But what is baby-led weaning? Baby-led weaning (or BLW) is when you give your youngster the chance to explore and eat new food all on their own. Weaning begins when you start to give your little one food other than breast milk or formula.
When your baby’s around six months old, you can introduce solid food. During this time, babies still need breast milk or formula to receive important nutrients. But by giving them other food, you’ve started to slow down their milk intake – this is weaning! The result? Breast milk or formula will eventually disappear from your tot’s diet.
Knowing what to feed your baby is important. But once your little one’s comfortable with chowing down on puréed veggies and mashed-up fruit, you can begin baby-led weaning. No spoons, no purées and no more help from mum!
Around the nine-month mark, babies are usually ready for finger foods, which are essential for baby-led weaning. Your baby can grab soft bites of banana or cooked broccoli and practice independent feeding. The perfect place for weaning is your baby feeding chair. But how do you find the best high chair for the job? We’ve put together our six top tips to help you find the right high chair for when your baby’s ready to go!
6 Tips for Finding the Best High Chair for BLW
1) Room to Explore
Your little one needs plenty of space to discover their tasty new grub. With independent weaning, babies usually just play with food or move it around. That’s okay – they’re learning and developing their fine motor skills.
But a small plastic plate simply doesn’t provide enough room for baby-led weaning. What you need is a high chair with a large open tray. This will give your youngster lots of space to eat (and fiddle) with their finger food.
2) Easy to Clean
Be warned: independent feeding makes a lot of mess! Soggy avocado mashed into the tray, carrots thrown all over the floor and boiled egg remains crushed into the carpet… Baby-led weaning can get chaotic!
The best high chair for BLW must be easy to clean. Wipeable and washable surfaces will be your best friend for curious babies who want to try new things with their food.
Wood and plastic surfaces are perfect for hassle-free cleaning. If your little one needs padding for extra comfort, make sure to find a high chair cushion which you can pop in the washer. Those tomato sauce stains will be hard to get out otherwise!
3) No Nooks and Crannies
When choosing the best high chair for baby-led weaning, make sure to find one without any cracks or crevices.
No matter how close an eye you keep during mealtimes, those crumbs can be very sneaky! Biscuits, cereal and toast are the real culprits during baby-led weaning. They can trickle into your high chair’s nooks and crannies. Once they’re in, they’re almost impossible to get out. Our advice would be to find a high chair which is completely solid, with no gaps for those maddening crumbs!
Baby-led weaning doesn’t have to take place on a tray. Little ones can join the whole family for dinner if you find an adaptable high chair. An adjustable chair with a removable feeding tray is perfect for the BLW process. Just detach the tray, then set your youngster up at the table.
This is a great way to get your baby involved with family mealtimes. Whether they babble away to mum or throw a few breadsticks at dad, little ones will feel included when you use an adaptable high chair for BLW.
The best high chair will also go beyond the weaning stage – it’ll grow with your baby! There’s no need to waste money on a new chair as your tot gets older. A good-quality adjustable high chair will work as a teenage or adult seat too.
5) Supportive and Secure
Babies can be very wriggly when you introduce BLW. With a lot of new foods on offer, your infant might get a bit too excited! The last thing you need is a squirmy baby twisting out of their feeding chair
The best high chair for baby-led weaning will be supportive and secure. Look for a sturdy design which comes with a harness or belt to ensure your little one’s safety.
6) Modern Design
BLW might start when your baby’s around six months old, but you’d ideally hang onto your feeding chair for the next few years. If you have an adaptable high chair, youngsters can use it all the way into adulthood. Plus, you never know when you might need it for baby number two!
That’s why the best high chair for BLW isn’t just practical – it looks good too. Try to find a modern style which will match your home décor. Look for plain colours and natural materials to blend in with your current (and future) interior design.
Baby-led weaning can be a messy job, but it’s very useful for your little one’s development. Just remember the best high chair will be stylish, spacious, secure and easy to clean – with no crevices!
For baby-led weaning to work, your tot needs their own space. Some babies eat very slowly and need time to enjoy their new-found independence.