In recent years we are talking increasingly of the baby-led weaning method or self-regulation power by the baby as a way to introduce complementary feeding. It basically involves bypassing log phase puree and crushed, but letting the child is discovering it only the textures and flavors of solid foods. Since this method is spreading more and parents often have many doubts, we explain its advantages, its drawbacks, and some tips on how to do it.
What is baby-led weaning?
The baby-led weaning is a method of introduction complementary feeding in which the child himself regulates the introduction of solid foods, without giving crushed or mashed with a spoon, but testing them by himself, exactly. This way of introducing them in supplementary feeding is very common in the United States, and starts to spread strongly in Europe.
The exact meaning of the term ‘baby-led weaning’ is that the adopted child complementary feeding based on their needs and tastes. In this way, the baby sits with the rest of the family at mealtime and joins others when ready; first using his hands and then covered.
The creator of this method, Gill Rapley (nutritionist and associate director of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) of UNICEF UK), gathers in his book Helping your baby to love good food scientific and anthropological bases that support this form of start feeding. In the network there is a brochure-summary of his book, authorized by the author, in which an extract of its advantages, and tips on how to do it.
What is the based on the baby-led weaning?
As recommended by the WHO, breast milk is the ideal food for the baby exclusively for up to six months. From that time should start the progressive introduction of a varied diet (which does not mean that breast milk be withdrawn, as the WHO recommends keeping up to two years and, from there, until mother and baby wish to).
At six months, usually, babies are able to sit upright and begin to show more interest in all that surrounds them, especially the food. Indeed, the mouth is its main “body of exploration”, since they want to take it all to this. According to the author defends the baby-led weaning method, starting from this age babies already are trained to pick up pieces of food adapted to their size, put them in the mouth, and start chewing.
Before, when babies began with complementary feeding after three or four months, they were given purees because they were too small to eat alone. If you have managed to maintain exclusive breastfeeding to six months and the baby begins to take interest in food, you can start a supplementary feeding without going through the phase of purees, baby food and crushed, but directly with solids, and without using spoon.
With the baby-led weaning, baby sit at the table with parents and eats the same as them, always and when it is easy chewing that don’t offer danger, and with a gradual introduction of different foods to prevent allergies and intolerances.