Baby-Led Weaning: What It Is, And How You Can Get Your Child To Do It
What exactly is baby led weaning? Well, essentially, it’s letting your baby eat foods themselves at a very young age. The concept behind baby-led weaning is that you are encouraging healthy eating habits and supporting the development of eye-hand coordination. Before you jump the gun and start giving your baby solid foods, though, we recommend consulting with your pediatrician because every baby is different, and what works for one child might not work for the other child.
5 Tips For Baby-Led Weaning
- Wait until your baby is ready before starting. What exactly does that mean, though? Your child should be able to sit in a highchair unassisted and have good neck strength. They also must be able to “chew,” which really means they need to be able to do up and down jaw movements. That usually starts around 6-9 months, so make sure you are paying attention before giving your baby chunks of bananas or any other soft, solid foods.
- Make sure you supervise your baby when you are giving him/her solids and make sure you are cutting the foods in the correct sizes. Long, thin strips or foods cut into small, coin shapes are ideal.
- Start with super-soft foods like avocados, bananas, flaky fish, hard boiled egg yolks, cooked veggies that mush as you touch them, etc.
- Eating as a family is actually ideal for baby-led weaning because they are watching you eat and will want to mimic what you are doing. It also encourages healthy eating habits from a very young age when you sit down and eat as a family. Win/win!
- Finally, you should know that just because baby-led weaning is trendy, it doesn’t mean it’s for every child. You know your child best and if you see that they are not ready and are constantly gagging or not taking down the food properly, stick to purees for now! There’s nothing wrong with that! They will eventually begin eating solid foods; It’s not a race to who can start eating solids the quickest. As always, consult your pediatrician if you have any questions about baby-led weaning!