Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life in the Pink Tower: Weaning Table

  A weaning table could be  considered the Montessori high chair.  It is where baby sits for her first meals.  I received this as a shower gift for Ruth nearly 14 years ago and all our girls have used it.  Dotty is now sitting up which is one way I know she is ready for her turn with the table.  The table is just the right size and the chair,  a cube chair, has three high sides to help her balance.  I sit across from her to feed her.  We begin with a bowl of Earth's Best apples.  It is a good idea to give baby a spoon to grasp herself while you feed her with another.  It is messy because I do not restrain her hands- although I do keep a tight hold of the bowl.  Ideally the table would be set with a placemat and napkin but I won't introduce those for a few months.  Today I let her feed herself by putting a couple of crackers on the table.  I still sat with her and helped her with the water.  I put very little water in a saki cup, most of it is dribbled -but she loves it!  The girls have learned very early to drink from a cup rather than a sippy.  (We do use sippy's on walks or in the car.)  I try to avoid plastic dishes of any kind to avoid chemicals, but that said I do a have a couple in our rotation.
I am not trying to rush her into a cup but rather respect her desire to imitate what she sees modeled by her family.  I do not think children should be 'pushed' to achieve anything, instead I observe and watch for her readiness.  It is often sooner than expected.  I also think not introducing something when baby is ready for it because 'the books' say 6 months, or whatever, is just as bad.  You know your baby best.  Mine always want to eat around 4 mos.  (Dotty also already has 8 teeth.)
We also have a traditional high chair.  I have used it since the beginning because it fully reclines.  I highly recommend one that does.  It serves the same purpose as a bouncy seat, only I prefer not to have one of those in the kitchen for safety reasons.  If I put it on the floor I worry something may spill on her or if it is on the table I worry another child might pull it down unintentionally.   I don't really use the high chair tray.  I like to pull the high chair right up to the table when the family is eating.  We share with her what we can. (Right now that means a green bean, oatmeal and crackers.)  I also have a small wooden restaurant style high chair that we will use at the table, because I am anxious to get the big plastic one out of the kitchen.
  The last point I would like to touch on is the freedom allowed with the weaning table.  There aren't any straps or buckles.  Baby can make up her mind when she is finished or let me know she would like to eat by climbing into her chair.  She only gets to eat when sitting.  A lot of times parents have the problem once a child moves out of their high chair that the child will not stay seated for a meal.  Giving the child this freedom from the start eliminates this issue.  Food throwing can also be an obstacle for parents when their child is in a high chair.  This can be because the child has no other way to communicate they are done or is forced to stay in their high chair for too long.
  I am very excited we have the table in use once again.  That said I am not a purist and like I said I balance between high chair and weaning table.   As always remember YOU know your baby best!


  1. She looks so proud to be sitting up there!

  2. I love learning things about children while reading your blog. I don't have any, but you have some really awsesome info!

  3. I've never seen a table like that, but it looks very practical. She seems to love it! I too believe in not forcing children to eat. I find that if you give them some freedom, they will eat when they are hungry and they will hapilly stay at the table because you are relaxed about it! Have a great weekend!

  4. Dotty is so adorable! That table is the best tool I have ever seen for preparing children to join the family for meals. I never knew this existed other than the small children's play table which I used for my son which wasn't nearly as practical. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have to say...Dotty is precious. I'm having a girl (my fourth child) in August and Dotty makes me quite anxious for her to come!
    I LOVE that table. I have a very similar philosophy when it come to meal times with my children, but I have never seen a table like that. How perfect! People are always impressed that my 18 month old drinks from a cup and eats at the table with utensils (mostly) but it just comes naturally to us. He wants to do what we do! You are a very smart womam ;)
    Love your blog, keep it coming!

  6. What cuties! I commend you for your mommy style! It makes me think of my days with small children, La Leche League, baking bread...ahh. Come see me at Zootsuitmama, and i'll enter you into my kitchen giveaway!


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