Tried & Tested: Essentials for weaning babies
Whether you’re about to start weaning your baby and want to know the essentials to make a smooth transition to solid foods, or have already started but need a bit of guidance on the best kit to buy, you’ve come to the right place!
From recipes books and baby blenders to bibs and cutlery, GBF editor Natasha Lovell-Smith recommends the best equipment to make mealtimes easier
Ziza Highchair and Tray, £149
When it comes to high chairs, there’s a reason why Ikea’s ANTILOP chair (£17) seems to be used in homes and restaurants the world over - it’s a design classic! Easy to clean and assemble and very affordable, it’s very hard to beat.
However, if you’re looking for something a bit more stylish, with more longevity, I loved the scandi-style Ziza Highchair and Tray. First of all, it just looks lovely - the legs are made from 100% solid beechwood and the chair is available in five neutral colours (blush pink, white, light grey, dark blue and dark grey), so it will blend seamlessly into your home.
Smooth surfaces and a machine washable tray make the chair super easy to clean after messy mealtimes, and it has a 5-point harness and two-position footrest for extra safety and comfort.
It’s suitable from 4 months (or when they can sit up on their own) up to 3 years, and the biggest draw for me was the fact it converts from a high chair to a play chair (you do have to buy new shorter legs for this), so you’ll get years of use out of it afterwards.
Bumbo Multi Seat, £65.99
An fantastic little seat that easily (but sturdily) straps on to your existing dining chair, making it great if space is an issue in your home.
The Bumbo Multi Seat can be used in three stages, adapting it to the growing needs of your child. You can use it as a floor seat, strap it to an adult chair for feeding time in place of using a highchair, and you can use it as a booster by removing the pad.
It has a stow away tray that can be easily detached and manoeuvred with one hand to stow it away neatly in its slot behind the backrest of the seat, plus two height settings to accommodate your growing child.
I particularly liked the fact it can also be taken elsewhere - friend’s homes/ restaurants etc. as it’s so compact and easy to store.
Cove Baby Ikea Highchair Footrest, £19
This is possibly quite a niche product, but handy nonetheless! As I mentioned before I’m a big fan of Ikea’s much-loved ANTILOP chair, but the main flaw with it is the lack of footrest. Something that’s really important for weaning as it helps your baby to sit-up straight, fidget less and focus on their meal, which helps with concentration and digestion.
Cove Baby produce a very chic-looking British-made wooden footrest that is specially designed to fit the Ikea model. Each footrest come with four o-rings and two support clips which fully secure the footrest in place but also allow you to change the height of the footrest, depending on the age and height of your child.
My First Meals by Grace Mortimer (HQ, £20)
For parents or grandparents in need of a bit of inspiration, the debut book from Instagram sensation My First Meals (@_myfirstmeals) is packed with ideas for making scrumptious breakfasts, quick snacks, tasty lunches and hearty dinners using no more than five ingredients. Dishes include baked bean waffles, raspberry yoghurt muffins, Bolognese pinwheels and lots more.
It’s probably one for older babies and toddlers, but the book is great for ideas if you’re looking ahead and very accessible.
BabyBrezza One Step Food Maker Deluxe, £159
I really wish I’d bought in one of these when I first started weaning my daughter! I think parents who have opted to embrace purees and traditional baby food over baby led weaning will find this invaluable in the early stages - provided you don’t mind the investment, that is.
The handy gadget automatically steams and blends homemade baby food in one easy step, though there is the option to only steam if you want more texture to your food.
Accommodating both fresh or frozen foods, a simple push of the start button will have perfectly blended food prepared in minutes. The machine also comes with three reusable food pouches and filling funnels for storing your creations.
The BabyBrezza is easy to clean, simple to use and barely takes up any space on the counter - all essentials for me when it comes to appliances like this.
NUK Baby Stackable Food Storage Containers, £4.10
When you’re batch-cooking purées and baby food, freezer and fridge storage is essential to ensure nothing goes to waste. I tried lots of different versions on my weaning journey and these stackable pots were by far the ones I used the most.
They come in 3 different sizes (2 x 50ml, 2 x 75ml, 2 x 100ml) so you have a different one to cater for the different stages of your child’s development and for their changing appetites. The fact they’re stackable and connect together saves lots of space in the fridge or freezer too.
You’ll probably find they’re too small to store much once your baby is eating larger amounts, but they’re also great for storing snacks when you’re on the go, so they won’t be wasted later on.
Eco Rascals Three Piece Cutlery Set for Children, £14.99
This knife, fork and spoon set is the perfect size for toddlers and pre-schoolers who have graduated from finger foods and spoon feeding and are beginning to self-feed.
Available in three fun colours with cute duck or elephant designs, each item has an easy to grip, non-slip and lightweight soft silicone handle. The fork has round prongs and the knife has a round tip to protect little mouths.
JoJo Maman Bébé Silicon Bib, £8
After months of faffing about with various types of cloth bib, I quickly realised you really need a sturdy silicone bib for successful weaning. They’re intended to catch food, thereby minimising waste (there’s no reason to throw away that dropped raspberry!) and making mealtimes a bit less messy. They’re very easy to clean too, so you’ll only need one (though it helps to have a spare in your nappy bag for eating out).
There are loads on the market but I particularly liked this bright and colourful one from JoJo Maman Bébé. It’s particularly light and soft around baby’s neck, has great coverage and folds up for easy storage on the go.
Eco Rascals Bamboo Elephant Suction Plate, £17.90
There are lots of different brands of suction plate available in all shapes and sizes, but I particularly liked the ones from Eco Rascals. This elephant-shaped one is the biggest one in the range, but there are lots more including rabbits, cars and dinosaurs.
It’s made of natural bamboo and comes with a super strong suction base (available in six bright colours) which is detachable for washing and storage.
JoJo Maman Bébé Plate & Bowl Weaning Set, £16
Made from PLA, a plant-based, biodegradable material, this set is a great option for parents looking to make more sustainable choices. The set includes a plate split into three compartments, bowl, cup and two spoons - perfect for starting your little one’s weaning journey. It would also make a lovely gift.
Of all the sets I tested, my baby seemed to get on best with this one - each piece is vibrantly coloured and has a nice weight to it (not too light, not too heavy) making it easy for little hands to maneuver.
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