Baby led weaning quite simply is self feeding. It means allowing your child to feed themselves from the very beginning of their experiences with food. At meal times, your child eats at the same time as the rest of the family and is offered the same food. Baby led weaning is all about exploring, experiencing and enjoying nutritious and delicious family meals from the very first taste of solids.
Please note; the term ‘weaning’ doesn’t mean giving up milk feeds (formula or breast milk) it simple refers to the introduction of foods other than milk.
Benefits of baby led weaning
- Allows bub to explore the taste, texture, colour and smell of food
- Meal times are an enjoyable family experience
- Helps to develop bubs hand-eye coordination
- Establishes great eating habits as bub is allowed to eat as much as she/he needs, in their own time
- Mealtime battles are far less likely
- Encourages confidence
- No need for cooking two different meals for the family, saves time and money
- Eating with loved ones develops and encourages strong family bonds
When to start?
The World Health Organisation recommends the introduction of solids at 6 months of age. At 6 months of age children start to develop the skills that enable them to instinctively start to feed themselves. Signs that your baby is ready to start self feeding include;
- sitting up with little or no support
- being able to reach out and grab things effectively
- being able to take objects to their mouth quickly and with accuracy
- able to make gnawing & chewing movements
When your baby is developmentally ready for the introduction of solids start by including your baby in family meal times and offer food in pieces that are easy for your baby to pick up and handle. Your baby will start to ferry the food to their mouth where they will gnaw, nibble, chew and swallow pieces. There is no need for anyone to ‘feed’ the baby. It is completely up to your baby how much he/she eats and how fast. Your baby will continue to have milk feeds (whether breast milk or formula) whenever he/she wants them.
Wonderful recipes to get started with: