were sent a couple of products which at least will make the clean up a bit easier!

Mess is best with Bibetta

First up is the Bibetta Ultrabib with sleeves – this really is a complete coverall bib. It’s made of durable and wipe clean neoprene (the stuff wetsuits are made of), the sleeves are a thinner more flexible material with elastic cuffs, and there is a pocket at the bottom to catch any dropped food. There is a strong velcro fastening at the back, and so far at least Gabe hasn’t managed to wriggle out of it! This is a great bib for keeping any mess off clothes, there really is nothing getting through this one. The only thing I would say is that the Ultrabib is quite small so don’t expect it to fit your toddler but it fits Gabe fine for now and would be perfect for the early days of weaning.

Gabe enjoys exploring his dinner

The second product we were sent was a Messy Mat from Messy Me. Having a mat on the floor that you can easily keep clean not only means you avoid any nasty stains on the carpet but it also means you can pick dropped food up and give it back to your baby which makes for much less waste too.

The Messy Mat is made from hard wearing oilcloth. It’s a great size for under the highchair – big enough to contain most dropped food and spills. It’s really easy to wipe clean but can also go in the washing machine occasionally if you feel it needs a more thorough clean. I love oil cloth and Messy Me make all sorts of products from this great material – everything from bibs and aprons to highchair cushions and covers.

Messy Mat is great for play dough

We actually already had a bigger mat that we were using to go under Toby’s chair as well as Gabe’s highchair so I put the Messy Mat on the table as a table cloth instead. It has been working really well to keep the table clean at mealtimes – although Toby doesn’t drop his food on the floor too much any more he still has plenty of spills! It’s also been great for protecting the table when Toby plays with play dough or does any other drawing or craft activities.

Weaning seems to have been a slow road with Gabe so far – various bouts of illness and teething have really affected his appetite and what he is willing to eat. The last week or so though he seems to have been much better and he’s really enjoying feeding himself too so I’m just going to keep repeating #messisbest to myself and let him get on with it as much as I can!

 

The Bibetta Ultrabib with sleeves has an RRP of £10.99 and the Messy Mat from Messy Me has an RRP of £24.00

 

**Disclosure: We were sent the featured products in return for this review but as always, all opinions are my own.

 

Review: Babymoov Lovely Bear Lunch Set

As part of our role as #stresslessweaning ambassadors for Babymoov we were sent this Lovely Bear Lunch Set. There’s a divided plate, bowl, cup and a sweet little fork and spoon. Everything in the is melamine so very hard wearing (but remember melamine can’t go in the microwave) and features a cute bear character.

Babymoov Lovely Bear Lunch Set

As you can see, Gabe isn’t quite ready for using plates, bowls and cups yet.

Cup goes the other way up Gabe

At the moment we either spoon feed him, or he eats straight from his highchair tray. If I give him a bowl or plate he just tips everything out and it gives him something else to bang on the table!

Gabe doesn't quite understand a bowl

He does like having something to hold while he’s being fed though and the spoon from the lunch set is the perfect size for his little hands.

Gabe using the Babymoov Lunch Set bowl and spoon

Although Gabe isn’t quite ready to use the Babymoov Lunch Set just yet I’m sure he’ll like it when he’s a bit older. I think it would make a great first birthday present – the set comes in four different designs and in a lovely presentation box too. I know Toby got far more toys than he could ever play with for his first birthday so something like this lunch set would make a fab alternative.

Babymoov Lunch Set giftbox

The Babymoov Lovely Bear Lunch Set has an RRP of £29.99

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

We're going on an adventure

Gabriel is ten months old

Yep. That’s right. Gabe is ten months old. Another two months and he’ll be one. And actually because I’m so late writing this month’s update he’ll actually be one in just over six weeks!

Gabriel is ten months old

When I wrote Gabe’s nine month update he had about 10 chicken pox spots and I was hoping he was going to get away with a mild dose but no such luck. A couple of days later and he was covered; they were all over his body, his bum, his face, his head, in his ears, eyes and mouth….it was horrible and he really suffered for the next week. Despite not scratching any of his spots he has ended up with a few scars on his body and one right between his eyes – hopefully it will fade a bit over time but I don’t see what else we could have done to avoid them.

And it just doesn’t get any better for my littlest bear – the week after he had recovered from his chicken pox he got another stomach bug. He was sick one evening then seemed OK overnight but was sick five times the next day. After he’d got over that he seemed to be really struggling with his reflux and then started teething again… It really is never ending! Despite all the illness we have still managed to get out and about a bit this month and Gabe seemed to enjoy having a go on the swing a few weeks ago.

Enjoying the swing

Hopefully though there is some light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel. I can actually feel a tooth on one side and the other one doesn’t seem to be too far away. And last week we finally got to see a paediatrician at the hospital after being referred back in April. The doctor has prescribed Gabe some new medicine and so far it does seem to be helping so fingers crossed things are on the up at last and we can all start getting a bit more sleep soon! At the moment Gabe is still up at least once or twice a night (and often more) and is usually awake and wanting to get up at some time between 4:30 and 5 am. Most nights he ends up in bed with me in the early hours too. I wouldn’t say I was an enthusiastic co-sleeper but I just do whatever I can to get as much sleep as possible at this point.

In spite of all the illness Gabe has made some big developmental leaps in the last month. He is super speedy at crawling now, making it very difficult to get this month’s milestone card picture!

Gabe won't stay still

He has learnt to pull himself up to standing which he is incredibly pleased with himself about. He’s started cruising along the furniture too. It does mean we have to be in a state of constant vigilance though as he is still a bit unstable and hasn’t quite worked out how to sit back down properly yet either so he always seems to be seconds away from causing himself an injury!

Gabe only wants to stand up

Our progress with weaning has been slow this month as being ill and teething has affected Gabe’s appetite quite a lot and I think because of that he has’t really grown or put on much weight in the last month either. His co-ordination is improving all the time though and he is getting much better at feeding himself finger foods, although he is still mostly spoon-fed. I’m hoping we can get him more used to lumpier food over the next couple of months and he can eat the same as the rest of the family. He usually has three bottles of milk during the day now, but also has at least one or two during the night as well. I’m hoping that getting his reflux under control will help us stop the night feeds too.

Gabe enjoying some lunch

Gabe has also started making much more distinguishable sounds now too. He says hiya and although we’ve not quite got Dada yet he does say ‘a-da’ instead. It’s very cute.

I think that’s probably about it for this month’s update. When it comes time to write Gabe’s eleven month update we will be mid house move and he’ll have to deal with lots of disruption to his normal routine. We’ll be leaving the house he was born in which is a little bit sad but hopefully by this time next month we will be getting settled into our forever home. And please, everybody, send all your wellness vibes this way because I would love Gabe to have a month where he isn’t ill at all.

0-10 months

 

 

My Wild Ones // Weaning: the story so far

The lovely Hannah is on holiday in Italy this week so she has asked me to host My Wild Ones which is very exciting! I’ve got a slightly different post this week – instead of just sharing a day out as I often do I’m going to shift the focus to Gabe and share some photos of his weaning adventures so far.

We started weaning with Gabe when he turned six months old so we have been going for about two and half months now. Just like with Toby we launched right in with a mixture of finger foods and spoon feeding. We’re not doing full on babyled weaning but equally I have never pureed anything either.

Gabe took to solid food straight away. The first thing he actually ate was some cinnamon and raisin bagel – perhaps not the textbook first food but it happened to be what Toby was having for lunch so I just gave him a bit!

Gabe's very first taste

He tried some melon that day too, although I don’t think he actually ate very much of it.

Stress less weaning with some melon

Since then Gabe has had all sorts of bread products – breadsticks are still a firm favourite, as well as lots of different fruits and vegetables and things like yoghurt, Weetabix and porridge too. Most mornings he has his practice at picking up Cheerios too – not only a tasty breakfast but also a fantastic way of developing fine motor skills!

Cheerio picking up practice

What we have found though is that although Gabe is happy to feed himself he still doesn’t manage to eat an awful lot that way, but he really likes his food and seems hungry. He also started waking for night feeds again, having not had them since he was about three or four months. So in an effort to get more food into him during the day, and hopefully fill him up, he has been having half of one of the seven month plus pouches for lunch and dinner, alongside some finger foods at every meal too. He is still perfectly happy to be spoon fed too – and loves to play with the spoon after he’s finished. I’ve not been brave enough to let him try and eat off the spoon himself yet though!

Having a go with the spoon

We are now starting to try and move on a bit from the pouches (which have lumps but are still soft) and introduce more textured food to he can just eat what we eat. He’s got six teeth now so biting shouldn’t be too much of a problem! Last week we were having Swedish meatballs with pasta and broccoli and he had a really good go at that so I think he’s getting ready to move on to the next stage of weaning.

Inspecting some pasta

Although he’s always been pretty good at picking things up and getting them in his mouth he’s definitely getting more accurate and generally better at it now – even when it’s slippery banana.

Weaning at eight months

I’m also very excited that we are going to be working with Babymoov on their Stress-less Weaning project over the coming months. We’ll be trying out some of their products and working with a nutritionist too answer all our weaning questions too. You can see Gabe’s snazzy new Babymoov highchair in some of the more recent pictures and you’ll be seeing some of the other goodies we’ve been sent very soon.

So now it’s over to you – I’d love you to link up your posts for My Wild Ones here while Hannah is away.

A few guidelines for linking up:

  • Link up one post per week with the theme of My Wild Ones. It could be a post about your child/children exploring inside or out; the idea is that it’s a photo project of candid childhood photography.
  • The post can be a one photo, a series of photos, or a combination of text and photos.
  • Comment on at least one other blog.
  • Please pop the badge at the bottom of your blog post
  • Don’t forget to tag me on Twitter – @tobygoesbananas – and I’ll retweet your posts as many times as you share them! You could also use #MyWildOnes to share, if you fancy.
  • Linky opens every Thursday and closes the following Monday.
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