What is baby led weaning? Parents love baby led weaning for the very fact that they have fewer steps to prepare food for the baby. • Baby-led weaning can be messy, which can become quite monotonous if you are clearing up after your baby two or three times a day. Baby Led Weaning (BLW) involves introducing your baby to the world of solid foods without the need for purees […] It can be very messy, especially when yogurt is involved. Some parents worry that baby-led weaning is more likely to cause their baby to choke than spoon-feeding. Because of this, parents naturally and understandably may turn to friends, family, books or the internet for help. Understanding how to eat and how to chew Further, premature babies may need to follow their adjusted age. • Some research has found that babies who are offered a limited variety of foods could develop fussiness, whereas babies that are given the opportunity to explore a wide range of foods for themselves tend to accept new foods more willingly. She may recommend a referral to a feeding therapist to help support both you and your baby. A baby could feel too full if fed a puree too quickly which could put him in an uncomfortable state, especially if he has Gastroesophageal Reflux. Since the baby is in control of his eating, baby led weaning allows the baby time to digest and feel full, unlike purees, which are fed to the baby. • For babies, play is about learning, and they can learn a lot from handling food; from finding out how to hold something without or dropping it, to getting to grips with different shapes, sizes, weights, tastes and textures. Baby Led Feeding isn’t for everyone and if it isn’t for you that is completely acceptable and this post is just sharing our personal experience, why we chose it and the pros and cons. This book can be used on its own for exclusive baby-led weaning. Here are a few recommendations: For most families, this can be a helpful approach. Your child is also able to self regulate her appetite. Baby-led weaning has never been more popular, yet, as a new parent you wonder if self-feeding over spoon-fed weaning is the best choice for you and your baby. You basically take whatever you’re planning to eat for yourself and give it to your baby … Talk to your baby’s doctor about it. *Many of a family’s meals can also be pureed quickly right before everyone sits down to the table. Here are the pros & cons and how to know if your baby is ready. • Babies are naturally inquisitive – they are programmed to experiment and explore. In general, if feeding isn’t going well, talk to your child’s doctor about it. Baby can be frustrated earlier on when not able to pick up foods. However, there are lots of ways to combat the mess. Learn More », 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3026, © 2009-2020 Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Register for the AK Club here. Give a baby a piece of apple. It’s how they learn. They learn how different foods are eaten, how to share and join in conversations. Never miss a post! • Many babies take to self-feeding early and easily. Try popping a cheap shower curtain on the floor – it’ll save your carpets and will be easy to wipe clean. One popular technique is “baby-led weaning,” which is the process of introducing solid foods to a baby and gradually reducing breast milk or formula. Baby-led weaning has never been more popular, yet, as a new parent you wonder if self-feeding over spoon-fed weaning is the best choice for you and your baby. She can stop eating when full, rather than be fed extra food. “Steam it!” you say. But it can also be a little stressful, especially if it isn’t going well. It gives baby control over what he eats Giving your baby control over what he eats may teach him to self-regulate hunger. Eating solid foods is a skill that needs to be learned, and this takes time. It’s a great way to introduce the different looks, flavours, smells, and textures of food. From my perspective, there is no one right way to feed a baby. The pros of the baby-led weaning method Helps develop fine motor skills along with hand-eye coordination. It recommends skipping purees and spoon-feeding and going directly to the solids that the rest of the family is eating. Try popping a cheap shower curtain on the floor – it’ll save your carpets and will be easy to wipe clean. so it’s not an option if your baby is ready to wean earlier than six months. Most of the baby led weaning studies depend on self-reported information from parents, which often can be incorrect. Iron needs go from .26mg up to 11mg at 6 months of age and baby needs to be eating meats, iron fortified cereals or legumes to meet these high iron needs. So long as they are sat up in their highchair the risks of choking are minimal but, obviously you should not leave your baby alone whilst eating. To help you better decide, take a look at these baby led weaning pros and cons: Pro: Less prep work. Sign up to get new blog updates delivered to your email. Unsure whether to try baby led weaning or traditional weaning with purees? Baby led weaning pros and cons The advantages. However, there are lots of ways to combat the mess. Additionally, I recommend a little of both approaches – offering tastes from the spoon and allowing the baby to feed himself. Baby Led Weaning Pros Full on sensory experience that completely allows babies to explore their food and a variety of textures. Here are the pros and cons of Baby Led Weaning (henceforth known as BLW) in my experience: Con: Babies don’t have teeth. • Whilst more research needs to be done into the connection between baby-led weaning and obesity, there are suggestions that a baby is less likely to over eat if they are allowed to choose what they eat from a range of nutritious foods, eat at their own pace and decide when they’ve had enough. With baby groups, parenting forums, friendship circles and experts banding around the merits of letting a child feed themselves from the very start of weaning, trusted feeding expert Annabel Karmel shares the pros and cons. In this case, purees or well-mashed food are an obvious bridge between milk and solid foods. Sure, they can gnaw at it and eventually eat some of it. With the growing trend and buzz around baby led weaning, I thought it would be worth a quick look at the pros and cons surrounding this vs. the traditional puree route. Self-feeding involves all of the senses, helping babies to understand the world around them. • Premature babies are advised to begin weaning earlier than the recommended 26 weeks, so again, they are unlikely to be suitable for baby-led weaning from the outset. So how can parents implement this? As a feeding therapist in the division of Occupational and Physical Therapy at Cincinnati Children’s, I believe there are both pros and cons to this approach. Specifically, starting babies with single-item purees, but quickly transitioning to easy-to-eat table foods. But other babies, particularly those whose motor skills are slower to develop, will not be able to self-feed useful amounts of food until they are much older than six months; however, once babies get to six months they need essential nutrients such as iron which cannot be fully gained from breast or formula milk alone. Whether you’re spoon-feeding or baby-led weaning, you’re bound to have some mess at this age. The sooner we can intervene and make feeding a positive experience, the better. This is where some form of pureeing or mashing of nutrient-rich food such as chicken or meat becomes important. It’s fun to experience new tastes and textures with your baby. If you’d like to skip ahead to read what I recommend, go to the “Consider a Moderate Approach” section below. You have probably figured out that there is no one best way to feed your baby. • Encouraging your baby to feed themselves gives them the confidence in their own abilities. Starting your baby on solid foods can be both exciting and trying. Which method is best-traditional or baby led weaning? What are the benefits of baby-led weaning? 2020 update – my son is nearly 3 years old now and I wanted to say that I definitely saw the benefits of baby-led weaning in the long term too. Baby-led weaning is a method that encourages the baby to feed herself. 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