Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baby-led weaning.

I can't talk firsthand on this subject, since Boston is only 4 months old. But the more I read about it, the more I realize this is how EVERY baby should learn how to eat. Considering Boston was a month early, I may decide to start him on solids at 7 months instead of 6, but we will see how it goes when that time comes. Until then I don't mind giving him and apple slice now and then to start exploring. It's pretty damn cute!

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that babies not start solids until at least 6 months of age, and that breastfeeding be the main source of nutrition for infants under one year of age. This recommendation was only changed a few weeks ago, previously the recommendation was to start solids between 4-6 months of age. Up until 6 months of age, the digestive system is not fully mature. It is not able to handle solid foods, which is why in the past people offer "puree" foods at that point. They are basically force feeding because they think this is what they should be doing. In reality, eating under the age of 1 is basically for practice, and of very little nutritional need. How is your child going to practice eating, if they are sucking puree off a spoon?

What is Baby-Led Weaning? (From this article)

What is Baby Led Weaning?

So what exactly is Baby Led Weaning as relates to solid food introduction?  In short, Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is skipping thin and runny purées and not feeding your baby with a spoon.
Baby Led Weaning means offering your baby (age appropriate) foods that are soft-cooked and cut or mashed into small easily manageable pieces. You may choose to offer your baby a large hunk of apple that she can easily hold and gnaw on or a bowl full of soft cooked mashed apples; the choice is yours. The foods are then given to your baby to eat without being pureed and without being spoonfed. You do the cooking, the dicing or mashing and the offering of the foods and your baby does the rest.  It is important to note that your baby should be in control of what he is eating and you should never actually feed him by putting the foods into his mouth!
As with breastfeeding on demand, Baby Led Weaning is a method of introducing solid foods that leaves it up to your baby to decide what, when and how much to eat.  While not necessarily a "hands off" approach, Baby Led Weaning does advocate allowing your baby to make all food choices for him or herself.

Tips for getting started (from "Baby-Led Weaning")

  • Offer your baby solids when she's not hungry - breast milk of formula is still her main source of nourishment.
  • Keep the focus on playing and experimenting.
  • Let your baby join in your mealtimes (and snacktimes) whenever possible.
  • Make sure your baby is upright and safe in a high chair or on your lap.
Some signs of readiness, and FALSE signs of readiness:
*Sitting up with little or no support
*Reaching out to grab things and taking them to their mouth quickly and accurately
*Gnawing on toys and making chewing movements
*Starting to put food in their mouth ….if given the opportunity
Here are some FALSE signs of readiness that do not determine if your child is ready for solids; 
*Waking at night
*Weight gain slowing slightly
*Watching their parents eat
*Making lip-smacking noises
*Not going straight to sleep after milk feeds
*Small baby*Big baby


  1. Love this post! :) Thank you... Going to try baby-led weaning. I like this idea. Sorry the pooches are put up. I hate when I have to put mine up after it rains... they hate it! Hooray for hubby coming home:)

  2. Thanks :) yeah mine are usually fine, but they hate going right back in the kennel first thing in the morning instead of running around. They were groaning at me every time I walked by lol