Ask An Expert: Do I Have to Do Baby Led Weaning?

By Melanie Potock

What’s the best way to feed your baby?  The best way is to respond in a loving, nurturing, and supportive manner to help baby learn.  That’s it.  You’re good at that!  It’s called Responsive Feeding.

Offering pieces of safe-hand held solids because baby indicates hunger and interest? That’s Responsive Feeding. 

Offering a spoon-full of homemade puree because baby indicated hunger and interest? That’s Responsive Feeding.

Offering a bite of soft avocado from your fingers because baby indicates hunger and interest?  That’s Responsive Feeding.

Offering some roasted sweet potato on a child-safe utensil indicates hunger and interest? That’s Responsive Feeding.

Think of Responsive Feeding as a dance.  Your baby takes the lead by communicating hunger and interest, and you respond by joining in, providing nourishing & safe options for baby to explore, taste and/or eat.  After over twenty years as a pediatric feeding specialist, there’s one thing I learned on DAY ONE of my training and it’s held true ever since: The best way to feed any child is by reading their cues and responding in a supportive, loving manner.  


Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLPis an international speaker on the topic of feeding babies, toddlers and school age kids. She is the co-author of the award-winning Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating (2015) and Baby Self-Feeding: Solutions for Introducing Purees and Solids to Create Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits (2016). The tips in her cookbook for parents & kids, Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables with 100 Easy Activities and Recipes (2018) are based on the latest research and Melanie’s 20 years of success as a pediatric feeding therapist. Melanie’s children’s book You are Not an Otter takes preschoolers on a food adventure, exploring all the ways that various animals eat! Melanie’s advice has been shared in a variety of television and print media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Parents Magazine.  Contact her at for more articles, professional tips, and helpful videos to raise your adventurous eater and follow Mel on Instagram and Facebook too!