An Introduction to Baby Led Weaning
It might seem like yesterday that your bundle of joy arrived in the world, and now you're thinking about introducing them to solid food! How fast time flies.
One of the most popular ways to start incorporating a wider variety of foods into your baby's diet is Baby Led Weaning. If you want your little one to develop initiative and a positive relationship with food, Baby Led Weaning could be the answer.
Continue reading to learn more about this strategy (plus why it's best undertaken with a Spewy™ or two by your side!)
What Is Baby Led Weaning (BLW)?
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is an approach to introducing solid foods to babies that avoids spoon feeding and encourages your little one to get involved in the process.
Instead of spoon-feeding purees and mashed food, BLW allows parents to provide their baby with soft finger food that can be picked up, grasped, and explored independently. As your baby develops the necessary skills of chewing, sucking, and swallowing with this hands-on approach, the variety of solid foods can be increased.
In addition to allowing for more available mealtime options, Baby Led Weaning has been found to have some benefits, including improved oral coordination and dexterity in children.
BLW is invaluable for any mum or dad looking to encourage their little one to grow into a confident eater.
How to Start Baby Led Weaning
No two babies are alike. One six-month-old might instantly take to solid foods, while another expresses a fair level of reluctance.
It's important not to push your little one to experiment with food before they're ready. However, there are a few strategies you can incorporate to help your baby understand what solid foods are and begin exploring at their own pace.
Continue to Breastfeed or Bottle Feed
Even if your baby takes to solid food like a duck to water, breastmilk and formula contain important nutrients they need for their development and well-being. Continue to provide milk alongside new and exciting solid foods.
As a parent, you can have a considerable impact on your child's relationship with food. One way to increase the likelihood that they develop an adventurous palette is to introduce as wide a variety of foods as possible early on in their life.
Try different flavours, colours, and textures (within reason — raw carrots aren't likely to go down too well!) and encourage your little one to really explore what's on their plate.
As your baby grows into a toddler, child, teenager, and adult, meal time time will represent the opportunity to sit down and connect as a family. The concept of eating as a social event can be introduced when they are as young as six months, helping them form a connection between food and family.
Prepare for Spew and Spills!
For a baby, being introduced to new textures of food can be seen as an opportunity to get a little messy. They also might find that certain foods don't agree with their tummies.
In both cases, keeping a Spewy™ close at hand makes cleaning up a breeze. With its super absorbent properties, waterproof backing and machine-washable nature, the Spewy™ is an essential addition to your BLW arsenal of tools.
When to Start Baby Led Weaning
With the goal of helping babies gain independence by feeding themselves, Baby Led Weaning (BLW) has become an increasingly popular parenting choice.
While BLW can provide a great chance for babies to explore new flavours and textures, this should only happen when they're developmentally ready — ideally, around six months of age. At this point in time, your baby should be able to sit up on their own, have good head and neck control, and make chewing motions with their gums. Meeting these milestones is necessary for them to progress in exploring solid foods.
The Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
There are countless benefits to applying BLW-based strategies, hence the popularity of this feeding method!
BLW supports both the physical and emotional health of your little one by allowing them to explore different textures and tastes of food at their own pace, so they are less likely to refuse them in the future.
Not only does this help develop their palate, but it also helps with early feeding skills like chopping, picking up food with fingers and scooping. This method enables babies to practice their self-feeding skills without relying on pre-mashed purees or spoon-fed meals.
As a parent, you can rest assured knowing that BLW gives your little one an easier time transitioning from breastfeeding or drinking formula to eating solids in a fun and safe manner.
Prepare for Anything with Spewy™
Whatever approach you choose to take, the process of transitioning your little one from milk and formula to solid foods is an exciting one. Prepare for anything this journey might bring with the Spewy™ — a super absorbent burp cloth that makes dealing with reflux and gastro bugs a breeze.
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