The concept of weaning, guided by the baby, or Baby Led Weaning as we call it, dictates that your baby should have their meals together with the family from as early as six months of age. Created by a Public Health agent, Gill Rapley, discuss how the babies or young children can choose their food and take them into the mouth with their hands, learning to eat alone. For this reason, the parents must cut food in small pieces and leave within their reach during meals.
Introduces to a healthier diet
According to the WHO, the introduction of food is a nutritional supplement to breast milk after six months. In the same way that the baby has to learn how to latch on the breast from when they are born, they will also have to learn how to eat. Most 6-month old babies can sit without having much support, manage to bring objects in the mouth with their hands, and have more curiosity about the world around them.
Serve tiny portions according to what your child eats and in ways they can pick up and bring to their mouth with their own hands. Steamed vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and beets cut into tiny cubes are good options to start with. One of the main characteristics of BLW is to be eating healthy, natural vegetables instead of industrialized food.
Eating is an experience
It is normal for a child to play more with the food than actually eating it, in the beginning. Don’t insist or force them to eat, nor make bribes, praise, or promise rewards if they eat everything. The relationship with the food has to be healthy, from an early age, being an activity that will bring well-being and satiety. Don’t worry if your baby eats very little. Until eight or nine months, it is very normal for them to be eating smaller portions, and it takes a while for them to get used to this new approach to filling their belly!
Helps the baby to identify their tastes and needs
Make mealtime when your child isn’t angry or tired and let them take their time needed to feed themselves peacefully, don’t rush them to finish their meal. One of the characteristics of the BLW method is that the baby lives a different experience every meal, discovering textures and flavors. And, therefore, begin to identify what they like and what they don’t want to eat.
Besides, your child will be able to identify when you are hungry and when you are satiated. According to the British Medical Journal, babies who learn how to feed themselves through BLW have less chance of becoming obese children/ adults than babies who consume processed and packaged baby food, because they learn from an early age to regulate their own appetite, get used to different textures and tastes. It creates a healthy relationship with food as well, contributing to a healthier life.