Baby led weaning (BLW) is pretty awesome.  No jars or spoons, and your baby discovers the food your family loves at his own pace! They also learn to enjoy food while playing in it.

But, BLW is messy.

Here are a few tips for containing the mess and keeping it simple.

  • Eat in the nude.  Well, in just a diaper.  Babies skin is a lot easier to clean than stains on clothes, so when possible, let baby explore her food without clothes. This saves the clothes and makes it a lot easier to clean up the kiddo when they are done.
  • Buy good bibs.  Don’t bother with those tiny, terry cloth teething diapers.  You need something waterproof with a pocket.  Make sure it is washable in a method you will actually follow through with on a daily basis.  Some people make their own bibs that cover baby wrist to ankle, while others use an oversize tee-shirt.
  • Use wash cloths.  We love baby wipes, but I just am not comfortable using five of them for a single meal.  Invest in some strong, soft wash clothes.  Don’t bother with cute designs because they are going to get stained.  Have enough to use at each meal.
  • Look down.  What is your floor like?  Do you have carpeting, or flooring with lots of groves?  Do you want to clean that every day?  Consider getting a hard plastic covering for under your baby’s high chair or sacrifice a few towels during meals under the chair so you can quickly pick it up, shake it out in the trash and either reuse it or put it in the wash.
  • Washable highchair.  If you don’t already have a high chair, make easy cleaning a priority in your choice.  Look for straps and covers that can be fully removed for washing.  A tray that fits in the dishwasher is also a plus.
  • Sweep it up.  Consider buying a sweeper like used in restaurants that can handle foods like rice, cereal pieces, and wet peaches.  A sweeper is easier than a broom because it doesn’t require a dustpan and the pivoting head fits under the table better.  Also, a sweeper is easier than lugging out the vacuum.
  • Plan ahead.  Don’t have super messy meals when you aren’t going to have time to clean it up or when your fussy relatives are visiting.  Also, take advantage of eating outdoors where you can leave the crumbs where they fall.
  • Go outside. If you’re going to have something super yummy like watermelon, go outside. Why not?

Krista adds:

Don’t sweat it. You’re going to think you’ve gone insane for about the first three minutes and then you’ll realize how cute they are with food in their hair and all of the anxiety and peas in the carpet just seems to disappear. Just go with it mama.