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Equipment for feeding Henry

Using a baby-led weaning approach to let Henry feed himself has not required a large investment of products, but a few items are essential to make this endeavor successful. Here are some of my favorites:

High chair with tray
We have been very pleased with the Chicco 360 Degree Rotating Hook On Chair. It easily and securely attaches to the table without taking up any floor space. The compact size of the clip-on chair is convenient for our small dinette, going out to eat, or traveling. The rimmed tray keeps Henry’s food within easy reach, except for what he drops on the floor. The tray is also detachable so it’s easy to clean. I like the rotating seat feature. I can spin Henry around to face the kitchen and he enjoys watching me cook.

The clip-on high chair requires a sturdy table that does not have the potential for tipping over due to the added weight of a child. Alternatively, you could use a stand-alone high chair.
The tray on Henry's high chair keeps food within his reach and a bib catches the mess.
Bibs
I frequently forget to put a bib on Henry but I always regret it later. Like all kids his age, he is a messy eater. Bibs help to catch a good portion of the shrapnel. For juicy foods like fruit, I prefer cloth bibs. They help soak up the extra liquid. For drier foods, a plastic bib with a built-in pocket works well for catching crumbs.

Do check that all your bibs can be safely put in the washing machine or dish washer for cleaning. I am not sure why this is not a standard feature for bibs, but it definitely should be.

Splash mats
Henry routinely drops food on the floor. It is inevitable. I can’t stop it, but I can make cleaning up easier by putting down a splash mat under his high chair. I have seen pieces of fabric marketed as “splash mats” but you don’t really need something fancy. Depending on what is at-hand, I have used an outdoor tablecloth, large beach towel, or blanket. Again, be sure to check the cleaning instructions for your outdoor tablecloth; we had one that disintegrated in the washing machine.
Henry plays on his splash mat while I prepare a meal.
Sometimes while preparing a meal, I set Henry down on the floor to play on the splash mat. He gets to practice his rolling over skills with a little extra cushion. When our food is ready, I move him to his high chair and I don’t have to worry about what is landing on the floor. Once our meal is over, I just fold up the splash mat and toss it in the wash.

Kitchen towels
I’d recommend stocking up on absorbent dish towels (or paper towels) and keeping them in a convenient location. As I mentioned, Henry is a messy eater. Multiple towels are required for cleaning up. When Henry is finished eating, we wipe his hands and face with a towel. Then we give his hands a rinse at the kitchen sink and dry them with another towel. We also wipe down his high chair and the table.
Henry sits in his rotating high chair and watches me slice sweet potatoes with a food mandolin.
Food mandolin
A food mandolin is not essential for feeding your child, but it is convenient for getting started with baby-led weaning. I can quickly slice a large quantity of vegetables into chip shapes. This form is simple for Henry’s little hands to pick up and eat.

What are your must-have items for feeding your baby?

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