What Is Baby Led Weaning
Are you considering baby led weaning? Exactly what is this thing called baby led weaning? Maybe you’ve heard of it, but aren’t quite sure what it is. Or maybe you’re not sure if it’s right for your family. Some parents are hesitant to try baby led weaning because it seems messy or dangerous. So what is the baby led weaning style and what are the benefits? In this post, we’ll explore all of that and more. So keep reading to get started on making the most informed decision for your family.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Simply put Baby led weaning (BLW) is a way of introducing solid foods to your baby. Instead of starting with purees or spoon-feeding, you offer solid foods that your baby can pick up and eat with his or her own hands. Say good-bye to the conventional parent spoon feeding method. Babies feed themselves finger foods and learn to eat by watching others. Some moms swear by baby led weaning (BLW), while others find it too messy or difficult. So, what’s the verdict? Should you try baby led weaning for your little one? Here’s everything you need to know.
When To Start Baby Led Weaning?
Introducing solid food is exciting for the whole family. Recommendations for beginning solids foods have changed a lot over the years. However, I believe there are so many benefits of waiting until 6 months. The reason being, babies are born with an immature digestive system. In those first few months of babies life, while the GI tract is still maturing, it’s best to only offer breast milk. Once your precious baby is 6 months their intestines have developed the necessary digestive enzymes to absorb solid food. If they are showing interest in solid food and can hold their head up steadily then they are most likely ready to give it a go. And, if they aren’t showing any interest immediately don’t be alarmed – give it some time, as some babies take a little longer to get interested.
Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
There are many benefits of baby led weaning (BLW). Babies learn to eat solid foods on their own, which can help them develop a healthy relationship with food. They also learn to regulate their own intake, which is an important skill for later on in life. Baby led weaning can help with fine motor skill development and babies who participate in baby led weaning are more likely to try a variety of different healthy foods. Babies learn to chew and swallow food properly, which helps them digest food better. Overall, baby led weaning is a great way for babies to learn about food and how to eat. It can help them develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.
My experience with baby led weaning was very fun. My son Honor LOVES food and enjoyed eating all the different options I made available to him. As a 1 1/2-year old, he has a great palate and is eating a variety of healthy foods. Our family has experienced the wonderful benefits of the baby led weaning approach. We have amazing family meals that everyone can enjoy. We all pretty much eat the same foods, just different portions. There is no such thing as “baby food” once you come to terms with that it will revolutionize your entire feeding process and introducing solid foods to your baby.
How To Start Baby Led Weaning?
Now that you know your baby is ready, it’s time to start baby led weaning! There are a few different ways to do this. You can start by giving your baby some soft, easily-digestible solid foods that they can pick up and eat on their own. Be creative and have fun with your baby. Learning to self feed is new for them, so be patient. They’ll especially love eating the same foods as mommy.
If they’re not interested in one thing, don’t worry – they’ll probably be more interested in something else. The list of healthy foods you can offer is endless. Just make sure the food is soft enough that your baby can chew and swallow it easily. This could include a variety of cooked vegetables, fruits, meats, and grains. Be sure to offer your baby a variety of colors and textures to explore. In our home, we like to tell our children that we are eating the rainbow.
Safety Tips While Baby Led Weaning
There are a few safety tips you should keep in mind while baby led weaning. Always stay close to your baby when they are eating and be prepared to intervene if they start to choke. If your baby is gagging, it’s a good sign – it means they are swallowing properly. However, if they are coughing or seem to be having difficulty breathing, it’s time to take action.
Another safety tip is to make sure your baby is sitting in a safe place while they eat. You don’t want them to fall off the couch or chair while reaching for that piece of solid food. And finally, always supervise your baby when they are eating. As your baby explores never leave them alone. Imagine the fun and confidence it brings your baby as you introduce solid food and they learn to self feed.
The Gagging Reflex
One thing to keep in mind when baby led weaning is the gagging reflex. This is a normal reflex that helps babies to swallow food properly. There is a huge difference between gagging and choking. Some babies will gag more than others, but that’s normal. If your baby starts to gag, don’t panic. Just stay calm and wait for them to finish. If they are struggling, you can help them by gently patting their back.
The gagging reflex is an important part of baby led weaning, so don’t try to suppress it. It’s a good sign that your baby is eating properly. Just be sure to stay close by in case of any problems.
It is natural to have choking concerns. There are a few choking hazards to be aware of when baby led weaning. These include small pieces of solid food, hard fruits and vegetables, and nuts. Always cut solid food into small pieces so your baby can chew and swallow it easily. You also don’t want to give your baby anything too hot or too cold. Be especially careful with whole grapes, as it is a serious choking hazard for most babies and children. Don’t give them any hard solid foods that could potentially cause choking.
Is Baby Led Weaning Safe
Is baby led weaning safe? The answer is yes, as long as you follow simple safety precautions. Baby led weaning is a great way for babies to learn about food and how self feeding works. Babies who are weaned using the baby led weaning approach tend to have a great relationship with food and better eating habits as they grow older. So go ahead and try it – your baby will love it!
Baby Led Weaning Foods/ Solid Foods
Remember, baby led weaning is not about providing a baby with a complete meal. It is about introducing solid foods and allowing them to explore and learn how to eat on their own. Be patient and let your baby take their time. There is no rush!
Most babies truly enjoy the experience as they eat solids. Be sure to include different food groups. Iron rich foods, raw vegetables and fruits. Here is a short list of some finger foods/ solid foods that help promote infant self feeding.
- roasted apple wedges
- roasted broccoli florets
- green beans
- ripe avocado
- cottage cheese
- cooked beans
- cherry tomatoes
- liver (high iron food)
- roasted sweet potato wedges
I always offer with a few ounces of breast milk.
Baby Led Weaning Products
To baby led wean you don’t need much. However, there are some wonderful products that promotes infant self feeding. Check them out here.
So there you have it! The basics of baby led weaning. I hope this has answered some of your questions and has convinced you to try the baby led weaning approach with your baby. If you choose to introduce solid food with baby led weaning you won’t regret it! Your baby will love self feeding and learning the fine motor skills and oral motor skills required to eat all on their own. First foods are so exciting. You as mama will love the freedom it provides. Family meal times will never be the same. Give baby led weaning a try today!