Have you gone online and wondered what all this hype about baby led weaning is? Baby Led Weaning simply means to wean your baby onto solid foods through self-feeding, which also means you skip the whole puree step.
Before you decide how to feed your baby, here are 3 essential facts about Baby Led Weaning you should know about:
1. What is so great about Baby Led Weaning?
With Baby Led Weaning, your baby is in charge. Moreover, they are empowered to join the family at mealtime to self-feed finger foods. Therefore, your baby will get to choose what they eat, how much they eat, and how quickly to eat. The key thing is that it allows them the freedom to explore new tastes and textures without the pressure of the spoon. However, when you wean your baby onto solids, keep in mind that you are still feeding them milk. More importantly, your baby will lead you in deciding the ratio between milk and solids.
2. Why choose Baby Led Weaning?
First of all, you baby will develop good eating habits since she or he is learning to self-regulate. As a result, your baby is more likely to have a healthy BMI in the future. On top of that, evidence suggests Baby Led Weaning could increase weight in underweight babies, hence it supports overall healthy weight.
Secondly, there are no studies to support purees as a baby’s first food. Many now believe that introducing solid foods is better after 6 months. Furthermore, purees are time consuming to prepare. With Baby Led Weaning, you can cook yours and your baby’s baby meal together with some alterations of seasoning at the end.
Last but not least, Baby Led Weaning is extremely educational because you are literally not spoon-feeding your baby. You encourage them to learn to safely handle food by chewing and then swallowing. You let them explore the different textures, tastes, sizes, and shapes of food. On top of that, you allow them to obtain hand, eye, and fine motor practice from a very young age.
3. When is your baby ready for Baby Led Weaning?
The average time is about 6 months, but do look at your baby for signs of a matured digestive system. Such signs include: your baby can sit up without support, she has lost the reflex to automatically push solids out of her mouth, she has developed the ability to grasp with her thumb and forefinger. However, keep in mind that when you first introduce this, your baby will gag. This is a natural reflex that moves food that has gone too far in the back of the mouth to prevent choking. The important thing is not to freak out and to let your baby do her thing.
At the end of the day, you may love self-feeding from day one or you might find it a little troublesome. Don’t give up yet as it takes about 20 exposures for a baby to accept a food. So, keep re-introducing it without pressure. You just have to be patient and enjoy the process.
For information on what foods you can feed your baby, check out Baby Led Weaning Foods.