Starting solid foods is an exiting milestone in the life of your baby. You are helping your child shape their relationship with food and establish a healthy eating style. I first heard about baby-led weaning, or BLW, when I noticed that my second child have zero interest in pureed foods. This was new to me since our oldest LOVED pouches and mashed food.
In this guide I’m sharing personal tips of what I have learning during our baby led weaning journey. I will explain which gear and utensils made this process easier. Please keep on reading for my favorite recommendations for BLW utensils and gear, including:
- plates and bowls
- Baby led weaning is a technique that teaches your child to eat the same food as the entire family together at the table.
- This technique teaches a baby to chew first instead of swallowing automatically – like with spoon-feeding.
- Therefore a BLW baby will be less likely to choke than a spoon-fed baby.
- Note: a baby’s gag reflex is in the center of his or her tongue instead of the back like an adult’s. So if they get too much food or too big a piece, they actually gag it up before it’s even close to going down their throats. As they grow, it moves back on their tongue.
- It allows babies to feed themselves from the get go and puts them in control of what goes into their mouth. Therefore it eliminates any power struggle.
- Babies are more likely to be adventurous with what they’ll try when they feel like they are in control of what goes in their mouth instead of having it shoved in with a spoon.
The best baby led weaning highchairs
Any high chair will work, so if you already have one, that is totally fine. You won’t have to buy a new one. But if you don’t have a high chair yet, I have some recommendations to make clean up easier because let’s face it: BWL can be messy.
Therefore when choosing a new high chair, look for:
- A chair with minimal parts and crevices because you baby will smear and drop food
- Possibly a high chair that comes with a tray that is removable for easy cleanup
- If the chair has a cover, one that is simple to wipe or even better can go in the washing machine
- If you forego the tray, choose a chair that can easily be pulled close to the table to minimize dropping food
This wooden, minimalistic is beautiful and has a tray that is removable. You can also pull it right under the table and even better, it blends it with your furniture. It is a bit pricier but it grows with your baby. Even adults can comfortably sit on it.
The Ikea Antilop highchair is an amazing budget pick. There are also lots of great small businesses that make beautiful accessories for it such as mats and covers.
The best baby led weaning cups
Did you know that your baby can use an open cup at approximately six months old?
This may sound unconventional when looking at the huge market of sippy cups, but an open cup is better for your baby’s teeth and you won’t have to wean off a sippy cup later on.
When looking for a cup for baby led weaning, choose a cup:
- that is smaller made especially for babies, so that your child can lift it to his or her mouth and control the water flow
- alternatively pick a cup that is closed but doesn’t have a soft spout
These closed Munchkin cups are easy to hold due to the handles and won’t spill. There are just three parts and so it is easy to clean in the dishwasher. They come in various designs, so choose whatever fit best for your family.
This small Ezpz cup is made for little baby hands and mouth. It is made of soft silicone, so your baby won’t hurt itself even if it bumps into it with gums and teeth. Of course it is dishwasher safe!
The best baby led weaning plates and bowls
With my first child we never used plates and I thought we didn’t really need that. But when we pulled our second baby right to the table to start baby led weaning I found it actually really helpful. Plates with great suction are great for those of us that have babies that like to throw their plate. And believe me, I’ve been there. Luckily there are also those aren’t “throwers”. Here, some simple plastic bowls and plates are perfect.
This mat has great suction and fits most tray tables. It also has three different sections.
The Mushie Silicone Suction plate is made of food-grade silicone and has great suction. It comes in a variety of different sections.
The best baby led weaning silverware
When you think about starting solid foods, you most don’t think about silverware. I noticed my baby was very interested in our silverware and wanted to mimic what we were doing. However, when you teach our baby about using silverware, it is important to look for spoons and forks that are designed for baby led weaning as most baby spoons are made for parents to feed babies. Instead, look for utensils that are made for tiny hands.
The Grabese baby spoons and forks are my favorite first utensils for baby. They are literally tiny! They have a thick handle that is good for holding it in the “fist grip”.
Stainless steel utensils might not come to mind when you think about baby utensils. I love this set though because all utensils are very narrow and have short handles. It also includes a butter spreader. This is easier for a young toddler to spread butter, jam or mashed fruit with a short-handled butter spreader/food pusher than a knife. So this is set is perfect for an independent 12-month old.
The best baby led weaning bibs
Baby led weaning can be pretty messy at times. However, I believe any type of feeding solids can result in a mess. So getting some good bibs is really important. When buying bibs, look for the ones:
- That can be just rinsed in the sink
- Are waterproof
- And or have pockets to catch food that falls
These waterproof bibs are great every day bibs that easily fit in our purse. These do really well in the washing machine.
Not to be confused with the Bumpkin Superbib, these small bibs are designed for babies aged 3-9 months. They are the perfect first bibs because they are waterproof and have a pocket.
The mushie bib is made of food-grade silicone that is also BPA and phthalate free. This bib is great because you can just rinse it in the sink. It is designed in Sweden and also comes in many colors.
The Bumpkins sleeved bib is great when you really don’t want to risk getting an outfit dirty. It can be rinsed in the sink or washed in the machine. It also has a pocket to catch any food that falls.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. There are no costs associate with this for you. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.