Baby Led Weaning Mess: How to Deal With the Clean Up

Dexter wearing a pink plastic bib, sat in his joie mimzy snacker highchair with food all over the tray

One thing that puts so many Mums off baby led weaning is the mess. It’s true that this method of weaning does create a little bit more work than traditional weaning, but somehow baby led weaning mess is all part of the charm!

Luckily I’m here with some top tips on how to drastically reduce baby led weaning mess, including some must buy products to make your life super easy!

Baby Led Weaning Mess – What’s the Deal?

When you offer food to your baby and let them crack on with feeding themselves, you will inevitably end up with quite a lot of food on the floor, smeared down your baby’s front and you’ll even find crumbs and sauce in their hair and behind their ears!

That’s not to say traditional weaning isn’t messy – even with spoon feeding your baby can end up looking like they took a bath in a yoghurt – but somehow baby led weaning gets a worse rap.

When I weaned our first baby – Dexter – I must admit the mess did get me down, especially when he went onto three meals a day. I felt like all I did was prepare food and then spend ages cleaning him and the dining room up, before having to start thinking about the next meal.

Luckily, when it came to weaning our second child Felix, I had learnt every trick in the book!

Top Tips for Avoiding Baby Led Weaning Mess

When it comes to dealing with baby led weaning mess, you can let it stress you out or you can deal with it. It’s much easier if you choose the latter option.

Related Post: 21 Baby Led Weaning Lunch Ideas

This messy phase won’t last forever – trust me. Before you know it, they’ll be fully functioning toddlers able to use cutlery and feed themselves without so much as a stain on their top! Until then, these useful tips should help.

Felix enjoying the tuna pasta salad for babies - feeding himself with a fork

Let Baby Eat on a Tiled or Laminate Floor

Setting up baby’s highchair on a laminate floor will make clean up much easier than if you place the highchair on a carpeted area.

Have a brush, dustpan and mop handy and wait until baby finishes before you start operation clean up.

You are only making more work for yourself of you try to clean as baby eats!

Let the Dog Clean Up for You!

So many Mums with furbabies have told me how much easier life is with a dog to clean up all the food that’s been dropped on the floor. If you’ve got a dog – let him loose. But beware of a fun game babies like to play called, Drop Food off the Highchair on Purpose to Feed the Dog!

Use a Highchair with a Huge, Wipeable Tray

Highchairs that are easy to clean are EVERYTHING when it comes to baby led weaning.

A huge tray will stop food landing on the floor and also negates the need for plates and bowls to clean.

Bonus points if the tray is detachable and can be thrown in the dishwasher like the IKEA Antilop or Joie Mimzy Snacker. Super easy!

Dex sat on his joie mimzy snacker high chair putting his hand to his mouth

Invest in the right products to make life super easy

There are tons of products on the market to deal with baby led weaning mess. Some are incredible, some not so good. We truly couldn’t have lived without:

BIBaDo Coverall Bib

The BIBaDo was a godsend after weeks of changing Dexter’s clothes three or four times a day or throwing him in the bath after messy meals like spaghetti Bolognese.

The BIBaDo catches all the food that is dropped which you can easily chuck in the bin at the end and is also waterproof so you can easily wipe it down after mealtimes.

Simply wipe down and hang on the line to dry until the next meal time.

You can read our full BIBaDo review here or buy your own here*.

A Silicone Catch All Bib

These catch all bibs work wonders in conjunction with a long sleeve bib such as the BIBaDO to catch food.

My favourite bit is watching baby pick out all the yummy bits he lost to the bib towards the end of the meal!

We like this one by Tommee Tippee*.

Sticky Plates and Bowls

If you insist on having plates or bowls (in my opinion, not really necessary if you’ve got a great big tray!) then try suction plates and bowls so that they stick to the tray / table.

Tuna pasta salad for babies - a simple toddler lunchtime recipe

Some work better than others. We really rate the Bamboo Bamboo range* which have lasted us for years and years as the boys have grown and can be used with or without the suction.

We have also had these Nuby suction plate* since Dex was a baby which works great on table tops.

A Floor Mat

No dog? A floor mat can help catch all the mess that ends up on the floor for you to throw straight in the bin!

We like this cute splash mat*

Mini Dyson

I could not live without my mini Dyson which has been incredible for picking up all those teeny bits of food. Word to the wise – empty it out regularly before the food turns to mould – yep I have been there!

Check out my review of the Dyson V8 below:

I hope this has been useful in helping you get over your fear of baby led weaning mess. For me the mess is part and parcel of the weaning process and although it can feel a little frustrating on some days, when the housework is getting on top of you or your baby isn’t sleeping, it won’t last forever.

As growing boys of four and nearly two, they barely drop a thing now!

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