Why making a mess during weaning is good, in partnership with Mamamade
I’m Sophie, a New Yorker in London, mother of 2 and founder of Mamamade – we’re a direct-to-consumer brand specialising in infant and toddler nutrition, with a focus on supporting parents. What started from my home kitchen in 2019 is now a community of over 50,000 – all of us sharing the highs and lows and offering a listening ear for everything life throws at us.
Believe me, I totally get it - the fear of the mess during weaning. It’s a source of anxiety for many, and a question I get a lot is, ‘how can I make weaning less messy!’
I’m sorry to say - the mess is not only normal and not only expected - but is actually beneficial!
I know, I know - cleaning a kitchen over and over again is hardly fun (although thank you, Nimble, for making it so easy and non-toxic!) - but it does get better over time, and it really is so good for them.
Hopefully, the below advice will help make it all much easier to stomach:
1. The best way to learn
When we talk about weaning, we’re talking about helping our babies learn the very complex skill of chewing and eating independently. In order to learn how to do that, they have to experience a wide variety of foods - that means lots of different tastes, colours, and textures.
As a result, weaning can be at times overwhelming or frustrating for some babies, but making a mess can help them build confidence around new foods. By touching and playing with food with their hands, and exploring all the sensory elements of eating, babies learn a lot, very quickly.
In fact, a child who is prevented from making a mess - that is, a baby not given the time to feel food squished and smeared all over their face and hands - risks becoming fussier around new or different foods. That’s not to say a baby needs to make a mess - but letting babies explore is really the key, so as parents we need to find the inner peace to tolerate it!
Don’t worry, I’ve got more tips on handling that below.
2. Builds independence
Part of the goal of weaning is to raise independent eaters - so from the earliest days (when weaning is started from 6 months), it’s important to give your baby opportunities to exert some independence - like handling their food on their own (even if it makes a huge mess!).
By allowing your baby some independence, it allows them to feel respected and heard - which builds confidence, resilience, and reduces the risk of fussy eating.
The mess will get better as their coordination improves, I promise!
3. Top tips to cope
I totally get it - mess can be triggering, overwhelming, gross, - any number of negative things. It can feel like yet another thing to have to do on a long list of things to do.
So here are my top tips to cope:
- Arm yourself with good wipes and cleaning supplies. We’re huge fans of Nimble Sticky Stopper! Reusable wipes like cheeky wipes can be fab for cleanup - just throw them in the washing machine and they’re good to go for the next meal.
- Remind yourself that you really only need to clean your baby once, at the end of the meal. Constant cleaning can contribute to the feeling of frustration or irritation with the mess - for you and for baby!
- Eat with your baby - watching you eat and model how to bring food to your mouth and chew can help them grasp these new concepts quicker
- Invest in a good bib, or let them eat in nothing but a nappy. Depends on whether you find clothing or skin easier to wash ;)
- Get them using cutlery young - we’re massive fans of doddl! This can help build their coordination skills, meaning more food gets in their mouth and less everywhere else!
Mess can feel overwhelming, but it’s usually a short-lived stage within the weaning journey. As your little one learns about different textures and tastes, they’ll gain the coordination they need to eat more neatly.
It’s all a learning process!
Just about to start your weaning journey or are in the thick of it? Mamamade are here to help with 100% organic, nutritious and delicious baby and toddler meals delivered frozen to your door.
Don't miss out! Use code 10NIMBLE for £10 off your first box at mamamadefood.com.
Thanks so much again for this awesome article Sophie, we can't wait for you to try their delicious food.
Want to know more? or got some questions? just comment below or head to their website here.