Required: Highchair, 6-8 utensil sets, 4-6 weaning spoons, 6-8 bowls, 4-6 plates, 4-6 plastic bibs, 2-4 first sippy cups, 4-6 toddler cups with straws, baby rice or porridge
Recommended: 10-20 small storage pots, 20-40 large storage pots, steamer or blender
Optional: store bought jars or pouches of baby food
Weaning Guide: What Do I Need to Buy?
For some parents, weaning will come as a welcome relief as solid foods in their stomachs may finally help your baby to sleep through the night. For other parents, it will mark a bittersweet end to the early infant stage and be something of a chore. In all cases, it will be messy and occasionally challenging, but also necessary to do from about 6 months of age to ensure adequate nutrition for your child. These products will all help you through the process.
The first essential item for weaning is a good high chair. It is definitely worthwhile investing in a high quality, multi-purpose highchair that will accommodate a baby from initial weaning stages through the toddler years – it will also save you space later on when you don’t have to buy a more advanced highchair or toddler seat. Your baby will be spending a lot of time in her highchair over the next two years so look for models that are functional, comfortable, and easy to store – and one that still looks good in your kitchen whether that be a traditional wooden highchair, a more contemporary design or one that is fun for baby. A high quality high chair will have a good sized removable tray, well padded seats, materials and surfaces that are easy to wipe clean and don’t have a lot of crevices, and a harness and safety buckle that are easy to use with one hand. The best top-of-the-range highchairs will be adjustable for different ages and to different heights depending on where you want to feed your baby. They will also have multiple seat recline positions for when you want to use the chair for playtime early on and convert into a proper chair when your baby is ready to sit at the family table but not yet ready for an adult chair. One other highly beneficial feature is anti-scratch feed that protect your kitchen floor from damage, but we wouldn’t worry too much about easy fold highchairs as the chances are it will be a permanent fixture in your kitchen. A classic of modern design with superb functionality, the Bloom Fresco Chrome Highchair is a firm Crux Baby favourite. The Oxo Tot Sprout High Chair is another multiple award winning highchair with contemporary design that parents all love while the new Cosatto 3Sixti Highchair is a great option in a fun design babies will love.
To start with stage 1 weaning at around 4-6 months, we would suggest 6-8 bowls, 6-8 weaning spoons, 4-6 plastic bibs and 2-4 sippy cups. During stages 2 and 3 weaning, you will need an additional 6-8 utensil sets which include a fork and a larger spoon, 4-6 plates, and 4-6 cups more designed for toddlers. You can adjust the quantity of each up or down depending on how often you wash you dishes and how much storage space you have in your kitchen. We highly recommend products that will make weaning as efficient and clean as possible, especially if you are doing baby-led weaning. Suction bowls which will attach to your highchair tray are highly useful in keeping your baby from throwing her food all over the floor, while plates and bowls with lids that snap on are useful for storing leftovers or taking with you on the go. Utensils should be designed so they are easy for small hands to grasp and easy for babies to get food from bowl to mouth with minimal spillage – plastic, non-slip edges are useful in preventing them from rolling onto the floor.
Plastic bibs are much better than cotton bibs as they can easily be wiped clean used at the next meal time. We absolutely love “smock” bibs which cover your baby’s entire torso – they protect your baby’s clothes at mealtimes, and can also be used when your child is painting, drawing or helping out in the kitchen.
Particularly in the first year, many parents cook their own baby foods rather than using store bought options to ensure a varied diet of interesting, highly nutritious foods is introduced at appropriate stages and that foods do not contain any added salt or sugar. If you plan to do this, we recommend cooking in large quantities and then freezing your purees and foods in storage pots which can be easily defrosted and represent approximately one serving of food. We recommend about 10-20 smaller pots and 20-40 larger pots (1-2 servings of food) depending on whether you plan to cook all of baby’s food yourself, and how often you plan to do it.
Baby food steamer and blender combination appliances make it super easy even for those inexperienced in the kitchen to create healthy, nutritious meals for your baby in minutes. Steaming is the best way to preserve vitamins and minerals in food – just pop in your chosen mix of fruit, vegetables, meat or fish; steam for a few minutes; and switch straight to blend mode to achieve your desired food texture and consistency – purees for very young babies or more lumps and chewable pieces for older babies.
In Stage 1 weaning, you will start by offering very simple baby rice and then introducing single fruits and vegetables one-by-one to ensure no allergic reaction before moving onto more complex recipes, proteins and more. While many parents choose to make their own baby purees, you will almost certainly need to buy baby rice and baby porridge from the store. There are also a number of baby food brands loved by parents for guaranteeing all natural ingredients and no added preservatives all while coming in easy to use containers or pouches – Ella’s Kitchen and Hipp being popular favourites. Even if you do make all your own baby food, it is good to have some back up store bought options in the cupboard or your changing bag for emergencies.