The principle of baby led weaning is based on the way babies develop and the skills that appear naturally in their first year. If parents give their baby the opportunity to handle food at about the right time, she will instinctively start to feed herself when she is ready. For most babies, this happens at around six months old, which is the same age when the World Health Organization recommends that babies should start on solid foods. The baby then progresses at her own pace, cutting down her milk feedings when she is ready. This is very different from the conventional approach, in which the parents make the decision to start their baby on solids, beginning with spoon-fed purées and steering her through set stages toward eventually joining in family meals something that often doesn’t happen until well into toddlerhood. Of course, babies helping themselves to family food isn’t new; it’s what babies seem to do naturally. Many parents, especially those who have several children, have spotted their baby grabbing something from someone else’s plate and happily munching away on it. They quickly realize that letting her feed herself as soon as she can makes mealtimes easier and more enjoyable for everyone. For generations, parents have been encouraged to give their babies finger foods from six months onward, to help them to develop chewing skills. What is changing now is the assumption that babies need to get used to purées before they can move on to finger foods. This isn’t the case. Sucking puréed food from a spoon doesn’t prepare babies for chewing; the best way to develop chewing skills is to practice them on food that actually needs chewing—in other words, ordinary, unmashed food.
What Happens with baby led weaning?
The first few months of baby led weaning are not really about eating they’re about exploring food.
Your baby can begin by handling food, learning what it looks and feels like, then she’ll use her mouth to find its aroma and texture.
She may not actually eat any things at the beginning, but this is quite normal; her milk feedings (whether she is breast- or formula fed) square measure still providing most of her nutrition therefore she doesn’t need anything else yet.
This is what happens typically in BLW:
• The baby is included in family mealtimes, where she watches what others are doing and is offered the chance to join in.
• Nobody “feeds” the baby; when she is ready she starts handling food and taking it to her mouth herself (at first with her fingers, and later with silverware).
• To start with, food is offered in pieces that are easy to pick up (babies soon learn how to handle a range of sizes, shapes, and textures).
• It’s up to the baby how much she eats and how fast she eats it. It’s also up to her how quickly she moves on to a wider range of foods.
• The baby continues to possess milk feedings (breast milk or formula) whenever she wants them, and she decides when she is ready to begin reducing them.
Why Spoon-Feeding is Unnecessary?
Most people still take it for granted that spoonfeeding is the normal way to give babies their first solid foods. But, like much of the current advice on introducing solids, spoon-feeding is left over from the days when parents were advised to start solids at three or four months of age when their babies were too young to feed themselves.
Most people still take it for granted that spoonfeeding is the normal way to give babies their first solid foods. But, like much of the current advice on introducing solids, spoon-feeding is left over from the days when parents were advised to start solids at three or four months of age when their babies were too young to feed themselves. We now know that babies don’t need solid foods, and their bodies aren’t<br>really ready for them, until they are around six months old. If you’ve waited until six months to start out solids along with your baby, you’ve skipped the spoon-feeding stage. At this age babies are quite capable of feeding themselves, and that they don’t need to be spoon-fed. In fact, many parents find their baby of six months refuses to be fed by someone else; they want to handle food themselves because their instincts drive them to find out about things by testing them out with their hands and mouths.
Key Benefits of baby led weaning.
Going along with your baby’s instinct to handle food, instead of against it, makes weaning easier and more fun than doing things the conventional way—but there are several alternative advantages to taking a baby-led approach. It’s great for babies because it:
• Allows each baby to move on to solid foods at the right time and pace for her developing body, and ensures that her important milk feedings are not cut out too early
• Helps to develop babies’ hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and chewing skills
• Allows each baby to eat as much as she needs, in her own time, so establishing good feeding habits which will last a period of time (and which can facilitate to avoid obesity and other food-related problems)
• Makes picky eating and mealtime battles less likely (when there is no pressure on babies to eat, there is far less opportunity for meals to become a battleground)
• permits babies to explore the style, texture, color, and smell of individual foods
• Encourages confidence at mealtimes and enjoyment of a wide range of foods
• Means babies can be part of family mealtimes from the beginning.
Baby-led weaning is great for parents, too, because it means more relaxed mealtimes for the whole family. There’s no pressure to get your baby to eat and no need for games or tricks to persuade her to eat healthy foods. You don’t need to make or buy purées, so eating in is cheaper and eating out is easier. Plus, of course, eating with those we love is an enormously important way of developing and cementing strong family bonds.
Is baby led weaning Suitable for All Babies?
Some babies have medical problems that prevent them from picking up food or chewing it. Others, who were born prematurely, may need solid foods before they’re physically ready to feed themselves.
If this is the case for your baby, she might have to be spoon-fed, minimum at the beginning. But, as long as it’s safe, it is still a good idea to encourage her to handle food, to help her to develop some of the skills that she finds difficult. If you are in any doubt about your baby’s general health or development, seek advice from a doctor or dietitian before you start offering solid foods.