Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Baby Led Weaning.

After adjusting his meals to crushed solid foods,I have finally weaned my son after 10 months of breast feeding!He has fully adjusted to it but the withdrawal period was tough on him but we made it.
Its advised to wean babies from 12 months.

Lets talk about baby led weaning which is currently the best approach to make it easier for baby.

Baby Led Weaning(often also referred to as BLW) is a method of gradually weaning a baby from a milk diet onto solid foods. It allows a baby to control his or her solid food intake by self-feeding from the very beginning of the weaning process.

Infants are offered a range of foods to provide a balanced diet from around 6 months. They often begin by picking up and licking the food, before progressing to eating. 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. The intention of this process is that it is tailored to suit each particular baby and their personal development. The 6 month guideline provided by the World Health Organisation is based on research indicating the internal digestive system matures over the period 4-6 months. It seems reasonable to posit that the gut matures in tandem with the baby's external faculties to self feed.

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.


* 1 General information
* 2 Signs of readiness
* 3 Safety
* 4 Basic principles
* 5 Resources
* 6 See also
* 7 References

General information

Baby-led weaning places the emphasis on exploring taste, texture, colour and smell as the baby sets their own pace for the meal, choosing which foods to concentrate on. Instead of the traditional method of spooning puréed food into the baby's mouth, the baby is presented with a plate of varied finger food from which to choose.

Contrary to popular belief there is no research supporting the introduction of solids by purees and in fact babies can become very confused when stage 2 foods are introduced (with lumps) unsure whether to swallow or chew (citation needed).

According to one theory, the baby will choose foods with the nutrients she might be slightly lacking, guided by taste (citation needed). The baby learns most effectively by watching and imitating others, and allowing her to eat the same food at the same time as the rest of the family contributes to a positive weaning experience. At six months babies learn to chew and grasp and this is therefore the ideal time to begin introducing finger food.

Self-feeding supports the child’s motor development on many vital areas, such as their hand-eye coordination and chewing. It encourages the child towards independence and often provides a stress-free alternative for meal times, for both the child and the parents. Some babies refuse to eat solids when offered with a spoon, but happily help themselves to 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 her fine motor skills have developed enough to allow her to self-feed. Baby-led weaning takes advantage of the natural development stages of the child.

[edit] Signs of readiness

It is very important that baby-led weaning is not started before the child shows developmental signs indicating that he/she is ready to cope with solid foods. The baby should be able to sit well unsupported, be eager to participate in mealtime and maybe even trying to grab food and put it in his/her mouth. The child should show signs of developing a pincer grasp, as well as an ability and willingness to chew.


Many parents are used to the idea of giving babies puréed food and to some, giving such a young child finger food might sound dangerous. However, babies weaned using the baby-led method are actually less likely to choke on their food, as they are not capable of moving food from the front of the mouth to the back until they have learnt to chew[citation needed]. In turn, they do not learn to chew until they have learned to grasp objects and place them in their mouth. Therefore the baby's general development keeps pace with her ability to manage food.

If a child gets a piece of food too far back in their mouth, they will often promptly clear it themselves by gagging or coughing the piece out[citation needed]. According to Gill Rapley[citation needed] this seems to be fairly common and not dangerous - it's simply nature's way of preventing any risk of choking.

Food should not be placed in the baby's mouth for him or her. If the baby is unable to pick up and grasp the food, it is believed that the baby will also be unable to cope with chewing and swallowing it. It is also very important that the baby is sitting up straight and well supported during mealtimes and never left unattended while self-feeding.

Basic principles

The basic principles of baby-led weaning are:

* At the start of the process the baby is allowed to reject food, and it may be offered again at a later date.
* The child is allowed to decide how much she wants to eat. No "fill-ups" are to be offered at the end of the meal with a spoon.
* The meals should not be hurried.
* Sips of water are offered with meals.
* Initially, soft fruits and vegetables are given. Harder foods are lightly cooked to make them soft enough to chew on even with bare gums.
* Food given is free of added salt and sugar.
* Food is not cut into bite-sized pieces until the baby has mastered object permanence and the pincer grasp.
* Initially, food is offered in baton-shaped pieces or in natural shapes that have a 'handle' (such as broccoli florets), so that the baby can get a good grip and the food is visible for babies that have not yet mastered object permanence.
* Foods with clear danger, such as peanuts, are not offered.
* Foods can be offered to the baby on a spoon, but the baby is allowed to grab the spoon and the adult helps the baby guide it to the mouth.

culled from

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