Welcome to the Fortified Family! I’m Katie Ferraro, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and mom of 7 and I specialize in baby-led weaning. I’m passionate about feeding strong families and making food fun.

BLW Mess Management 101

BLW Mess Management 101

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Although the thoughts and sentiments contained in the post are my own, I received complementary product and financial compensation from the sponsor of the post, BUMKINS.

I love a self-feeding baby as much as the next mom, but I know that many people are put off of baby-led weaning because of the mess. After gagging, dealing with the mess is probably the number one barrier to BLW I hear from parents. And while it’s not really possible - or practical - to create a totally mess-free environment, here are a few ways you can mitigate the mess with a BLW baby.


Mess Management 101

When it comes to managing mess with self-feeding, there are a few tools I think most families benefit from having access to. I recently wrote about “Managing the Mess and Minimizing Waste with Baby-Led Weaning” for the BUMKINS blog. You can read that full post here.

For starters, I think mindset is of the utmost importance when it comes to considering feeding-related mess. Feeding a baby is not SUPPOSED to be a clean endeavor, and going overboard on keeping things clean can interfere with your baby’s first experiences with eating.

Easier said than done, I know - but trying to lighten up at mealtime and have FUN with feeding vs. stressing about keeping things sanitary can make a better experience for everyone at the table.

And don’t forget that spoon-feeding isn’t an entirely clean endeavor either. My speech language pathologist feeding specialist colleagues actually recommend against constantly wiping a baby’s mouth when trying to eat as this can impede their development and even interfere with speech processes down the road.

So learn to live with a little mess…your baby is learning to eat after all, things are gonna get messy from time to time!


Splat Mat Makes the Meal

Hands down, can NOT do baby-led weaning without going crazy if you don’t have a splat mat. The BUMKINS splat mats have been favorites in our household for some time now. They’re waterproof, washable, cover a great deal of space and come in beautiful patterns that match their attractive bibs.

I would cover my whole house in BUMKINS splat mats if it were feasible. But for right now I focus on splat mats under the baby’s spaces and they do catch a good deal of the mess. This is key for recycling food too; if and when baby drops solids onto the clean splat mat, I just scoop it up and serve it again - which helps cut down on waste too.


Put Out a Plate

I used to be one of those parents who put food on a tray and then called it a day. But putting out a plate or bowl that is designed for baby-led weaning is a really good idea for not only the baby but also minimizing mess.

When it comes to plates and bowls, the silicone kind that suction to the table are my favorite - and bonus points if they’re sectioned off for portions and promoting a variety of foods at feeding time.

But having a plate is key for earlier eaters. Before babies develop their pincer grasp (usually around 8 months of age) - all they can do is rake and scoop. A plate helps facilitate that movement, whereas straight up putting food on the tray or table means all they do is move it onto the floor, instead of their mouth.


Be Wise When it Comes to Bibs

Bibs are obviously a must have when feeding babies, toddlers, husbands….jk, but really - they rock. I like bibs that are waterproof, cover most of the baby or toddler’s front like a smock and that baby can’t easily remove by the baby (or even a smart toddler :)

Baby bibs are super important - but I still use bibs well into toddlerhood if I want to preserve clothes after mealtime or minimize the mess. The BUMKINS sleeved bibs and junior bibs are great for the post-baby little guys.


Whenever we do art projects with toddlers or eat messy (outdoor :) foods like popsicles, I always go for the bigger junior or sleeved bibs and save myself some sanity when it comes to messy mealtime stuff!

Thank you to BUMKINS for sponsoring this post and for more great mess management tips check out my full post on BUMKINS’ blog here and their full line of feeding products here.

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