No sooner have you brought your bundle home than the months start flying by and before you know it, it’s time to start solid food. You inevitably begin to think about where your tot will sit and turn your eye towards the multitude of high chair options. But 9 out of 10 are complete overkill and some could even be dangerous. Keep it simple.
#8 Thing you’d be wasting your money on: A huge fancy padded high chair.
Like so much baby gear, the highchair is a good idea gone rogue. Yes, your baby needs to sit up to eat. In fact if they can’t sit up well they are not ready for solids yet. And yes it’s convenient they sit up at table height. And, of course, they need some straps and such to keep them safe. But what they do not need, and what you will regret having to clean, is a highchair built roughly the size and shape of a spaceship, with all the complications and a price tag to match.
I heard from a parent today that they don’t allow their 11 month old to make a mess when he eats.
Now before you start sniggering, I knew exactly what she meant. If little Goggins throws his food everywhere just to make a point/see the reaction/get out of eating it/see the reaction (oh wait, I said that already) they don’t turn a blind eye. They are trying to teach him some rules. I do the same. 11 months old is an appropriate age to start asking your child to hand you food they don’t want when they’re finished, not throw it against a wall, and it’s perfectly fine to tell an 11 month old” no” if they tip their food on the floor 5 times in a row while screaming at you.
But if there’s also an element of simply not liking the aesthetics of yoghurt in your baby’s eyebrows, and of wanting to keep the shaggy white rug under her highchair as snowy as they day you bought it (the day before you found out you were pregnant no doubt), then I’m afraid it’s time someone told you – babies are messy.
If you want to keep your white rug white, your wooden floors scratch-free, your vintage dresses & designer tea towels & first edition books & original art works and hand blown glasswear pristine, you have two choices:
Keep them in a part of the house your child never goes (and at some point, rest assured, they will still go to that part of the house).
Don’t have children.
I know it’s tempting to think the third choice is to keep your children under control and clean and calm. And even though you can probably do those things sometimes, hell, most of the time if you’re focused, there’s almost no chance you’ll do it All the time.
Babies make mess.
They are exploring and learning. Often it requires pushing your hands into your porridge and then rubbing into your eyes, sometimes feeding yourself is so hard that only half of it makes it to your mouth and rest falls innocently on the floor, and sometimes it means feeling so frustrated that your limited coping skills induce you to throw half a peach at the wall.
By all means, try to keep eating under control and try to keep your house clean enough to feel comfortable in, but it’s best if you also try not to worry about a bit of mess at meal time. It’s a necessary part of being a baby.
Does your baby make a mess at meal times?
Do you have any handy tips to keep the mess (slightly) under control?
Weaning. Ah, the joy of carrot puree up the walls and your baby sending projectile missiles of mush right into your coaxing face. Weaning’s a really exciting stage in parenting – your little one’s expression as he experiences new flavours! – but it’s also a whole new world: What foods to offer? How much? When? What about milk feeds? And allergies? And choking? Parents in the throes of weaning can find themselves floundering and anxious and suffering from ‘spaghetti bolognaise aversion’. So here are some top tips for weaning to make the whole process much easier – and much more enjoyable:
1. Arm yourself with info.
Read one or two childcare books or baby websites that include guidance on weaning to establish the basics of how it works, such as which foods to avoid for the first year and how to transition from smooth-mush to lumpy-mush. Note the words ‘one or two’ in the last sentence – no need to become a weaning expert, which simply leads to obsessing over each detail of weaning.
A recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that by the time a child is 6 months old in this country, only 15% are still being breastfed. Both the World Health Organisation
Is breast best for you?
and the Australian Breastfeeding Association recommend breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months, and continuing for up to and beyond 2 years when combined with meals of solid food. Clearly, the reality of breastfeeding for most Australian mothers is not in line with the guidelines being presented.
I’m a nanny – not a doctor, nurse, or lactation specialist. My advice on breastfeeding has always come from a mixture of personal research and observation. Any serious concerns or questions, I’ll tell parents, should be directed at the appropriate health professionals. But I am often involved in changes in breastfeeding and can give basic advice and share my opinions and experiences. Continue reading →
There are lots of good organic and pure fruit and/or vegetable baby foods available pre-made these days. But many parents still enjoy/prefer to cook and blend food themselves, especially in the earlier days of weaning. I like to do this, myself. It’s a good way to make sure you know exactly what you’re giving your baby and allows for adjustments to their tastes and reactions. For some families it’s not overly difficult or time-consuming to boil or stew a pot of apples, of sweet potato, pumpkin etc. Immersion stick blenders are wonderful for whizzing it all up right in the pot. Now all you need to do is pop it in the fridge or freezer…
#2 Baby item you definitely shouldn’t bother getting: Specialised pots for storing and freezing baby food.
There are several different styles available, often online or from baby superstores. They are simply small plastic containers, usually of around a 100ml capacity or there about. Sometimes they come in a stand to stack them in and keep them stable in the freezer. The cost varies.
There’s no need to go looking for these speciality items. Just get lots of ice-cube trays. Just simple, cheap, plain old ice-cube trays. Fill with your blended/mashed foods. Freeze. When they’re solid, pop them out and store in labelled snap-lock bags in the freezer. Continue reading →