Babies have different tastes in food. Some refuse types of foods that others particularly like. Baby-led weaning is a very friendly way to introduce solid foods in the baby’s diet which, experts say, will help it accept more types of foods than the babies that were diversified in a classic way.
What is baby-led weaning?
Baby-led weaning means that, during the process of diversification, the decisions regarding the food that is consumed are taken by the baby. In other words, baby-led weaning is the opposite of the classic way to introduce solid foods, in which you would begin with vegetable soup, fruit compote or mashed fruits.
In the case of baby-led weaning, the baby is offered cooked food, so that it’s soft enough that he might eat it, either chopped or not, to have a suitable size for his little hands.
Following the recommendation of the World Health Organisation, the diversification process has to begin no earlier than the age of six months, until when the baby is fed exclusively with breast milk or formula. Nevertheless, baby-led weaning gives the baby the freedom to even choose the moment when to start to taste solid food.
Thus, while some babies are very happy to feed only with breast milk until they are six months old, others are very curious to taste their parents’ food when they are about five months old. Like in the case of classic diversification, during baby-led weaning, milk is a basic food.
The main advantages of baby-led weaning:
1. The baby decides when it wants to eat solid food, without being forced or stopped.
2. The baby decides the duration of the meal, what it eats and how much.
3. Since the little one is directly involved in the process, the risk of him refusing to eat certain foods is lower than in the case of classic diversification.
But not all parents are patient and determined enough to withstand the main disadvantage of baby-led weaning, which is the fact that the little one will get very dirty and, most likely, will make a mess around him.
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The greatest fear of parents about baby-led weaning when they are preparing to introduce solid foods in the baby’s diet is related to the risk of choking.
However, experts say that when a baby is six months old, it is capable of chewing, pushing the food further back with its tongue and swallowing. What the parent can actually do to minimize the risk of choking is to boil or bake the foods and cut them in suitable pieces.
Even if baby-led weaning involves the baby’s decision, however, the options are made available by adults. Thus, they have to respect the diversification chart and introduce in the little one’s diet certain foods that are suitable for his age.
What do you think about baby-led weaning? Did you allow your baby to feed himself? What types of food did you give him?