Explore the senses with Sensory Weaning!

Sensory Weaning is a new term given to describe the learning experience of transitioning from milk to solid foods. Tidy Tot has worked together with award-winning Children’s Nutritionist & Baby Weaning Expert Sarah Almond Bushell to develop this new approach to weaning which involves engaging all of your baby’s senses to develop happy and confident little eaters.

While you and your baby focus on your Sensory Weaning adventure, Tidy Tot has the products you need to keep the clean-up operation quick and easy.

Our Bib & Tray Kit features a coverall bib and integrated wipe-clean tray to eliminate the gap between baby and high chair and provide the perfect platform from which your baby can explore their food.

Our Long Length Coverall Bib is the longest coverall bib on the market, providing complete protection from food and spills. Our companion Disposable Coverall Bib is the perfect partner for minimizing the mess when you’re on the go.

Sesory Weaning

Sensory Weaning

Stimulate all of baby’s senses during weaning.

How do we start our Sensory Weaning journey?

Using Senses

Texture, Smell and Taste are all important!

It doesn’t really matter which style of weaning you choose, whether it be spoon-feeding or Baby-Led Weaning — the key is to be responsive to your baby and follow their lead. You may have planned to go traditional but some babies are more independent and embrace Baby-Led Weaning, refusing the spoon entirely, others are more laid back and wouldn’t eat a thing unless it is offered on a spoon.

Whichever method you go with your little one needs to be involved, getting their hands a little messy, exploring a wide variety of different textures and understanding how food feels, sounds, smells, moves and tastes. This lies at the heart of Sensory Weaning.

Your baby is usually ready for solids at around 6 months of age. Sometimes it’s earlier, but they’re not developmentally ready before 17 weeks. If you want to check for signs of developmental readiness you can access a guide here. If your baby was born premature, or you want to start weaning before 6 months, we recommend always checking with your Pediatrician before you start.

Sensory Processes

The different sensory processes happen in different areas of the brain and the more sensory experiences your baby has the more his brain develops. Letting your little one get stuck in means that he is stimulating his brain, forming neural connections from one area to another which leads to learning new skills and behaviours.

It’s natural for babies to actively seek out this type of play but unfortunately, you can’t give a 6-month-old finger paint, a sand pit or play dough to immerse themselves in as they will just eat it, so food is your best option. Furthermore whilst playing with food – that fist covered in carrot puree? It will eventually make its way to your baby’s mouth and he will notice that it has a taste too – this becomes the very first experience of self-feeding.

The senses we focus on in Sensory Weaning are:

  • Visual (sight)
  • Tactile (touch, textures)
  • Auditory (sound)
  • Olfactory (smell)
  • Gustory (taste)
  • Proprioception (location/orientation of self in space e.g movement)
  • Vestibular (balance and orientation of self in relation to gravity)
  • Interoception (the ability to read and interpret internal bodily signal e.g feeling hunger)

Using Senses

Learning to eat is considered to be the most complex sensory task that your baby has to do in his first year of life.

How can I help & encourage my baby?

Vary Textures

Crunchy, Wet, Chewy and Creamy!

You can encourage your baby on his Sensory Weaning journey by offering all sorts of different textures including:

  • Crunchy (cereals like Cheerios),
  • Wet (yogurt and creamy foods)
  • Chewy (strip of tender beef or dark chicken meat)
  • Soft solids (pancakes, pasta, bread or cheese)
  • Avoid hard solids until your baby is good at chewing and has teeth (raw carrot sticks)

Let your baby eat with their hands, or if you’re using a spoon let them have one too and dig in!
If they end up with food all over their face and hands leave it there for the duration of the meal
Get it on your hands and raise your hands to your mouth – this shows your baby what to do. They learn best from copying you.

Leave the wipes behind – don’t clean the highchair tray mid-meal. Wait till mealtime is over, thenget cleaned up and consider letting them splash in a bowl of warm soapy water rather than reaching for the wipes! It’s ok to wipe little hands if you think they are going to put them in their eyes!

Don’t be afraid of the messy side of weaning. This is where the Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kit really helps. It uses a coverall bib with integrated tray to keep your little one’s clothes, highchair and floor pristine; allowing them to get fully emerged in their sensory weaning experience, learning all the way, but without the timely clean-up for you!