First of all, you will not prevent a mess starting solids this way, so my title is a big fat lie. Just forget about it. You can, however, diminish it just a little.
But it’s messy. Plain and simple. For its ease in meal planning, it is just as difficult in the cleanup arena. Just look at this…
So far, here’s what I’ve learned…
1. Put an old tablecloth under the highchair. It helps to have more than one. This serves to keep you from mopping up 3 times a day, but it also helps to keep you from wasting every bit of that fresh mozzarella you just paid $8 for.
2. Long-sleeve bibs are life savers. In England, apparently, you can find these everywhere and they are made of some type of cloth. They look better than the ones I’ve found online (because I can’t find them in stores). I bought Bumpkins brand and Kushies. Sugarpie is so tiny that the Kushies fits her better right now. I throw them all in the washer and dryer. These are great for the mid-day meals and eating out because Sugarpie doesn’t go straight to the bath. I let her eat a plum with a regular bib and was very tempted to hose her down in the yard. Here’s a link to find them on Amazon.
3. Remove the tray BEFORE you wipe down their hands. As soon as you clean those tiny fingers, one by one, they are guaranteed to go right back to smearing around the hummus in the 2 seconds it takes you to get the tray unclasped.
4. I bought a cheap pack of thin baby washcloths that I use exclusively for clean up. I start with her face, then her hands, her feet (and sometimes legs). I do a preliminary wipe of the footrest, then I rinse the cloth and wipe the chair once more. It goes into the washer with the rest of the day’s casualties.
The alternative here is to get very stressed out about keeping everything clean and preventing messes altogether during mealtime by tying their hands to chair and feeding them yourself. While I’m exaggerating just a tad, I find this not only impractical, but lacking in any kind of fun whatsoever. I want little Georgia to approach food with a spirit of excitement and adventure, just like Mommy and Daddy. So far, so good.
Any other tips are welcome! Just leave a comment, I would love to hear it.
For now, I’m off to clean up…