Thinking of starting your baby on solids? Try Baby Led Weaning.
Baby led weaning is a method of introducing baby food which relies of your baby’s natural cues and interests. It simply means bypassing pureed foods and letting your baby feed himself real food from the start. Instead of spoon feeding commercially prepared processed rice cereal or jar foods you can let your baby finger feed herself soft pieces of cooked vegetables or fruits. Your baby learns to chew first with his gums, then swallow.
This sensical approach is a natural transition from breastfeeding on demand to introducing solid foods. Bottle-fed babies also adapt well to this method of feeding. Many eager parents tend to start solids too early. Instead you should wait for your infant to show for signs of readiness, such as interest in family meal time, ability to sit without support, to pick up toys with fingers, loss of tongue thrust reflex(pushing solids out of the mouth with tongue). There is no need to ponder about which jar foods to buy, simply give your baby soft cooked wholesome vegetables that you prepare for your family at meal times, put it on his high chair tray and let him enjoy! Get your camera and be prepared to capture the moment when he explores, picks up, mashes and tastes his first foods.
Some examples of easy, wholesome BLW first finger foods are:
. banana chunks
. soft steamed carrot sticks
. slices of ripe avocados
. peeled slices of cucumbers (great for teething babies)
. boiled egg yolks
. peeled slices of peaches
It is best to wait until your child is at least 6 months old and exhibits signs of readiness as stated above. Avoid foods that are choking hazards, such as whole grapes, apples with skin attached, nuts. In the first few weeks of BLW, you may see your baby gag. Remember gagging is a protective reflex to prevent foods from traveling too far to the back of the mouth where it can obstruct the airway.. Your child may have a mild cough and makes little noises. It is different than choking, when your child looks terrified, appears unable to breathe and makes no noise.
If you are wondering whether BLW is right for you, check with your paediatrician to that your child is developmentally ready to proceed.
Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley
Thuy Pham, MD, IBCLC