When baby reaches the weaning stage, parents struggle with how to get their baby to adapt to solid foods. Generally, parents would follow the "Traditional Weaning" which means gradually feeding soft food to your baby with the type and amount of food controlled by the parent. It is like being forced by parents to eat certain foods or control the amount of food eaten when you were little.
In response to this situation, the idea of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) was created, which advocates that the baby should decide which food to eat and how much to eat, and that the parent should simply provide different types of finger foods and encourage the baby to play freely. Baby can experience the joy of eating through independent food exploration.
What are the benefits of baby-led weaning?
Does it sound unrealistic that your baby will actively eat on his own? In fact, the desire to eat is an innate instinct. As babies start eating solid food, they become curious about all kinds of foods and are very open-minded at this time. The traditional weaning method offers a fixed number of foods to babies, making it harder for them to accept other kinds of flavors. Therefore, allowing your baby to try different types of food while he or she is open to it can increase his or her acceptance of different tastes and reduce the occurrence of picky eating.
Another feature of "baby-led weaning" is that it avocades baby eats on his or her own, rather than being spoon fed by the parent. Whether babies pick up food directly with their bare hands or have learned to use utensils, they can develop hand-eye coordination and self-care skills without becoming overly dependent on their parents. Moreover, by feeding themselves, babies have the opportunity to train their attention span from a young age and learn to complete a task on their own, which will set a good tone for their future growth.
Some studies also point out that babies who grow up with BLW method will be relatively less obese. It is because BLW will let babies eat solid food directly and solid food has higher nutrient density than pureed porridge. Babies can eat less but at the same time absorb more nutrients, and therefore their BMI can maintain a normal body shape. For parents, BLW can also save more time in preparing ingredients and making pureed porridge.
What to expect from BLW ?
It is normal for babies to be curious about the shape and color of food they have never touched before, and to grab a handful of food with their bare hands to observe and then put it down, back and forth. In addition, the baby is still learning to grab and hold. Therefore, the food is easily dropped on the floor during BLW stage. Later in the article, we will explain what products are available to make the cleaning process easier!
No. Baby is dominant to their interest in food, but our baby does require parental guidance to learn how to eat on their own. Not to mention that there is a risk of choking even when they are eating soft food. Parents still need to eat with your baby. Of course, when preparing the ingredients, the food should be cooked softly and cut into finger shapes to make it easier for the baby to swallow.
It's easy for us to focus on the amount of food our baby ate and forget to observe if your child is interested in the food whether he or she is full. It's important for mom and dad to adjust their mindset and not worry too much about how much their child eats. It is all about to letting your baby explore the joy through eating and let them make their own decision.
The best products for BLW?
- Silicone bibs and utensils
As your baby is just trying to eat on his own, there is a chance of making it all messy at the beginning, such as food scattering all over the floor, staining clothes, or even accidentally knock over the plate to the floor. A nice bib that can catch dropped food is definitely a good tool to implement BLW and maintain hygiene easily.Minikoioi's silicone tableware is definitely the best choice. Silicone is a safe and healthy material that does not contain carcinogenic or toxic substances, and silicone spoons can prevent babies from hurting their mouths when eating on their own. A silicone plate can keep firmly on a flat surface, but also to prevent the risk of knocking over the plate. It is really a good partner in your baby’s BLW journey.
- A good highchair
All three Peg Perego highchairs provide a comfortable eating area. Not only with a flat footrest, but also with a cushion that gives soft and sufficient support, so that the baby can eat comfortably. The material of the seat cushion is made of waterproof eco-friendly leather. Even if food falls on the seat cushion, it can be cleaned up with only a damp cloth, so you don't have to take it out every time to clean it.
You may want to prepare a floor mat near the dining area to make it more convenient to clean after the meal. Use the playmat from Funnylon as the floor mat can save you a lot of time in cleaning process.
In fact, both the traditional reinforcement model and the new baby-led weaning model have their advantages and disadvantages. There is no best method over the world, but only the most suitable one for your child. The ultimate goal is to let the baby feel good about eating on their own and to achieve the spirit of "letting your baby choose". Parents can put more faith in their babies, trust their choices and give them guidance when appropriate. This is a very important mindset for both the BLW process and for their future development.