Baby-led weaning is when you allow your baby to feed themselves by giving them solid strips of foods. You allow your baby to sit with the family at mealtimes. Give your baby his share of food and leave him to eat using his fingers.
when can you start baby-led weaning?.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates for exclusive breastfeeding for children up to six months of age, with no additional water, tea or any type of food. After 6 months of age , you can start supplementary feeding.
Baby weaning is based on the way your baby develops in their first year.
Usually, before six months the baby’s immune and digestive systems are not ready for other foods . feeding your baby breast milk is the best. ke the WHO recommends as mentioned above. The reason being that at this stage mostly all babies are able to sit upright, pick up pieces of food, take them to their mouth and chew and them –in other words, they can feed themselves.
If you’ve waited until your baby is six months to introduce solid foods ,you have done a wonderful job. As you have , given your baby their deserving time to breastfeed and develop properly. This can also mean that you have skipped the purée stage. Though it is always good to introduce them gradually into your baby’s menu, even after the six months along with the solid foods.
Flashback of how the past generations weaned their babies.
In the past ; babies were introduced to solid foods earlier to than the recommend time , thus below thus below the age of six months . Thus at three if not four months, and where spoon-fed with purées. This was quite too early to introduce solids to babies. The best thing in this modern age is to follow the proper guidelines recommended for baby feeding. I have seen babies being fed porridge in their early weeks after birth. They claim that if the baby is crying a lot they believe he is hungry and his or her mother’s milk is not enough to make him full. Which is not true because breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby could ever need.
How to start weaning my baby.
Feeding guidelines to follow when observing baby-led weaning.
- Include your baby at family mealtimes.
- Sit your baby in an upright position while feeding.
- Do not leave the baby unattended while feeding.
- Encourage your baby to handle food and to feed themselves as soon as they show an interest in doing so.
- Do expect a lot of mess.
- Spoon feeding, and puréed or mashed foods, are not essential.
- When your baby has had enough ,do not continue to encourage them to have more otherwise they might vomit the food all out.
- Allow your baby to explore the taste, texture, color and smell of food while they feed, as it encourages independence and confidence; also helps to develop their hand-eye coordination and chewing skills.
- Make sure your baby can use both hands and arms freely
- Steadily sit your baby on your lap and allow her to self feed.
- Let her take it from your hand ,so that the descition is hers to make.
- Start with foods that are easy to pick up – thick sticks or long strips are best at first.
- Offer her the same food as you are eating, so that she can copy you.
- Offer your baby water with her meals.
- Allow your baby to concentrate and take their time while feeding- do not hurry them.
My experience with baby-led weaning.
I remember doing the same with my baby .I would try and encourage her to finish off what was left on the plate .And all I got was a vomiting baby. And when ever I did so, she would throw up everything ,in fact more than she had eaten . Leaving her hungry ,irritated and dehydrated ; at most refusing to eat for a while. This was not a good thing for my baby ,and certainly not a good feeling for me as the mother. Each time this happened it left me with a feeling of regret. I learnt it the hard way. So let your baby do as they please with their food at this stage.
Why I say this is because babies know how to feed, when to feed, how fast to feed and how much breast milk to take when they are hungry. They will only demonstrate this if they are given the opportunity and time to do so. Hence , the same pattern in newborn infants . They are also capable of locating the breast, attach to feed themselves. Hence , babies must be given the opportunity to selffeed.
Avoid helping your baby.
Spoon feeding can never be entirely baby-led because the baby is not in charge of what goes on the spoon. He is only able to decide whether or not to accept the food . At this point the baby is prevented from choosing between options. Particularly when the food is offered as a mashed or puréed all-in-one meal.
Types of foods for baby-led weaning.
When observing baby led weaning , there are special types of foods to serve your baby with.Babies love eating soft cooked vegetables and soft fresh fruits; slices. Meat, cheese, well-cooked eggs, bread (or toast), rice, pasta, and most fish are suitable. Start with foods that are easy to cut into sticks or large strips. Offering your baby a variety of foods will give him the chance to discover different tastes and textures and ensure he gets all the nutrients he needs. And also pick out his or her favorite food from the list. Since in this period for your babys life these early mealtimes are about discovering and learning rather than eating.
When spoon-feeding the baby ,he or she can only be able to influence its pace, but cannot otherwise direct it. In addition, the need to spoon feed the infant makes it difficult for the mother to eat at their own pace alongside their child, thereby reducing the potential for role-modelling of normal eating behavior.so to get time to attend to your plate ,give your baby the time they need to explore theirs too.
Foods to avoid during baby-led weaning window.
Foods with added salt and sugar; such as ,baked beans, pies, sauces and gravy, contain a lot of salt therefore avoid them. Ready made meals, shellfish, shark, marlin and under-cooked eggs as well.
The major concerns about baby-led weaning.
Concerns about self feeding still remain a questions in every parents head. Many at times we witness our little ones eat from their own hands ; Sometimes , taking large bites sometimes , taking little bites. But we still wonder as to whether they are eating enough or not; whether they are eating right, or eating the right foods.
Baby-led weaning (BLW).
I personally find myself ,in support of this strategy of baby led weaning, because it is a healthy and a natural method of keeping the baby in good shape and helping them to boost their self confidence.
However, I would recommend that you try it out on your baby. You will be happy to observe how much the process of baby led weaning facilitated healthy eating habits ; also contributing to refining fine motor skills and oral development to your baby. Again you will note that your baby will begin to learn how to chew on food . As well as the ability to guide their own feeding .
In addition I have realized that implementing breast led weaning has helped in baby development . That includes the ability to sit with little or no assistance. Stability to reach ,grasp, and bring food to their mouths. These aptitudes manifest themselves when the child is around six months of age.
NB; NEVER leave your baby alone while eating food.