Whilst we cannot give you tips on how to keep food out of your baby's laps, hair or even ears, we can give you some general advice on how your baby should be from around 8 months!
From 8 months, babies can learn to feed themselves, whether it be wobbling the spoon around, using their hands (handfuls more like it!) or eating finger food. Whilst it may take longer, be messier or harder to gauge how much your baby has actually had to eat, it is super important that your little one is given the space to teach themselves how to eat – so sit back, take a deep breath and grab the camera for some 'Funniest Home Videos' moments!
Sitting in a high chair
Your baby should be sitting up well in a high chair by now. Not only does this make meal times easier for both of you but it is great to teach children to sit still when eating, primarily to reduce the risk of choking but also to help keep food mess in one place.
Food before milk
Much more importance is placed on the nutrients your baby gets from food from 8 months onwards, so it is fine now to feed them their meal before their milk feed. Still offer Breast milk or formula (after their meal) as it is still really important.
Your little one will feel oh so important sitting in their high chair at the head of the dining table! Whilst it can be a big adjustment trying to get everyone to eat together, it really is a wonderful way to reinforce the importance of healthy eating. Little ones will copy you; they like to see that you are eating too, and to eat what you are eating. If dinner is too tricky (as it no doubt is), just try to eat breakfast or lunch together first – building small everyday rituals around food will help you build a happy little eater. Don’t rush, and make it fun, not frustrating.
Let the mess begin
Whilst there are so many variances in the world of babies, one thing remains constant – the complete and utter mess when it comes to food! Your baby will invariably play with their food as they learn all about different textures and tastes, and it is great for the development to let them do so. Perhaps just put a large piece of newspaper or plastic under the high chair as it is amazing how far a piece of banana can travel! A lot easier than worrying about where every piece of food is going to end up.
Whether they be damp cloths or store bought face wipes, you will soon understand you need plenty of these on hand for wiping messy faces and fingers. Just wait to the end of the meal to clean up their grubby faces though as doing so whilst they eat might distract them from the important task at hand – eating!