A lot of parents are skipping purees and now opting for their babies to feed themselves finger food as soon as they start solids at the age of 6 months. This is referred to as baby led weaning and it is probably the best thing to happen in the highchair
Rather than spoon feeding your baby soft mushy food, you offer pieces of solid food and let them self-feed. Babies who start solids through baby led weaning are generally not fussy and enjoy a variety of foods because they’re introduced to several textures and flavours.
Here are our top do’s and don’ts that you need to know about baby led weaning
The dos of baby led weaning
- When you first begin, stick to one new food every 3 to 4 days to keep a check on allergic reactions. Offer a variety of foods and textures. Start with soft foods first. Finger foods can include avocado, bananas, mango, broccoli with stalks, pasta, chicken strips, toast, baked apples (without the peel), steamed carrots, shredded chicken and fish without bones.
- Put your baby in a fully upright high chair and dine with your baby. This is one of the benefits of baby led weaning. No spoon feeding while your own food gets cold and still a great bonding time with your baby. Let your child see how you eat. They will learn and copy you!
- Be prepared for the mess because new eaters are messy. The first few sessions will most likely involve food EVERYWHERE! Food on clothes, food in hair and food on the floor. Put a bib on your baby and use suction bowls and plates.
- Continue breastfeeding or bottle feeding babies get most of their nutrition from milk till the age of 1
- This infographics also gives an idea of how food should be served to your baby for eating Image source
Don’ts of baby led weaning
- Never leave your baby unattended while they eat
- Steer clear from foods that can cause choking such as nuts, grapes, popcorn, raisins, cherries, raw vegetables and full apples.
- No sugar, salt and honey until your baby turns 1
- Don’t worry if your baby gags. Gagging is a safety reflex to get rid of food that is challenging to eat. Never put your finger in your baby’s mouth to get food out, instead stay calm and let them figure it out.
- Don’t stress and don’t get discouraged. It seems difficult at first but it gets better. Trust yourself and trust your baby.
While there is significant benefit with letting your babies explore and feed themselves, every baby is different and it is best to adapt to the need of your child and your family.
We have also listed our top 5 weaning books that we recommend to help you through the weaning journey here. We hope it helps.