Baby Led Weaning and How To Do It
Baby-led weaning , or BLW, is basically adding complementary foods to a baby's diet of breastmilk
31 July 2013
This allows babies to control their solid food intake "self-feeding" from the very beginning of their experiences with food.
The term weaning should not be taken to imply giving up breastmilk, but simply the introduction of foods other than breastmilk.
Infants are offered a range of foods from around 6 months.. Babies typically begin self-feeding around 6 months, although some will reach for food as early as 5 months and some will wait until 7 or 8. BLW allows your baby to begin to sample foods at his own pace.
Give it some time and patience
Initial self-feeding attempts often result in very little food ingested as the baby explores textures and tastes, but the baby will soon start to swallow and digest what is offered. Breastfeeding is continued in conjunction with weaning and milk is always offered before solids in the first 12 months. Although breastfeeding is the ideal precursor to baby led weaning (as the baby has been exposed to different flavours via its mother's breast milk and the jaw action used during breastfeeding helps the baby learn to chew), it is also entirely possible to introduce a bottle-fed baby to solids using the BLW method.
Start with easy finger foods
At six months babies learn to chew and grasp and this is therefore the ideal time to begin introducing finger food.
As recommended by the World Health Organization and several other health authorities across the world, there is no need to introduce solid food to a baby’s diet until after 6 months, and by then the child’s digestive system and their fine motor skills have developed enough to allow them to self-feed.
Ideally baby will be sitting in the high chair, together with mum and dad and the rest of the family… we already know that babies learn by imitating the behaviour of who is around them, this sets the stage for baby to have a positive weaning experience.
Baby sets their own pace for the meal, choosing which foods to concentrate on. Present baby with a selection of finger foods to choose from. Some babies refuse to eat solids when offered with a spoon, but happily help themselves to finger food.
There are lots of forums online, and facebook groups to support Baby Led Weaning, see www.babyledweaning.com
by Joyce M. for EWmums