There’s no getting away from it – weaning is a messy business! Even the most relaxed parents can struggle with the chaos left behind after mealtimes – particularly when your little one is in charge of the spoon or if you’re baby led weaning…
Research shows that allowing children to explore their food using all their senses can encourage them to be less fussy and more adventurous with their food choices as they grow up but….IT CAN JUST GET SO MESSY! Luckily for most of us, the messy eating stage is just a phase and will pass in time…
Here are some tips and tricks, tried and tested by mums to help you survive those messy first few years:
When you just don’t have time for a Messy Mealtime:
- Keep mealtimes short – Typically a toddler will finish eating in 5-10 minutes. After that, they are likely to get bored and start playing with their food.
- Offer smaller portions – If your little one loves throwing food on the floor, give them smaller amounts at a time – offering more food only when they’ve finished the first bit. This will leave less food to play with
- Less sauce for toddlers – When preparing meals with sauces, give your toddler less sauce with their meal. This will make food easier to manage and limit spills and splashes
- Serve food which makes less mess – Thicker textured foods (porridge / fromage frais) are easier for little ones to handle. More neutral coloured foods such as pasta in a cheesy sauce create less visible mess and can generally be wiped clean more easily
- Distract them – Give them a wipe clean book, toy or even turn on the television whilst you’re feeding them. Turning on the television isn’t something we recommend you do on a regular basis – but it was a life saver for me on a few occasions when I just needed to get my little one fed quickly.
When you decide to let them feed themselves:
- Take a deep breath…
- Make sure you’re in the right mood and feeling relaxed – If you’re stressed at the start, watching them make a complete mess of themselves and their surroundings is not going to make for a happy mealtime!
- Plan these mealtimes in advance – Teatime is generally a good time to get mess – it’s not long until bath time and if things get really messy, you could head up for an early bath
- Choose meals which will cause less long term damage – a bowl of cheesy pasta or toasted sandwich cut into bite sized chunks are less likely to leave stains than more brightly coloured sauces (tomato and berries are particularly culprits)
- Invest in some lovely looking products to help manage the mess – We all love products which look good in our homes and on our little ones. Having some good quality products to help you cope with the mealtime mess just makes things a bit easier. Whether it’s a wipe clean tablecloth, lovely cushion for a high chair, practical mat to protect your floor or a lovely bib, they can all make you feel just a little bit more relaxed about the mess your little one is making!
- Let them eat in their nappy or vest – if the weather / your home is warm enough, stripping them down to their nappy / vest helps limit staining and adding more washing to the pile.
- Buy some good quality, chunky short handled cutlery – I’ve never been a great fan of suction plates and cups – my little ones could always pull them off eventually. However, chunky cutlery can really help your little one as they start to master eating with cutlery and ensure more goes in their little mouth rather than on the floor
- Get a dog! Very useful for helping hoover up all the bits dropped on the floor…
However hard you try, there will be mess – it’s just part of the weaning adventure and your little one growing up.
Being flexible and relaxed, knowing it’s just a another phase in your baby’s development and having some lovely looking, practical products to help you manage the mess will make surviving those messy first few years easier and happier for both of you
For more inspiration on accessories to keep your home looking lovely at messy mealtimes, please visit our website www.messy-me.com.
We’re offering Mummies Club members 15% off any orders during November. Please use the code MUMMIES17 at checkout.
*** Please never leave your child along when they are eating, to avoid choking and other potential accidents***