The ABCs of Baby Led Weaning
So, you’ve decided to start your little one on solid foods. Congratulations! This is a big milestone for both you and your baby. And, as with everything else when it comes to parenting, there are a million different ways to do it. You can go the traditional spoon-feeding route. Or, you can try something different like baby-led weaning. But what is baby-led weaning? In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about baby led weaning, from its origins to the reasons for parents to choose this method. We’ll also give you some helpful tips on how to get started.
We will also cover why this method is great but not necessarly better than traditional spoon-feeding and a combo feeding including both BLW and purees is actually the perfect approach to feeding.
Let’s take a look…
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby led weaning is a method of introducing solid foods to your baby that is based on the premise that babies are able to self-feed from around 6 months old. This means that instead of spoon-feeding your baby purees, you would offer them finger foods that they can pick up and eat themselves. Baby led weaning has become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more parents are looking for ways to give their babies a head start in learning how to eat solid foods.
Why Should I Start Baby Led Weaning?
There are many reasons why parents choose to start BLW with their child. One of the main reasons is that it allows babies to develop their own ability to regulate how much they eat. This can be helpful in later life when it comes to developing healthier eating habits. Additionally, baby led weaning has been shown to reduce the risk of developing obesity later in life. Another advantage of this method is that it can help your baby develop their fine motor skills as they learn to pick up small pieces of food. Lastly, many parents find that baby led weaning is just easier than spoon-feeding! Who doesn’t love one less thing to worry about?
What Age Is Best?
The best age to start baby led weaning is around 6 months old. This is when babies have typically developed the ability to sit upright unassisted and have good head control. It is also around the time when babies start to show an interest in what others are eating. Some parents choose to wait until their baby is a little older (around 8 or 9 months old) because they feel more comfortable, it is your choice! But don’t delay the introduction of finger foods past 9 to 10 months. If you feel like your child is ready earlier, go for it! Starting too early however is not recommended as you want to ensure that your baby met all the signs of readiness before starting.
Tips for Getting Started
Now that you know all about baby led weaning, you’re probably wondering how exactly you get started. Here are some helpful tips:
– Make sure baby has met the signs of readiness before getting started
– Get the right feeding gear to feel comfortable in the process
– Plan to introduce water at the same time
– Start with soft fruits and vegetables that can be easily mashed with fingers. Finger shaped foods are easier for babies to pick up and eat.
– Stop the meal when baby is not interested in the food anymore, follow the cues. One of the biggest reason to do BLW is to let your baby be in control of what they eat. You’ll see, it is pretty obvious when they are done!
– Be patient! It takes time for babies to learn how to eat solid foods using this method. Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t seem interested at first or if they only eat a little bit. They will eventually catch on! You can take a break for a little bit and try again. Offer them a variety of food options and they will eventually figure it out.
Best first Foods for Baby Led Weaning
A few rules to observe when serving food BLW style:
– Shape should be “stick” or “finger-shaped” as babies will hold the piece with their whole hand.
– Texture should be soft so that baby can squish the food with hand or mouth
– Any hard fruits or vegetables should be cooked until soft
– Any naturally soft fruits and vegetables can be offered raw as long as it is ripe and cut safely
When doing BLW, it is important to observe this rules to stay safe (study) and some food will be easier to manipulate than others. Here are some of Bébé Foodie’s favorite first foods to offer with the BLW method include:
– Steamed broccoli
– Roasted or steamed zucchini
– Avocado slices
– Steamed carrots
– Baked cauliflower
– Boiled squash or sweet potato
– Watermelon, finger-shaped
– Banana, quartered along the lenght
– Steamed apples or pears
– Egg omelette
– Flaked white fish
– Soft cooked chicken
Foods to avoid when doing Baby Led Weaning
In order to stay safe when doing BLW, plan to steer clear of:
– Hard foods that could be a choking hazard, such as whole grapes, chunks of meat or cheese, popcorn, raw apple, whole nuts etc.
-Anything sticky or crunchy that can stay stuck like crackers, or a big spoonful or nut butter.
– In general added salt for any babies until after 12-18 months old
– Cow’s milk until after 12 months old
– Honey until after 12 months old to avoid bolutism
– Stringy food like green beans or anything with a rough skin that can provoke baby to gag. Hold until 9-10 months old or when baby is more agile with finger foods and chewing properly.
We hope this guide has been helpful in getting you started with baby led weaning! Just remember – every baby is different and will progress at their own pace. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy the journey!