Baby’s introduction to solids is an exciting milestone, but unless they turn out to be a bit of an over-achiever, it’s also generally a much more messy one than their first steps are going to be. Messy eating can be pretty cute to start out with, but the cleanup time, and the amount of laundry it generates can start to take away from that cuteness pretty fast. The fact that letting babies get a little messy with their food is generally agreed to be a good sensory experience for exploring the world isn’t the only bright side – there are also steps you can take to help cut down on the mess altogether.
- Start small
If you start by offering Baby small portions, and then giving them more to eat if they're still hungry, it means there’s less there for them to make a mess with at any given time.
- Start self-feeding young
This may sound counterintuitive, but once Baby starts to be coordinated enough to feed themself, the sooner you start letting them work out how, the sooner they will be able to do it neatly (just prepare for some spills in the meantime).
- Take cover
Covering the floor with a splash mat, or a more unofficial version, like an old shower curtain or giant trash bag, can take a lot of stress out of the process of cleanup after the meal ends.
- Back to basics
If Baby has a habit of going through multiple outfits a day because of mealtime, and a bib just isn’t cutting it, you’ve always got the option of taking clothing out of the equation altogether. Baby’s skin is a lot quicker to clean and harder to stain than their onesie, so if you feed them lunch in nothing but that bib and a diaper, you can just whisk them from high chair to sink and hose them down to squeaky-clean in no time.
- Go dish-free
Again, it might not seem like something that would actually help, but if you put Baby’s food directly onto the tray of their high chair, even the most enthusiastic little eater will have trouble dumping their dish on the floor.