Nourishing and nurturing your little one from newborn to toddler is a rewarding, frustrating and messy business! From breast pumps to highchairs, we'll help you make informed decisions about feeding and weaning (no promises about the mess though…)
Be led by your baby on this – there's a lot of choice including different shapes and flow rates, so it's best to try a few and find out what your baby takes to best. The ideal teat however tends to be defined by your baby's age – start with the smallest size for newborns and graduate as baby grows. It really is a case of baby knows best…
If you're bottle feeding, you'll need to invest in a steriliser. Choose either microwave or electric, both of which are super-fast and incredibly efficient, sterilising a number of bottles in minutes. A cold water steriliser is another option; ideal if you're on holiday or on the move, just drop the steriliser tablet into cold water and about 30 minutes later you have clean bottles. A bottle rack can help keep your draining board organised, and a bottle brush will make washing those endless bottles a little less painful. Finally, a milk powder dispenser and portable bottle carrier are great when you're on the go.
Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby, but that doesn't mean you'll get the hang of it as soon as your little bundle arrives. It can be pretty tricky to master at first, so the most important lesson to learn is to ask for help. There are lots of local support groups, as well as national groups such as the NCT and La Leche League. Your midwife and Health Visitor will also be there to give a helping hand until it becomes second nature to you and your baby.
Being on-demand 24 hours a day to satisfy your little one's needs can be quite daunting. But don't worry – expressing your milk using a breast pump can give you a break, as well as giving your partner or relatives the chance to share in the joy of feeding. Choose between an electric pump (more expensive but more efficient) and a manual one (better value and for more occasional expressing). Check out our reviews to find out which one is best for you and watch our midwife's video advice on common breastfeeding problems.
Sit your baby at the table with you at around 6 months old, and you'll soon see when they start to show an interest in the food you're eating. Weaning is the stage when babies' nutritional needs start to exceed that of milk, and they eventually get all their calories from food and drinks. They'll need to get used to chewing, swallowing and digesting foods, and to experience a variety of tastes and textures. Your Health Visitor will be able to help you every step of the way along this exciting journey. And don't forget the bibs (you're going to need plenty of them…). For the lowdown on weaning read advice from our nutritionist Stephanie.
Your choice will probably come down to aesthetics and available space. A wooden highchair is a stylish option, lasting into childhood and beyond. Short on space? A folding highchair is the best bet, tidying neatly away when not in use. If you're still unsure, our customer reviews are a great place to start narrowing down your choices.
Recline settings and removable trays are useful features, making mealtimes a little easier to manage as you dodge the flying peas! Highchairs with an adjustable height setting are also a great buy so you can keep little one at sofa, table or breakfast bar level.
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