Getting your child onto food and away from milk is a daunting time in any parents life. If you are starting off on purees and baby food the chances are that you are going to get extremely messy so you may as well get the coverall bib so that you can at least keep your child dirty. There are so many different ways in which you can get your children to start on real food but for this article, we will be going through how to get your child feeding themselves through baby-led weaning.
What Is Baby-Led Weaning?
Baby-Led weaning is a relaxed and unstructured approach as it is about offering your child solid foods for them to feed themselves, with no help from anyone. This would usually be manageable chunks of different foods which are put on their tray so they can feed themselves how and what they want.
Benefits of Baby-Led Weaning
- Your child is gaining their independence by picking their food and exploring new tastes.
- They are becoming more familiar with different food textures from the start of their food
- The baby can eat what the whole family is eating, making it easier at dinner time.
- Research shows that baby led weaning will reduce the risk of obesity due to them starting to control their appetite at an early stage as well as be less fussy.
When Should I Start Baby-Led Weaning
A baby will typically be ready from as early as six months but can take up to nine months pending on their development. It is recommended to wait until they are ready so it may be worth going to pick up a weaning bib for this stage. Even through baby-led weaning it is still important to be giving your child breast milk or formula until they are 10-2 months old.
- Child has at least doubled its birth weight.
- They can hold their head up well and can start to sit up unsupported.
- Your child is interested in food, they will start to watch what you are doing when eating and also reach out for foods etc.
- When the child is eating, they will be able to move food around in their mouth.
How To Start Baby Led Weaning
- Make sure that the baby is ready and is showing signs of interest in food.
- Get the high chair and weaning bibs at the ready
- Look for a training cup as it is important to introduce water at the same time as solids.
- Choose only one food to start out with and carry on with this momentum.
- Stop when they start to make a fuss and move the heads away from the food.
FYI: Understand the gag reflex. Gagging is different from choking and it is usually a sign that they are trying to move things around their mouth and being able to put food in but also take food out. This is an important skill they need to learn.
Best Foods To Start Baby-Led Weaning
When letting your baby feed themselves, it is best practice to have food the baby can manage. Babies six months and over use their whole hands to pick things up, so it is important for the child to be able to hold the food in their hands. Batons and sticks at around 5-6cm are usually a good fit.
Top 10 Foods
- Baby Rice or Cereal
- Sweet Potato
- Butternut Squash