Montessori Weaning Tables
The Montessori method of weaning is tailored towards the child. As with everything that is Montessori, the environment in which the child exists should be comfortable and encourage independence. This is why a weaning table is perfectly sized for very young children. It gives them a place to transition from relying solely on a bottle or breast to trying out solids and making steps toward becoming an independent human being. This transition usually happens around six months of age. At this point the child is old enough to sit up and move with enough coordination to get at least a little food in his/her mouth.
It is important to give a child this place of transition so they feel at ease with the transition and comfortable in their new environment. It needs to be fun. High chairs are like little food prisons that restrict movement and really only serve the purpose of preventing a mess while baby eats. Instead, the child needs to learn to enjoy meal time and replicate the actions he or she has been watching mommy and daddy do since birth.
A weaning table has lots of benefits too. They encourage more sibling interaction. If you have more than one child, promote early development of table manners, allow little ones to set their own place and learn how dinner rituals progress.
Of course, with benefits come downside. the biggest downside is mess. Having an infant sit on their own will undoubtedly cause loads more of a mess than a high chair. It will also be more of a hassle for the parents as the child is not sitting next to them at the table. But, we aren't doing Montessori for ourselves, we are doing it for our kids and that means sacrifice. Sacrifice that will pay huge dividends in your child's life.
So, what do you need to be prepared for Montessori style weaning? Here is a list
There are lots of options out there on weaning tables and I would say you can't really go wrong, but there are a couple options I am fond of.
- First. A DIY approach. You can get these legs from amazon and a small piece of plywood from from your local hardware store and make it yourself. You can finish the top and legs with this finish, which is completely kid safe and have something functional for relatively cheap.
- Second. A turnkey approach. This all natural wooden cube chair set will fit the bill perfectly and will wind up having tons of other uses. We love this set because all of the corners are rounded for safety, it is made of solid hard wood and the seat height can be flipped from 6" to 10"
2. Plates and bowls.
We know you probably have tons of plates and bowls lying around, but some are better than others for weaning. We want them to be chew proof, non-toxic, and as natural of a product as possible. That is why we love this set. It has three compartments for separation of foods, comes with a fork and spoon and is completely natural.
This cup made by OXO is fantastic for little hands and small enough that if spilled will not cause a huge mess. It is made of BPA and Phthalate free Tritan so you can be confident it will not cause harm to your little one.
There are lots of tutorials available on how to make a Montessori placemat. It is super easy. Get a sheet of printer paper and trace the outlines of each object (plate, cup, sliverware) on the paper in the correct place. Then, just laminate it with a machine like this. Voila! easy.
When you start weaning, place the food on the spoon or fork for your child and let them learn to feed themselves with the utensils. The object is to develop the hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills to help them do this task independently. It is about the order and life-skills as much as it is about consuming the food. But, keep in mind that baby may be hungry and forcibly slowing things down may become frustrating. So, read your child and approach weaning with an open mind.
Thanks for reading!