This post is my tips based on personal experience of baby led weaning. Before having children I didn’t realise there was different ways to introduce your child onto solids. The process of introducing solids is known as weaning (in the UK), you can find more information here from the NHS.
The NHS recommend waiting till six months before introducing any food. As all babies are different its important to look for these three signs if wanting to start earlier:
- They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
- They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
- They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue So they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.
I quickly found out there are two different methods for weaning your baby onto solid food. The first is using purees to introduce your baby to new flavours. The other is baby led weaning, which is the method I choose for both my daughters.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
The Baby Centre defines baby led weaning (BLW) as “forgetting purees and weaning spoons, and simply letting your baby feed himself.” Rather than pureeing lots of different foods you give the baby the skills to eat whole food from the beginning.
Why Choose Baby Led Weaning?
There are lots of benefits of choosing to using BLW.
- Your baby gets introduced to lots of textures straight away
- Your baby will get to explore food at their own pace
- Your baby feeds themselves so you can eat your own food
- You don’t have to make additional food for baby within household so will save time
- You can easily buy food for them on the go, as they are more happy to eat regular food
It’s worth noting that some families may find BLW isn’t for them as the baby has digestion issues or feeding concerns. There are also some downsides vs. purees. It takes babies slightly longer for babies to start filling their tummies as first. It can also be messy as lots of foods tend to go on the floor!
Some families find that they do a combination of the two weaning methods. Feeding the baby purees but also offering finger foods to them. The knack is finding what works best within your family and for the baby.
How to start Baby Led Weaning?
It’s best to start BLW with foods that are easy to handle as they are still perfecting their grip. When starting introduce one food at a time so they can explore the texture and flavour of the food. You will only need to offer food once a day at first alongside their milk. When they start eating more you can build up to two meals, three meals and eventually add in healthy snacks.
- Raw vegetable sticks – cucumber without skin, avocado sticks and
- Par boiled vegetable sticks – par boiled so they are easier to chew including carrots, green beans and peppers
- Cooked vegetable sticks – sweet potato wedges, butternut squash and brocoli
- Fruit – softer fruits work best such as raspberries, banana, melon, mango and pears cut into strips
- Toast/bread sticks – add a little bit of butter to bread to make a bit softer
- Porridge fingers – make you own really quickly in the microwave, see recipe ideas here
- Mashed potato – best if a bit lumpy and thick so baby can pick up
- Pasta – fusilli is best as baby can grip it
- Meat/fish (if not vegetarian) – softer meat is best to start such as strips of chicken or fish
Thanks for reading.