I mentioned in my last post that one of the main reason I hear from other parents about why they don’t want to try Baby Led Weaning is that it’s just too messy. Well, the truth is, it can be very messy, and furthermore, I don’t really mind that about it! But my husband minds, and I love him so I try to maintain some semblance of order in our home – or at least keep the nasty things mostly picked up. I hope you’ll find these tips useful whether or not you practice BLW.
♥ Tip No.1 – Buy a cheap plastic curtain
When we first started introducing solid foods, I bought a cheap plastic shower curtain, cut it into 4 pieces, and stuck a piece of it under our daughter’s high chair. Honestly, I don’t remember whether this was to protect the floor from her food, or to have the food fall somewhere clean so that we could hand it back to her for another taste. At the end of the meal we could easily pick up the food that had fallen and rinse the plastic piece in the sink.
♥ Tip No.2 – Get your broom and dustpan
Another tool we have is a tiny broom and dustpan that we keep especially for sweeping up icky food from the floor. Having a dustpan that can be used for wet-ish things puts my mind at ease. I don’t have to worry about if the brush gets dirty because I know that I have a clean brush set aside for the less-gross dirt piles – and now you probably think I’m a bit of a weirdo, but we all have our “thing,” right?
♥ Tip No.3 – Let your child sweep
Speaking of the dustpan, sometimes my daughter (now nearly 2 and a half years) likes to throw her food on the floor on purpose. I think she heard that I have low blood pressure, so she likes to “help me out” with this by making a huge mess if I look too relaxed while we’re eating together. Since asking her kindly to stop throwing food has proved to be ineffective, I’ve taken to handing her the broom and dustpan and making her sweep up after herself. It takes her at least twice as long as it would take me to do it alone, but it gets us both laughing and smiling again (usually).
♥ Tip No.4 – Get as many rags as possible
In addition to the dustpan, I also have a stack of rags for wiping faces, hands, high chairs, and the floor. I have enough that I can use one after each meal, and just toss it in the laundry to wash and use again later. For stuff that’s really stuck on the high chair or floor, we use some universal cleaning wipes that you can find at most grocery stores.
♥ Tip No.5 – Bibs or backup shirt
One thing I wish I had done more consistently, and you might find the idea helpful, is to have a separate shirt that’s worn when eating particularly messy foods. Or just use a bib. I don’t know why we have at least 4 bibs at our house, hanging off our dining room chairs, and we just about never use them. I am a laundry glutton, I guess.
♥ Tip No.6 – Stain removal
Speaking of laundry, if you find your kid made a huge mess on their nice clothes, don’t delay to soak that thing immediately before the stain sets. You probably know that already. But if you’re like me, you might sometimes get so focused on trying to take every situation with an attitude of ease that you neglect the urgency of stain removal. When I’m not sure how to work a stain out of something, I look it up on this very helpful stain removal guide.
♥ Tip No.7 – Clean up
Lastly, something that really helped me out with cleaning was to learn what foods are best to clean up immediately, and what foods should sit on the floor to dry out for a little bit. For example, oatmeal and smoothies both should be wiped off all surfaces immediately because they’re as hard as plaster when they dry. On the other hand, scrambled eggs, grated cheese, and sticky rice will smear if you sweep them up too soon. So if you don’t want to mop after you sweep, I recommend you leave them for 30 minutes or so, after they dry out a little they can be swept up easily.