The essentials for weaning are dependent on the type of weaning you are doing. Many of the parents I see combination feed, so this list is based on my personal experience and the experience of the hundreds of mums that have done our weaning workshops. If you're doing baby-led weaning, you will need all the same equipment apart from the blender.
What you really need to start weaning your baby
Get your basics right the first time and you will save a lot of time and energy. You will need a high chair, bibs, bowls and plates, spoons, cups, hand blender and patience. Below is a list of what you will need, as well as my top recommendations.
To be honest, you can't beat the cheap and cheerful IKEA Antilop high chair. They last really well. I picked up a second-hand one and just had to buy the blow-up insert for when my little ones were small!
Top tip: If you’re buying from IKEA, don't forget to pick up the insert too (I have so many mum friends who have done just that!). You can also buy the IKEA high chair straight from Amazon now. It's slightly more expensive, but think of how much you will save by NOT going to IKEA!
I have just started using a Nibble and Rest footrest - I’m finding it a simple addition that improves posture, and Cheeky Wipes washable baby wipes are fantastic eco-friendly option for keeping your baby and high chair clean.
All you need is something to cover your small one’s clothes. I actually have different bibs for different meals. If I am spoon-feeding, we just use a fabric bib. If we are eating something hard and not too messy (like a sandwich), we use a bib with a well that catches any dropped food. For most meals - especially the messy ones - we love our Bibado bibs. They are a great coverall bib, that is waterproof and saves so much time for not having too much baby to wash!
Top tip: If you don't want to fork out for a coverall, if you are having a messy meal you can use a bib and place a muslin on their knee, it makes a little bit of extra washing but keeps their clothes clean.
I see lots of people making really pretty meals on Bamboo plates. Colourful and interactive plating is a great way to encourage your smalls to get stuck into their meals. And the fact they're eco-friendly is great too. Don’t forget though, not all meals need to look like a gourmet meal, most of it will end up on the floor!
If you’re on a budget, I got a selection of cheap (BPA free) plates from my local supermarket which I find easy as they don't have the sections that need filling.
We like to use the cheap and cheerful ones from the supermarket, although the ones we use the most are the Tommee Tippee long-handled ones. Their soft spoon end makes catching bits from faces easier. They are great for you for feeding your little one, but when your baby is learning to feed themselves, the baby sets that DODDL do are great for small hands - they’re designed to help them.
Top tip: Tommee Tippee also have spoons that have a heat sensor, so you can ensure you are not going to give your baby food that is too hot. You can get your own here from Amazon.
We have just started Liberty with 'proper' cutlery and we are loving the Doddl set, is it ergonomically designed and fabulous for small hands. Use code YBYF for a 10% discount from the DODDL website or buy direct from our weaning shop.
I use two different types of cup, both of which I would recommend. The Tommee Tippee free flow cups are great and you can pick them up from around £1.50 (much cheaper from Aldi/Home Bargains than from Amazon! We also love a slanted Doidy cup, which has really helped her drinking skills (from nine months, Liberty could drink from a glass on her own, but be extra careful leaving drinks around!).
Top tip: In our workshops, we cover what cups to use and why, including the fact that you can just go straight to an actual cup!
If you are making purées, you can go all out and buy an all-singing, all-dancing blender, chopper and steamer. But in my opinion, a cheap hand blender does just the same job and can also be used for longer than your weaning journey. I have found that other types of blender make the food too thin and don't give you the control a stick blender does.
Top tip: I prefer a hand blender that splits into two, so if you need to do something in the middle of blending it doesn't fall over and is much easier to clean up afterwards. There are lots of options on Amazon and most supermarkets sell them. You can even get them with alternative attachments, such as a whisk or herb chopper.
Unfortunately, I have no recommendation of where you can buy the patience you need!
Top tip: Consider from the start that weaning is a slow process. Some babies take longer than others and some are messier than others, it will make it easier to take it in your stride. An understanding of weaning and what to expect from your baby can also help with your patience. A weaning course is really helpful in preparing you for this.
Yorkshire Born Yorkshire Fed delivers weaning workshops covering everything you need to know about introducing solid food to your little pudding. Our sessions now run on Zoom, so are accessible to everyone for just £25. As a thank you for taking the time to read this, you can use the code ‘blog’ for a 10% discount!