I wanted to share some information about baby Baby Led Weaning. This is something I did with both of my kiddies and something I am constantly getting asked about. It always starts off with friends and family asking what purees I fed my 2 and which would be the best to start off with, I then tell them I skipped that messy and unnecessary stage and did BLW to which 90% have never heard of such a thing. I thought my blog would be a perfect place to explain all of those questions people have on weaning onto “Solids” The slop stops here 😉
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Wikipedia has summed this up nicely. Baby led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by “self-feeding” from the very beginning of their experiences with food. The term Weaning should not be taken to imply giving up breastmilk or Formula, but simply the introduction of foods other than breastmilk or formula.
When To Wean A Baby? When To Start Solids
When to wean a baby onto solids or when to start baby food is always on the lips of mothers with infants. This is an ever changing answer. (By Yvette O’Dowd, Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor) The Australian Breastfeeding Association has, for many years, encouraged parents to delay introducing solids until around six months of age. Young babies have a natural tongue thrust reflex, which causes the tongue to push out a spoonful of food. By about six months, babies start to lose this tongue thrust reflex, making it easier for them to swallow food. Giving baby solids earlier than six months does not mean giving the baby a better start. A young baby’s digestive system can’t cope well with foreign fats and proteins that are found in other milks, eggs, meat, vegetables and cereals. A baby’s kidneys cannot easily process food containing too large an amount of salt. Babies who start solids later have less chance of being allergic or intolerant to foods as their systems are more developed and are ready to take the variety of food.
This youtube video shows a baby who is BLW and has been involved in a study on BLW. The information is below the video.
A new study by psychologists at The University of Nottingham has shown that babies who are weaned using solid finger food are more likely to develop healthier food preferences and are less likely to become overweight as children than those who are spoon-fed pureed food.
Baby Led Weaning First Foods?
The information following has been taken from the website Homemade Baby Food Recipes .
No matter what way you choose to wean your baby all foods must be tried separately first so if there is an allergic reaction you know exactly what caused it. The best thing to do is to introduce each baby food for 4 days before trialling the next food option.
Baby Led Weaning Fruits:
Banana: Easy to hold and eat in large chunks. I always just cut them in half 🙂
Pear- this can be served raw (if soft, ripe and juicy) or lightly steamed if the texture doesn’t seem ‘gummable’.
Avocado- Is ‘nature’s perfect baby food’ A fantastic source of healthy fats that requires no cooking, avocado is another food best served in larger chunks for baby to get his gums into!
Apple- the texture is somewhat harder than pear, so raw apple is not ideal for toothless tots just getting started with solids. Steam or bake chunks of apple until tender before serving.
Peaches/Nectarine- these can be given to baby raw (if nice and soft) or lightly cooked.
Plums- like peaches, these often have a ‘squishy’ texture when raw… but if they seem a little hard, then steam them lightly before serving.
Melons- a very soft, juicy chunk of rockmelon or watermelon is ideal for baby led weaning and provides lots of nutrients too!
Baby Led Weaning Vegetables:
Sweet Potato- steam in chunks or bake whole in its skin – a highly nutritious food that little ones love!
Zucchini – be careful to cook these just right! Chunks of zucchini need to be done just enough to be tender enough to gnaw on, but not to the extent that they are watery, squishy and hard to pick up
Carrots- steam chunks of mature, larger carrots which are richer in nutrients than ‘baby’ carrots
Green Beans – these are a great shape for baby to grab in his fist… although getting the other end into his mouth may present a challenge at first! Cut longer beans in half.
Pumpkin – Pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene and cooked pumpkin chunks make a great (if messy) first food for baby led weaning.
Potato – this might require a little extra flavouring as our little ones have always found plain white potato to be rather bland. Try tossing potato pieces with a little olive oil and crushed garlic before cooking, or sprinkling them with cheese once they’re done.
Broccoli – highly recommended as a food for baby led weaners, thanks to the built in ‘handle’ provided by the stem, steamed and tender broccoli florets are a great source of vitamins, minerals, calcium and fibre.
Cauliflower – somewhat less popular than broccoli, cauliflower florets are good for your baby too, providing antioxidants, vitamins and folates.
Cucumber – Cucumbers are not a particularly rich source of nutrients but can have a lovely, soothing effect on sore gums when baby is teething.