Baby led weaning
Support for ‘baby-led’ weaning is growing every year, with many believing that babies should be encouraged to feed themselves from the earliest age for the sake of their development.
What is baby-led weaning?
This is when you skip the spoon-feeding stage of offering pureed food to your child and instead offer foods that your child can pick up and feed to himself.
Supporters of baby-led weaning, like experienced health visitor Gill Rapley, believe this is better for a child’s ability to chew food and that is also nurtures a less fussy eater.
Tips for baby-led weaning
• Start at six months and not before
If your baby is hungry before the recommended six months weaning milestone, only offer purees until he is a little older. If your baby is six months old already but still cannot to easily support himself, avoid baby-led feeding for now.
• Don’t forget milk feeds
Just because self-feeding babies appear more independent, don’t forget they still need their milk until they are at least one year old.
• Offer a variety of finger foods
Bearing in mind that your baby is experiencing ‘solids’ for the first time, so offer the easier fingers foods first.
• Bring him to the table
Try to choose a feeding chair that safely supports and holds your baby but which allows him to sit at the main dining table with the rest of the family, seeing how you all feed.
• Finger shaped foods
Offer foods that are easy for your baby to hold.
• Avoid choking hazards
Early foods should still be fruit and vegetables, but make sure you have steamed them – hard pieces of fruit and veg will be a choking hazard even for baby with a couple of early teeth coming through. For food ideas, see Baby’s first foods and foods to avoid. NEVER leave your baby unattended when he has any food in front of him or in his hand.
Don’t pressurise your child into eat everything offered.
• Get advice
If you are unsure about baby-led weaning for your child, talk it through with your health visitor first.
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