Understanding Baby Led Weaning
About Baby Led Weaning
Traditionally, mothers start weaning their babies at around the sixth month. At this age they can sit up comfortably in a high-chair, pick up food from their bowls and put it into their mouths. It is from this understanding that the concept of baby-led weaning is introduced. Basically it involves moving away from puree type foods from reusable food pouches towards solid foods and chewing more consistently.
Baby led weaning is a way of introducing solid foods to the baby by letting him feed himself rather than spoon-feeding him. The baby is presented with soft finger foods that he can easily pick up and left to get them into his mouth without much assistance. This method of weaning has been reported to be very useful in teaching the baby how to feed themselves, especially since they skip the spoon-feeding phase where they are fed purees and mashes.
Here are a few things that every mother should know before embarking on baby led weaning:
- The baby will eat much less than what is served. Most of it will be spread all over the face and thrown down on the floor in joyful giggles and baby chatter. Be ready to scoop up a lot of broccoli sprouts after the meal is ‘done.’
- They rarely choke. Babies have an in-built gag reflex system that will push food back to the front of the mouth if it goes anywhere around the wrong tube. Be ready to witness a lot of gags.
- Babies are sensitive to what you put in their food, which is why you may have to scoop out their parts before adding your hot chili, spicy seasoning, and rich sauces.
- Their foods need to contain as much nutrition as possible. It is not only the texture that matters.
- The food should be chopped down into very tiny bits — the aim to make them big enough for them to pick up and soft enough for them not to choke.
Baby led weaning comes with a ton of benefits that include:
- It helps you save time. Imagine the process of making a perfectly smooth puree and mashes and the ease of only steaming broccoli sprouts.
- It helps the baby learn what to do when they are hungry and when they are full. A hungry baby will pick up some carrots and eat them, then start playing with them when full. This eliminates the need to stuff them with ‘one more spoon.’
- It aids in sensory development so they are more adept with play toys. If you let your baby use his hands, sense of smell and sight (as well as the forehead and the hair!) to tell different foods and choose the ones they like, their development of these senses develops very fast.
- It helps keep them in shape. Literally. This is one of the lifelong benefits of baby-led weaning; the baby decides when they are hungry and feeds on the necessary amount.
Of course, the method comes with its share of disadvantages including the tired look on every mother’s face as they scoop up those carrots and wash their stained aprons. You could always replace them though with some choice feeding accessories and get playful dinnerware online for your little ones.