Baby-Led Weaning

photo OneHandedCooks.com.au

Allowing Babies to Feed Themselves

Typically parents and nannies slowly introduce purées of fruits and vegetables, rice cereal, and oatmeal to babies on spoons at about six-months-old.

With Baby-Led Weaning caregivers allow the babies to feed themselves. Parents and nannies provide soft, appropriate, cut up, finger-sized foods and allow the child to reach for foods and play with it and eat as they are naturally designed to do.

In the article “Rethinking Baby Food: Baby-Led Weaning Basics,” Cynthia Ramnarace explains that some of the benefits of Baby-Led Weaning include saving money on store-bought baby food. The author states that Baby-Led Weaning also encourages hand-eye coordination, while introducing the baby to a wide variety of food, and teaching the baby early decision-making skills. Also, Baby-Led Weaning encourages healthier eating for the whole family.

Baby-Led Weaning Basics:

Breastmilk or Formula:
Breastmilk or formula should still be a baby’s primary source of nutrition until 12-months-old. Solids at this age are for exploring taste and texture.

Baby Should Sit Up on Their Own:
Before eating solids babies should be able to sit up to avoid choking on food.

Pincer Grasp:
The pincer grasp is when a baby can use their thumb and forefinger and pick up a single, tiny object (like a Cheerio). The pincer grasp is a developmental milestone that the baby will use for tasks like eating.

No More Tongue-Thrust Reflex:
Before 6-months of age, the baby’s tongue will thrust forward and push foreign objects out of his mouth reflexively. Once this reflex fades, the baby can begin self-feeding.

Don’t Feed Baby:

Let the child put the food in their mouth themselves.  Most babies are ready to do this at about 6-months-old.

Messy:
Don’t panic about the mess. It’s only food. Babies will drop a lot of food and food will wash out of clothes and bibs.

Supervise, Supervise, Supervise:
Never leave a baby alone when they are eating.

The Best First Foods for Baby Led Weaning:
From Taste of Home

1. Steamed Carrots: Babies will do best with carrots that are steamed and soft.

2. Cut-Up Cucumbers: You can cut them into coins or spears. Baby will love gnawing on this cool treat — especially if they’re teething.

3. Bananas: They’re naturally the perfect texture for a new eater.

4. Avocados: These are a great source of healthy fat and the perfect texture.

5. Steamed Zucchini: This squash’s mild flavor makes it a great way to introduce veggies.

6. Eggs: Hard-boiled egg yolks are a great source of protein for baby and easy to eat.

7. Broccoli: Make sure to steam it longer than usual to achieve a soft texture. Baby will love grasping the stalk and exploring the texture of florets.

8. Sweet Potato: Cut up sweet potatoes and steam or sauté until soft.

9. Ripe Fruit: Baby will love the soft texture and sweet taste of a ripe peach or pear.

10. Sliced Meatballs: The light, juicy texture here makes it an ideal way to bring a little meat to baby’s palate.

To avoid choking, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against giving a child 12-months or younger any food that requires teeth for chewing. Remember that babies will be using their gums to explore first foods.

When you try Baby-Led Weaning, foods to avoid for risk of choking include:

• Hot dogs
• Nuts and seeds
• Chunks of meat or cheese
• Whole grapes
• Dried fruits
• Popcorn
• Raw vegetables
• Cherries
• Anything diced too small, like fruit chunks
• Hard gooey, or sticky candy

Have you tried Baby-Led Weaning? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest if you prefer the traditional spoon feeding method of feeding babies or Baby-Led Weaning.

References:

1. American Academy of Pediatrics

2. “Rethinking Baby Food: Baby-Led Weaning Basics” by Cynthia Ramnarace

3. mamanatural.com

4. Taste of Home

5. Photo By: OneHandedCooks.com.au

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: