What Is Baby Led Weaning?
Basically, Baby led weaning is all about letting your baby lead the way by feeding themselves. Forget the purees and spoon feeding your baby. It’s all about letting them explore the foods they are given. Letting them pick up the food, squash it, squeeze it, lick it and suck it. Most importantly improving those hand-eye coordination skills and actually getting the food to the mouth for a taste. Allowing them to explore different textures and working those jaw muscles which aren’t only important for chewing the food, but also speech development.
Baby Led Weaning is suitable from six months of age, just the same as the government guidelines.
What are the benefits of Baby Led Weaning?
Baby Led Weaning gives your baby a chance to explore foods they are given for themselves. Like I mentioned above, it means they can explore and more than likely cope with different food textures from the beginning of weaning. Resulting in less fussy eating.
Babies who have been weaned using the Baby Led Weaning Method are more than likely to eat anything and everything, which helps to take the worry out of starting solids.
Research has shown that babies who are allowed to feed themselves from the beginning of weaning are more likely to:
- choose healthier foods, which prevent childhood obesity
- join in with family mealtimes
- eat a wide range of family foods early on
Also Baby Led Weaning saves hours in preparation time compared to making and preparing purees.
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Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Baby Led Weaning
- They can sit up unsupported
- They reach for objects
- They bring objects to their mouth
- They are showing an interest in food and try to grab it
How Do I Start Baby Led Weaning?
If you would like to give Baby Led Weaning a go, start by offering your baby a selection of nutritious finger foods suitable for their age. (I will link my Pinterest Board below which will give you some food ideas)
The easiest finger foods for young babies when starting Baby Led Weaning are foods that are chip-shaped, or have a natural handle, such as cooked broccoli spears and cooked carrot batons. This is so your baby can handle the food. The majority of babies at around six months still use a fist to hold objects. As your baby grows and develops they will start to use a Pincer grip, which is the use of the thumb and forefinger. This action allows them to pick up smaller pieces of food and objects.
The best time do Baby Led Weaning is when you and your family are eating. Sit your baby in your baby in a highchair, close by. It’s a great way for him to join in at family mealtimes.
Don’t be concerned if at first, your baby just plays with the food. More food will definitely end up on the floor than actually going into your baby’s mouth. This is totally normal. Be prepared for a lot of mess.
In the early days nutrition isn’t important. Your baby will still be getting their nutrients from their milk, need it be breast milk or formula milk. Keep feeding your baby their usual milk in between mealtimes. Over time you will begin to notice that your baby will gradually eat more solids, and the number and amount of milk feeds will start to decrease.
Baby Led Weaning Safety
Safety is paramount when Baby Led Weaning. As long as your baby is the minimum of six months and showing the signs they’re ready, you’re good to go.
Babies do have a very strong and sensitive gag reflux which helps prevent them from choking. It can be alarming when it happens. It is important to give them soft foods that will be easier to chew and swallow to prevent them actually choking.
- Always remember to stay close
- Never leave your baby unattended with food.
- Feed away from any distractions such as TV
- Offer finger soft and chewable foods cut in to chip shape
Baby Led Weaning Essentials
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Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your weaning journey.
Come On Over To Pinterest and check out my Baby Led Weaning Board
*Please note all information given is from my own person experience. Please remember that UK government guidelines recommend babies start weaning from six months of age. If you think your baby is ready before six months of age, consult your health visitor.