Has your baby reached the exciting stage of trying solids? If so, you will be faced with the decision of going the traditional weaning route, or following the baby led weaning approach. Here are a few reasons why baby led weaning could be the right option for you and your family.
What is baby led weaning?
In short, baby led weaning is an alternative form of introducing solid food to a baby who is six months and older. It revolves around giving the baby the opportunity to explore food without any intervention from his/her parents. Essentially, this involves placing the baby into a sturdy highchair and presenting him/her with a spread of different coloured finger foods to choose from.
Is my baby ready for baby led weaning?
There are a few special precautions that parents need to take in order to ensure that baby led weaning remains a safe approach to introducing solids. For example, it’s imperative that the baby exhibits all of the signs of readiness before proceeding with baby led weaning. These readiness signs include:
- Being a minimum of six months of age
- Being able to sit up without support
- Having lost the natural tongue thrust reflex
- Gradually developing a pincer grasp
- Having developed an interest in food through watching mum and dad at mealtimes
It’s the natural way
The main benefit of baby led weaning is that it allows a baby to explore food and different flavours at his or her own pace. He or she is encouraged to follow his or her instincts when it comes to food, and will, therefore, only eat the amount of food required. This is called self-regulation and has been said to play a role in the reduction of the risk of obesity later in life. On the contrary, when being spoon-fed pureed food, a baby will often continue eating beyond the point of feeling full.
It’s lots of fun
There are few experiences as wonderful as watching your child play with and enjoy their food. Furthermore, it’s a hands-on adventure for them, providing extra opportunity to explore a number of their senses, including taste, touch, and smell.
Concerned about the mess? Fear not! There are many incredible baby led weaning bibs available on the market today. These coverall bibs are designed to limit the amount of mess that gets onto a baby’s clothes and the floor. Take the Bibado highchair weaning bib, for example. This long sleeved weaning bib protects clothes and extends over the edge of the highchair, making it practically impossible for any pieces of food to roll off. Think maximum fun with minimal clean-up!
It reduces the chances of a baby becoming a fussy eater
This is likely due to the little one being exposed to a variety of different flavours and textures early on in life. Most children who were weaned through the baby led weaning approach will be much more adventurous eaters overall.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to introducing solids. The important thing is that you choose the approach that best suits your family and with which you feel most comfortable. Enjoy this special time in your child’s life!