Baby Led Weaning

Tags: baby led weaning, resources, weaning

Section: Topics

What is baby led weaning?

  • Baby led weaning is an alternative to the traditional pureeing and spoon fed weaning.
  • It is all about letting babies explore and experiment with food by looking at it, touching and of course tasting!
  • Babies need to be around the age of 6 months when you start baby led weaning.

Signs your baby is ready...

  • They are 6 months old
  • They can sit unaided or upright in a highchair
  • Appear interested in watching others eat and may even try to grab food

Starting out...

  • Read as much information as you can about baby led weaning , the more you know the more confident you will feel
  • Make sure you are prepared with a floor mat and your baby is well covered (if possible with a long sleeved bib) as things will get very messy!
  • Introduce some finger foods for your child to enjoy with the rest of the family at a mealtime
  • Don’t expect too much at the beginning of the process- let your child explore and don’t worry about how much food is actually eaten
  • They are likely to experiment by bringing the food to their mouth and will then hopefully realise that the thing in their hand has a nice taste!

Good foods to start with:

  • Chunks of banana
  • Broccoli florets
  • Avocado
  • Melon
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potato wedges
  • Cooked carrot sticks
  • Steamed apple
  • Grated cheese
  • Cooked pasta
  • Hard boiled egg

Choking

One of the biggest concerns associated with baby led weaning is the fear of choking. However it has been suggested that a baby that is controlling what goes into their mouth is less likely to choke as they learn to suck and chew their food before moving into the back of their mouth and swallowing. It is therefore very important that no pieces of food are placed into a baby’s mouth- a baby can only manage the food they are physically able to pick up themselves. Sometimes your baby may gag on a piece of food particularly at the start of the weaning process. Babies have a natural gag reflex which is further forwards than an adults; this is the bodies way of preventing choking. Whist giving your baby pieces of food to eat themselves can be very unnerving at the beginning, once you have seen how well babies can cope you will gradually learn to relax and enjoy mealtimes together.

The Benefits of baby led weaning

  • It allows babies to join in with the rest of the family and participate in mealtimes as a social part of the day.
  • Gives the opportunities for children to try a wide variety of tastes.
  • It stops the difficult transitional period between pureed to mashed foods and then mashed to chopped foods and helps your child learn how to chew food from the beginning.
  • Cuts out the need for pureeing foods.

The Negatives of Baby led weaning

  • Can be very messy.
  • Can sometimes be hard to tell if your baby is getting enough food.
  • You will need plenty of time at mealtimes to ensure your baby has ample time to eat.
  • It is not suitable if you wish to wean your baby before they are 6 months old.
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