I weaned Austin onto solid food when he was 5 and a half months old. He wasn’t yet sitting up without support so feeding him could be a messy job – here’s a video of his first taste of avocado, which we will call Exhibit A.
At the start, we fed him in his bouncy chair or just in our arms. That led to stains that had to be soaked out in every wash. Have I ever mentioned that I hate cleaning?
I do – but I also hate to see the house looking dirty so I find mess-free alternatives for almost everything. Here are some of the things I did to cut cleaning time while Austin learned to eat:
Start with a Bumbo-style seat
I found these little seats brilliant when he couldn’t support himself. He could splash and blow his food on it and all I had to do was wipe it down or tip it into the sink if there were a load of crumbs.
The public health nurse advised that I should have placed it on the floor for safety but I kept mine on the table because I found trying to feed him at ground level impossible with the dog.
However, if you are using a Bumbo style seat at a height you really do need to keep an eye on them as the baby grows because they can be moved if the baby’s feet push off the surface it’s sitting on.
Cover the baby completely during meals
I found all bibs were laughably small when weaning Austin. His clothes were constantly covered in food and everything had to be soaked or thrown out.
To reduce laundry, I tied a muslin loosely around his neck and pulled the sides back over his shoulders. You can use pegs to hold it in place of you need. Once I rolled his sleeves up, only the cloth needed washing.
When he got older I bought the IKEA jacket bib which I found brilliant for food and messy creative play.
Start with shallow spoons
If you have a spoon with a little trough in it you might find that half the food drops off at each bite. Use a shallow spoon and take your time with it. Baby is only learning so incy-wincy bits are all that’s needed at the start. This results in much less droppage to clean up. Score!
Ban cushioned highchairs from your home
We got a loan of a cushioned Mothercare highchair from my brother when Austin was big enough but I found it really difficult to clean. Maybe I’m a little germaphobic (even though I hate cleaning!) but I pulled it apart every night for a week. I bleached the straps and pulled off the cushion to scrub away the dirt that accumulated in the crevices. Then I dried it and put it back together again. The whole process seemed to take forever so I could only really do it once a day after his dinner.
On day three I called Dave and told him I was going to IKEA. There would be no talk of budget or waiting for one to come up on Adverts.ie.
This conversation is over.
Go for a hardwood or moulded plastic highchair
Here’s a short review of the IKEA Blames Highchair we bought for Austin.
- I can wipe it clean in less than a minute after breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- It’s a lovely red colour that brightens up my pale-ass neutral kitchen (It comes in Black too).
- It’s small enough to fit where a normal chair would against my kitchen table.
- The legs holes are big enough to fit a two year old if you remove the tray and pull it against your table so it will last a while.
- It’s kinda funky and hipster in design.
- It only cost 55 euro so it wasn’t crazy money. (It also helps if Nana buys it as a present!)
- It’s a hard wooden chair so you have to buy a cushion to pop between it and the baby’s back.
- If you try to put a cushion under the baby’s bum, they tend to slip and cause the baby to tilt forward.
- You cannot fold it away like most of the cushioned chairs so you will need to remove a chair from your table.
I see the last Con as a Pro really because I am lazy and could not be bothered putting a highchair away after every meal.
Austin is nine months at the time of writing this and only learning finger foods and self-feeding at this point. I’ll update with any more mess reducing tips as he gets older…
I hope you find this advice useful and if you have any mess-reducing tips you’d like to share, this lazy mama would love to hear them!!!