What is Baby Led Weaning And is it Safe?
Baby-led weaning (BLW) is a feeding approach that involves allowing babies to feed themselves from the very beginning of their weaning journey, rather than relying on purees and spoon-feeding. The idea behind baby-led weaning is to allow the baby to take control of their feeding and to encourage them to explore different textures, tastes, and smells of food.
Traditionally, parents have started their babies on purees and spoon-feeding, but there is growing interest in baby-led weaning as a more natural and effective way to introduce solid foods to babies. Here are some of the key benefits of baby-led weaning:
Encourages independence and autonomy
Baby-led weaning allows babies to be in control of their own feeding, which can help them develop a sense of independence and autonomy. This can also help to build their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Helps babies develop their fine motor skills
When babies are allowed to feed themselves, they have to develop their fine motor skills by picking up and manipulating different foods. This can help them develop hand-eye coordination and improve their dexterity.
Encourages healthy eating habits
Baby-led weaning encourages babies to explore different tastes and textures of food, which can help them develop a taste for a wide variety of healthy foods. This can help set the foundation for healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.
Saves time and money
With baby-led weaning, there is no need to buy special baby food or spend time preparing purees. Instead, babies can eat what the rest of the family is eating, which can save time and money.
Reduces the risk of choking
Contrary to popular belief, baby-led weaning does not increase the risk of choking. In fact, research has shown that babies who are allowed to feed themselves are actually less likely to choke because they are in control of their own feeding and can regulate the amount of food they put in their mouths.
If you are considering baby-led weaning, here are some tips to get you started:
- Wait until your baby is ready: Baby-led weaning is recommended for babies who are six months or older and can sit up unassisted. Make sure your baby is ready before you start.
- Offer a variety of foods: Offer a variety of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains. Let your baby explore different textures and tastes.
- Make sure food is cut into small pieces: Make sure food is cut into small pieces that are easy for your baby to pick up and swallow.
- Be patient: Baby-led weaning can be messy, so be patient and don't worry if your baby doesn't eat much at first. The process takes time, and your baby will gradually learn to eat more and more.
Baby-led weaning is a safe and effective way to introduce solid foods to your baby. By allowing your baby to take control of their own feeding, you can help them develop independence, healthy eating habits, and fine motor skills. So, why not give it a try and see how it works for you and your baby?