Baby led weaning is an approach where a baby is allowed and offered to eat solid foods instead of pureed or semi-liquid foods like cereal via a spoon. Although some doctors suggest that you can start pureed food when your baby is between 4 to 6 months of age, baby led weaning is another approach that mothers can also consider.
There are numerous benefits of baby led weaning for both the baby and parents. It develops the oral motor skills of your baby, improves the dexterity of chewing and saves a lot of time for parents. It also creates a sense of control in babies that they can eat how much they want. This way they can trust their own cues if they are hungry or full and you don’t have to force them to eat. However, do be warned that baby led weaning comes with a risk of choking. So it is important to closely monitor your baby if you’re taking on this approach. Some parents take up infant CPR classes as a precaution.
In baby led weaning, babies will start on their own when they are about 6 months old. They start from finger foods and skip the spoon feeding eventually. This is the age when babies start to feel like chewing on something hard as this is roughly around the age when babies start teething. Be patient and see how your baby approaches baby led weaning. It is fine even if your baby prefers purees, just give them time to figure out their own preferences. Some babies like purees and finger food, and this can also help as you start introducing solids to your baby.
Here are some important things to take note of before starting your baby on baby led weaning.
1. Your baby will gag a little: The occasional gagging in babies is normal as they learn to coordinate their oral motor skills and is also a natural reflex to prevent themselves from choking.
2. Don’t panic: If your baby suddenly gags, chokes, or talks while eating, do remember to stay calm as babies are sensitive creatures. Assess the situation calmly and don’t panic because your reactions could frighten your baby unnecessarily.
3. Don’t force your baby to eat your food: Some parents think that if their baby is eating solids, their baby is ready for table food, but that isn’t always the case. Check in with your paediatrician on when you can consider offering adult food to your baby.