What is baby led weaning?


Baby led weaning focuses on letting your baby be in the drivers seat for what she eats, how much she eats and at what age to start. This method of introducing solids is different from the traditional approach to feeding baby solids - you skip the baby food making and serving of purees./p>

With BLW the feeding is not done by you the grown-up with a spoon, as is traditionally done starting at an age you deem appropriate with foods you decide on. Your baby feeds herself. To clear up any confusion with the name - the focus with BLW is not on weaning from milk but adding food to her diet of milk.

baby led weaning

Granted, food does start the weaning process technically - although it could be over a period of years, but that is not the focus with baby led weaning - it's the method of feeding - self feeding.

This kind of introduction to solids is about allowing your baby to make all food choices for herself. This of course is with oversight and some guidance from you - the mamma or daddy.

This way of introducing solids involves offering your baby age appropriate foods that are prepared into small and easily manageable pieces. Foods could be prepared in different ways-chopped, mashed, or even a larger piece of say - broccoli or apple that could be gnawed on.

Photo courtesy of Fimb

With BLW your baby should be in control of what she is eating and you shouldn't be the one feeding her by putting the foods into her mouth.

Benefits

Baby led weaning allows your baby to decide when she is ready for solids. Not all children are ready at the same age. My daughter was ready at 11 months and my son at 7 months. Interestingly, my daughter was immensely curious at 7 months, tried food a few days, and then went back to an all breast milk diet.

Feeding herself is fun and exciting for baby. It teaches your baby about her world and improves dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Because BLW allows your baby to eat at her own pace and decide when she has had enough, as well as eating from a range of nutritional foods, your baby may be healthier in the long-run and be less likely to become obese.

Gill Rapley, author of Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods - and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater asserts that, at about 6 months, baby is ready to eat at the dinner table with the rest of the family. Eating the same food - saves time! Baby led weaning is easier than making baby food!

Allergies

If BLW appeals to you but you are wondering how to make a go of it since allergies run in the family, rest assured the method can be tweaked.

As you try new foods, introduce each one separately, at least 4 days apart. This will help you identify any sign of digestive discomfort or allergic reaction and identify the cause.

Some great first vegetables are avocado, brocolli, asparagus, cucumber, sweet potato, butternut squash, zuchinni, carrots, green beans and beets. First fruits might be bananas, apple, pear, plums and peaches.

Remember, although BLW puts your baby in the drivers seat, you are still the navigator - giving her direction. You are the one buying, preparing and making those foods available.

Baby led weaning is less about weaning from milk and more about introducing solids. It is a great alternative to the traditional method of feeding baby solids and...it may work for you!

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