6-12 months: kitchen and eating
Around the time your baby turns 6 months you can begin introducing other food to her.
Start with simple tastes of sweet things like fruit, and follow your child's interest. If you're already eating healthy whole-food meals, your baby can have some of the family dinner much of the time (follow a guidebook like Feeding the Whole Family for specifics to avoid) and a collection of finger foods for lunch and snacks.
Mobile babies need a safe space to explore in the kitchen too. Keep any heavy, breakable, or sharp objects out of reach and consider other safety concerns in your space. I suggest leaving a lower cabinet or shelf available with lightweight bowls, boxes, cups, and cooking tools for endless exploration.
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Kitchen Materials for 6-12 months
Silicone Bowl and Place mat
If your child is still in the "let's dump everything out" phase, an all-in-one place mat and bowl like this one is a great solution. It removes the complexity of sliding and temptation to dump with a normal bowl.
Feeding the Whole Family
This is the best book I've found for walking through the weaning process AND offering practical recipes. The first few chapters outline common allergies to avoid, balanced whole food nutrition, tips for raising healthy eaters. I've used this book to cook for myself, and it really is a family friendly cookbook.
Once your child can pull up and stand on her own, she can "help" in the kitchen! A tool like this learning tower makes it easy to offer independence and keep your infant safe. Start by having your child watch and hold a (safe) kitchen tool, like a wooden spoon. As her hands get stronger, she can hold objects under water, taste test, and wipe the counter.
Like the other rooms in your home, your kitchen must be prepared to keep your curious mobile infant safe. Put child locks on any lower cabinet with sharp or heavy objects, cover low electrical outlets, and get a tall trashcan with a lid. We have these magnetic locks from Safety first in our home, and we love them. Easy to open and relock, and no space for little fingers to get slammed.
When your child is ready to feed herself, get a set of these training spoons. This clever design from Olababy will scoop food at various angles, stands upright for easier grabbing, has a thick stem for grasping, and is soft.
These bamboo and silicone spoons are wonderful for adult-led eating. The smaller spoon bowl fits easily into an infants mouth, and the soft silicone won't scratch or bump sensitive baby gums.
Weaning Table and Chair
A smaller table and chair offers your infant some independence in learning to eat solid foods. I suggest starting with tastes of food here, and mostly finger foods. This large and small set from NaturaBaby is so versatile. Use it first like pictured as a weaning table and chair, then flip the table for two chairs when your child grows.
Baby Food Storage
If you're making your own soft baby food from your family meals, a freezer mold like this one is super handy. You can fill just a few cups at a time, then pop them out for easy storage and reheating. The lid keeps freezer burn and other contaminants out. Note, this works for freezing breast milk too!
Bibs are a necessity as you introduce food to your infant. Look for bibs that are water-resistant but still soft and flexible, like these pictured. The bib should not get in the way of eating. I like these fabric ones best because they can be quickly wiped off or washed.