One thing everyone notices about baby led weaning is…the MESS!!!
When you take on BLW, you have to also be prepared to embrace the sometimes catastrophic, all-encompassing turmoil that comes with it. I mean, it’s not always that bad but there are times when you just want to hose your child down in the garden and leave her to dry off for a good 15 mins before allowing her back in the house!
When we started, I would purposefully find recipes that I could cook for Ivy that would make minimal mess and I was very successful in finding lots of foods that she could eat in a fairly clean manner- especially in the beginning when she mostly ate veggies/fruit. Now that we’ve got into the swing of things it’s not so easy to do. Mainly because I now want to broaden the range of foods that she is eating but I also want to expose her to a variety of textures.
Last week I gave Ivy baked beans with her dinner…I wasn’t prepared for the inevitable. For some reason I hadn’t considered the fact that those baked beans would end up everywhere, literally EVERYWHERE! There are two ways to give your child foods like this, either you just chuck them in front of them and let them smear them around and have a jolly good time covering everything in site, including the floor. OR you can provide them with pre-loaded spoons, which they can then drop/flick/throw into every corner of your kitchen…which you had already cleaned that day! I wasn’t prepared to clean baked beans off of the speakers that sit behind our kitchen table. I wasn’t prepared to clean baked beans off of the pile of post sitting on the kitchen work surface. I wasn’t prepared to clean baked beans from the wall on the other side of the room. I definitely wasn’t prepared to clean baked beans off of my own face!
But the thing to remember from this experience was not to avoid the situation, but to be better prepared for it next time. I know this isn’t always possible, who has time to plan ahead the foods they are giving their children on a daily basis, and then ensure that the post has been moved etc. But it is possible to leave the kitchen cleaning until after the baby has eaten her tea, to make sure you have put down a large wipe down mat under her high chair before she starts and to ensure that the baby is either in just a nappy or wearing a wipe down coverall bib.
Personally I find the ‘throw it all on the table and let her get stuck in’ method works best for us…less chance the walls get a splattering! But hey, it won’t be long until she is able to aim and throw her food at them anyway.
As I said before, who has time to pre-plan meals on a regular basis? Well, I might not do it all the time but I highly recommend that you do think ahead if you’re going out for a meal or at least choose wisely when selecting from a menu. Whilst the mess is great and your child gains so much from exploring the food/smearing it all over their face/squelching it between their fingers/throwing it on the floor to see your reaction…do you really want to experience that in a busy cafe/restaurant?? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can’t be helped. I once gave Ivy avocado for the first time when in a cafe with my mum. We all loved the whole situation, we found it highly amusing to watch Ivy cover herself and all the surrounding surfaces with green sticky mess…but the great clean up that followed wasn’t fun at all. I don’t know about your children, but mine hates having her hands and face cleaned after eating, especially if it takes longer than usual and involves about 10 times more baby wipes! So a screaming baby and a highchair that is now covered in green sludge…and it’s one of those annoying high chairs that seems to have cracks and crevices everywhere- you know the ones! The situation went from hilarious and lighthearted to stressful and exhausting in a matter of moments. Luckily I had Grandma with us to help out, had I been on my own in would have been even worse. I now always make sure to take easy to clean up foods with us when out and about and save the messy ones for at home.
For now, we plan to start embracing MORE mess at home…
Keep an eye on my Instagram stories to see Ivy and I taking on the mess this week- wish us luck…hopefully I wont need a new kitchen at the end of it!!!