Bananas are an ideal first food for babies. They’re portable, taste good (babies have a preference for sweet flavours) and are equally easy to mash up or chew.
However bananas stain clothes. Horribly. They leave nasty black stains which are hard – impossible even – to wash out. It’s one of the many things that most parents learn the hard way.
While bananas are among the worst offenders, weaning as a whole is a messy business. Picture a baby learning to walk. They lurch from step to step (looking like a tiny drunk some might say). There is lots of falling over as they try to master this new skill. Learning to eat food is the same. It’s a big learning curve for a small person. Lots of food will end up anywhere but your baby’s mouth. Plus your baby is learning as much about the texture and smell of food as its taste, so playing around with it is a natural part of this new stage in their development. Baby led weaning is usually particularly messy.
For some parents, there is no more adorable sight than a small child with a face covered with food. For others, the smallest bit of mess around their baby’s mouth has them nervously reaching for a cloth to wipe it away. Our attitudes towards mess are shaped by who we are, which of course includes our own childhood experiences. Messy parents can beget tidy children, and vice versa, while some of us follow in our family’s footsteps in our attitudes to dirt and muddle.
Being mindful of your feelings about mess, spills and general food chaos can really help if you find yourself getting wound up about it.
The mantra ‘this too shall pass’ – which can be applied to all the tricky bits of babyhood – can also come in handy.
There are practical steps you can take to contain the mess. Bibs, towels, aprons and floor mats can all be used to keep food off your baby, you and your home (we think muslins double up brilliantly as bibs). Feeding your baby somewhere where you don’t mind (or at least mind less) about the debris can also keep your stress levels down.
If it’s going to be a really messy meal (think spaghetti bolognaise), then you could strip your baby down to their nappy and/or stick them in the bath straight after. One of our favourite DoddleHacks is getting your baby dressed after they’ve had their breakfast.