Considering Baby Parkes is now 18 months, this post is around a year overdue.
So you don’t fall into the trap (buying overpriced, and unneeded (!) items shaped like teddies / stars in primary colours) that so many of us do when it comes to baby apparel, here are the essentials:
1) A highchair.
We bought a super comfy and bulky Graco one. However, the lining (and straps..perhaps unavoidable) stain like crazy. Research heavily into the best highchair, and consider the cleaning process. Will remind myself of this next time round when the baby email offers lure me in once again!
2) Weaning spoons.
Love love love these by Munchkin. My son still plays with them. The colours are gorgeous, and they feel ergonomic.
3) A bib.
We started with a pelican bib. However, after enough stained arms on t-shirts / vests to sink a ship (or me…postpartum bod was still going strong (/ chunky at this point)), we moved to an apron bib. We are now back to using the pelican, and save the apron for really messy foods/precious clothes (why oh why?!). So in hindsight, I’d start an undergrad in the apron, and only move to the pelican once they’ve graduated.
4) Soft flannels.
Needed for wiping down baby’s face/hands/feet/INSERT HERE: any body part that’s at the mercy of exploded purée. We wastefully (economically and environmentally) relied on water wipes on one too many occasions.
We use these now. However, I am uncertain whether I would use these on a younger child…I would be tempted to stick with a cotton flannel from a department store like John Lewis say. What can I say? My bias for their quality and safety runs deep.
5) Cubes to freeze your lovingly home-prepped purée
We have tried all the Tupperware you can think of. The Béaba silicon freezer trays win hands down. Sure, you have to use some kind of cutlery (spoon works best!) to dig the frozen delight out of its hiding spot. But it washes so easily. I HATE stained Tupperware, and these were the only ones not to surrender to the tomato red which plagues the rest of our container collection.
6) Food blender.
For lots of soft foods (either naturally, or from cooking them down until they are mush) a fork will suffice. For everything else you need the power of some kind of blender. Don’t be tricked into some overpriced gadget designed solely for baby food. By the time you have another baby (even if you’re 6 months pregnant…think about how that works) the gizmo will already be obsolete. So stick to what you have already, or buy cheap.
7) A trainer cup.
We still have this, minus the handles…so a bottle. No, I’m not concerned about the harms of a bottle at 18 months.
We also love the Munchkin trainer cup.
My son was exclusively breastfed for 6 months minus 3 days. Therefore, the preparation of nourishing him beyond unclipping my nursing bra came as a shock.
1) A highchair toy.
This Sassy Wonder Wheel toy will entertain the whole family. Fun which is much needed when your lovingly prepared sludge is thrown at you, the floor, and the walls.
2) An easy-to-use and totally safe antibacterial spray for cleaning down the MESS.
I love the Vital Baby spray. However, it’s pretty pricey, and I’m sure soapy water is a good alternative if it’s a little out of your price range.
The nice not-to-haves:
1) Plastic bowls/plates.
Even if you’re doing baby-led weaning I think you can use the highchair tray initially. Assuming, you’re really strong on your hygiene game-wiping down tray is a MUST after every meal! Save the bowls/plates until your little one is a bit further along their weaning journey.
2) Plastic sheet to save floor.
We literally bothered with this once. We occasionally crayon on the sheet, but otherwise it was a total waste! A quick clean of the floor after each meal goes along way. Unless you have carpet/a rug. Then you’re screwed.
3) Tupperware to transport home-prepped purée for when you’re out with little one.
You’re a unicorn. In these situations the fallback, and first choice for us was a pouch.