What is baby-led weaning?
Baby-led weaning is the alternative to the traditional spoon-led weaning or spoon-feeding. It’s an efficient way to bypass the purees and baby foods, give your kid a wider range of options and control over how much and what they want to eat.
How does baby-led weaning work?
All you need to do to try baby-led weaning is provide an assortment of whole, baby-safe foods. Place them in front of your little one for them to pick and choose, and allow the baby to decide how much to eat and when to stop.
When should I start?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting your baby-led weaning at 6 months old. By this age, most babies will be able to sit up by themselves and would have no troubles grabbing and holding onto objects – or bite-sized food. Baby-led weaning is generally a great way to develop your kid’s chewing skills, which in some kids might not be fully developed until 9 months of age.
How do I know that baby-led weaning is right for me?
No one knows your little sweetheart better than you do but if you’re wondering whether baby-led weaning is the right choice for you, consider discussing it with your pediatrician. Most babies will have no troubles going straight for solids but if your baby has special needs or simply doesn’t like taking the lead, you might not be able to try baby-led weaning.
What are the benefits?
A robust body of evidence suggests that babies who eat a variety of foods (such as the ones introduced by the baby-led weaning technique) tend to have fewer food allergies later in life. Babies who start eating on their own are also at a lower risk of obesity – spoon-feeding your child puts you, rather than the infant, in control and might lead to babies eating more than they really need. Additionally, baby-led weaning leads to greater manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination skills, as well as better chewing habits which aid digestion. Last but not least, baby-led weaning makes for an adventurous palette and experts claim that babies who choose foods for themselves are less likely to grow into fussy eaters!
Are there any disadvantages?
Perhaps the biggest issue associated with baby-led weaning is that it is messy. You also should pay close attention to your baby and make sure you only provide them with soft, baby-safe foods.
What foods should I avoid?
You can try bread fingers, cooked veggies or pasta shapes, as well as anything your baby can grasp and move to their mouths/ It’s best to steer clear of any nuts, whole grapes or apples with skins, as well as cherries. Any softer fruits and veggies are perfect for the little one’s gums!