If you are going to practice Baby Led Weaning-BLW for your baby, then you can ditch the food processor, skip the purees and junk the jarred foods.
In Baby led weaning, we allow the baby to lead us through the feeding roller coaster.
For babies, “play” is learning, through BLW they learn the different textures, shapes, sizes and weight just by playing with their food.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
We usually start solid food after the 6th month, and the foods are mostly purees and mashed fruits, veggies and cereals. In Baby led weaning, we start the solids a little late, and help the children learn appetite control, so they eat when hungry and stop when full.
BLW involves offering the babies a range of foods and allow them to explore, select and self-feed as soon as they are ready.
Initially, the baby will learn to chew and play with the food rather than swallow it, so as a parent you might be worried about the amount of food intake. There is no need to fret over this, as the baby explores the taste and texture, they will gradually learn to swallow the food and fill up their tummy.
When do I know my baby is ready for BLW?
1. Baby is able to sit upright.
2. Baby does not thrust the food out. (Tongue thrust reflex)
3. Baby reaches out to grab things and take them to her mouth.
4. If she is gnawing on her toys and making chewing movements.
1. It is best for the baby to sit on a high chair at the table while eating, as we will be able to control the messiness and the infant has a large surface to play with the food. Check out our detailed guide on selecting the right feeding chair for your baby.
2. What type of food can be given?
Experts advise to give the food what the whole family has, but in India, our meals are so varied that some of the food items may not be suitable for the infant.
Boiled vegetables cut into strips make great foods, evenly cut fruit cubes (apple, pear) rice sticks, preloaded spoons with cereal and lots more.
3. Be prepared for the messiness!!!
4. Baby Led Weaning is not a “Hands off” approach, with the parent as a silent spectator. The parents should guide the baby to take the food to the mouth by themselves.
5. Allow the baby to try one food at a time, for example, try apple one day and pear another day, do not combine them as the baby will not be able to appreciate and distinguish the tastes.
6. The fast foods and foods with lots of sugar and salt should be avoided.
7. Strict meal times are not mandatory, follow your baby’s cues, feed when they are hungry, do continue breastfeeding while BLW.
8. Do not cut the food into mouth sized pieces, as they will not be able to hold the pieces and gnaw on them.When your baby is first starting, his aim won’t be too accurate, so he can hold longer pieces of food better than shorter sticks. An approximate length of 2 inches long would be fine for the baby to hold it and gnaw upon, you can adjust the length according to how your baby manages to eat.
9. Be patient, do not hurry your baby, many of the times you will be tempted to stuff the food into their mouth!!!.
10. Try rejected food after some days, they might like it.
11. There is a very rare chance for choking, so never leave the baby unattended.
What are advantages of BLW?
1. Allows the babies to explore color, texture, and tastes of different foods.
2. Helps to develop Hand Eye coordination.
3. Helps in promoting early healthy eating habits.
4. It is enjoyable !!!!
5. BLW Babies are keen to try new foods, so they rarely become fussy eaters in toddlerhood.
6. When there is no pressure on the baby to eat, mealtimes are enjoyable and not a battleground!!!
7. Sharing meals with the family has a positive impact on the social skills, language development and healthy eating habits of the baby.
What are the disadvantages of BLW?
The main disadvantage is that we might not know whether the vitamin and mineral needs of the baby are fulfilled. For example, in traditional weaning, we have control over the baby’s Iron needs but in BLW with the baby’s limited menu, this could be a problem. This can be resolved by giving the baby an array of different nutritional foods.
This article is just an introduction to BLW, to get regular updates on BLW and yummy BLW recipes follow me on Google +, Twitter, Pinterest or by liking my FB page My Little Moppet
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2. Gill Rapley’s Baby Led Weaning
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general use only. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to replace the professional advice of your doctor. You as the reader/parent/caregiver must always discuss any concerns or questions about the health and well-being of your baby or toddler including BLW and starting solids with a healthcare professional.