There are lots of different recommendations and well meaning advice when it comes to weaning. No wonder parents can often feel overwhelmed and unsure!
Should you take a baby led weaning style approach and go straight to finger foods? Or should you take a more traditional weaning feeding approach, where you offer pureed foods with a spoon?
Both weaning methods have there pros and con, and there is no right or wrong way to wean your little one. Lets have a look at the options:
Before we get started:
Regardless of feeding method, make sure your little one is showing the three main signs for starting solids. These generally appear around aged 6 months.
Stay in a sitting position, holding their head steady
Coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth
Swallow food rather than spit it back out
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and The Department of Health recommend weaning starts at age 6 months. The recommended weaning age does not change based on what feeding method you choose.
Sometimes known as the traditional feeding method. With this method you usually start with purees of food and work your way gradually through the textures. Ending with family meals.
What are some of the pro's to offering purees:
You know exactly how much your little one is eating
You can somewhat control the mess
You can buy pre made food at the shops!
The cons of offering purees:
Its easier to encourage your baby to eat more than their body is telling them it needs
It is easier to stick with purees much longer than needed
You aren't able to model good eating behaviours as you will have to focus on spoon feeding.
Baby Led Weaning
Baby Led Weaning, or BLW, is now a very popular method of feeding little ones. There are two definitions for BLW, the first being from the original BLW book by Gill Rapley; to give your baby finger foods right from the start of their feeding journey. Usually this means adapting portion sizes and potentially textures.
BLW also means allowing your little one to self-feed. This means that they can eat as much food as they want too when they first start. It also means that your little one will listen to their body when it comes to their hunger cues.
Pro's of BLW:
Helps to easily set up mealtimes as can use family meals
Encourages different textures to be served right from the start
The con's of BLW:
It can be hard to tell how much your little one is eating
Parents might become anxious in relation to gagging or choking
Can be messy
The most common myth about the whole puree Vs BLW saga is; that they cant be combined. Why not?
Weaning is about exploring new textures with your baby, and what are purees if not a texture? We all eat pureed food in terms of yoghurts or mashed potatoes. Purees, just like any other texture of food are important for your little one to become familiar with.
No matter what method of feeding you choose, the most important thing is safety. Always ensure your little one is supervised while eating.
If you would like to chat with a Paediatric Dietitian about weaning your baby, get in touch below;