Baby-led weaning: pros and cons
Baby-led weaning: pros and cons (*)
Baby Led Weaning: Pros and Cons (*)
Maybe you've heard about it but aren't sure how to go about it. We look at the pros and cons of baby-led weaning and how you can introduce your baby to their first feed.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is all about offering your baby a choice of foods and letting them feed themselves. Introducing solid foods through Baby Led Weaning gives your child the opportunity to take ownership, to discover and to choose what they eat and eat. That means they're more likely to develop the skills needed to put food in their mouths, move them around, and swallow them safely.
So far so simple, but here's what else you need to know before you decide to introduce solid foods this way.
When can I start Baby Led Weaning?
The recommended age for Baby Led Weaning is from the sixth month. This is the same age as the alternative spoon-fed introduction.
How can I start Baby Led Weaning?
To try Baby Led Weaning, your baby must be able to grab whole pieces of food and bring them to their mouth. Babies usually develop this ability around six months of age.
First you need to sit your baby upright at the table, either on your lap or in a high chair. Make sure he is sitting still and can move his hands and arms freely.
You can start by offering your baby soft sticks and bits instead of feeding them. Try offering him things like:
- cooked vegetables
- soft foods like bananas or avocados.
What Are the Benefits of Baby Led Weaning?
- Your child has the opportunity to choose their own food, to take hold of it and to discover what helps them to become more independent.
- It gets used to the different food textures right from the start.
- Your baby can be offered the food that the whole family eats and little further preparation is required.
- Parents often say that babies who decide for themselves what to eat have broader tastes. There is differing evidence as to whether baby led weaning can prevent babies from becoming picky eaters.
- Some research suggests that self-feeding babies are better able to control their appetite, potentially reducing their risk of obesity later in life. Other research suggests this isn't the case, so we don't know for sure yet.
What are the negative sides of Baby Led Weaning?
- Some parents worry that baby led weaning is more likely to choke their baby than spoon-feeding. There is now evidence that while baby led weaning can lead to more gagging as babies get used to swallowing, the likelihood of choking is not increased.
- Baby led weaning can be messier than spoon feeding. But whether you're spoon feeding or baby led weaning, some mess is inevitable at this age.
- One concern is whether baby led weaning provides a sufficiently varied and nutritious diet. However, numerous studies have shown that babies absorb sufficient energy during baby led weaning. Also, breast milk is still your baby's main source of nutrition at this stage, and the first foods are a way of discovering taste and texture.
Baby Led Weaning - Weaning and Suffocation
There is no evidence that babies are more likely to choke from baby led weaning than from spoon feeding. The National Health Service of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (NHS) states that the risk of self-feeding is no greater than that of spoon-feeding.
All babies have a strong gag reflex, and there is a distinct difference between gagging and choking. When your baby chokes, their eyes may water, they may cough, gag, or make a noise in their throat, and their face may turn red. However, when it chokes, its face turns pale or bluish and it is silent.
Make sure you know what to do if your baby is choking. Some parents find it helpful to take a baby first aid class to boost their confidence.
(*) Translated from the original text by the WikoBaby team. Click on the link below to view the original English text;