So, you've heard a bit about baby led weaning but aren't quite sure where to start. After all, there are SO many resources out there. Don't worry, that's why we've put together this blog post. Keep scrolling!
Let's start with what. Essentially, baby led weaning is all about allowing your baby to explore during mealtime by letting them feed themselves and enjoy the same foods that we eat (versus purees).
Okay, so... why? Some benefits of baby led weaning include...
- Nutrition. Since baby isn't just eating purees, they're being exposed to a higher variety of vitamins and nutrients.
- Involvement during family mealtime. Baby is offered the same meal as the rest of the family & is able to feed themselves versus being spoon fed.
- Improves dexterity. (grabease utensils were designed with this in mind!)
- Improves oral motor skills.
- Improves palate. Again, baby is not just eating purees so they're exposed to a multitude of tastes and textures.
- Increases mindful eating habits. Allowing baby to feed themself helps them build awareness about when they're feeling full.
And now you might be thinking, "This all sounds great! When can I start?" Well, since babies reach milestones at different ages (which is perfectly fine and normal!), there's no specific age recommendation. Rather, keep an eye out for the following signs.
- Able to sit upright independently.
- Able to eat solids.
- Reaching out for and showing interest in foods.
- Opening mouth to suck/chew on items.
- Alert during mealtimes.
Wait! Baby led weaning is great because it fosters independence, but with that comes the risk of choking. Here are some things you can do to alleviate your fears.
- Sit your baby upright.
- Minimize distractions during mealtime.
- Offer appropriate foods (e.g. cut into small pieces, cooked until soft, etc).
- Understand the difference between choking and gagging. (Gagging sounds scary but it's okay! Your baby is learning how to move food around in their mouth and swallow.)
- Stay informed on how to perform infant CPR.