Helping your child reach important milestones, like being weaned from milk to solid foods, is something that can occupy a lot of space in a parent’s mind. It's normal to worry about finding a weaning style that's suits your child.
Understanding the options can help you make a better decision for your family. Today we’re going to take a closer look at baby led weaning: the process of giving your child freedom to explore new foods on their own terms, by offering them small, soft pieces of finger food rather than spoon feeding them.
How does it work?
Baby led weaning can start from around six months, and centres on the principle of letting your child feed themselves without adult assistance. This means that it’s important that your child can sit up on their own and have strong neck control before starting. You would feed them a selection of soft, age appropriate finger foods and allow them to explore the different tastes and textures.
When should baby led weaning happen?
Baby led weaning is an unhurried process, so it’s important to be patient. Experts advise that it may be weeks or even months before your child starts to show interest in the foods that you’re offering them. This is fine, as they should still be receiving the calories and nutrition that they need from their milk until they are 12 months old.
What is the parents’ role?
Although you shouldn’t step in to feed your baby, you do need to be very present. This means keeping a close eye to ensure that there is no risk of choking. The foods that you choose should help to ensure that weaning is happening safely, too. It’s generally recommended that baby led weaning takes place during family mealtimes. This can help to develop a sense of structure around food.
You should also expect things to get messy. You’re encouraging your child to explore food, not simply sit and eat it. For this reason, we definitely recommend investing in a long sleeve bib that can help to catch some of the mess. This will help you to avoid getting stressed, and keep baby led weaning as a relaxed process. Take a look at our range of long sleeve bibs, with different designs to brighten up meal times.
What foods are suitable?
There are loads of different foods that you can use to encourage your baby to start eating solid foods. Soft fruits cut into chunks are an obvious place to start, but here are some other options:
- Well-cooked vegetables. Carrot and broccoli are good options, just make sure they’re nice and soft
- Mashed potato
- Fromage frais
- Hardboiled egg, cut into quarters
- Well-cooked pasta
- Strips of chicken or turkey
With some of these foods, like mashed potato and fromage frais, you’ll need to provide a spoon too – that’s a great way to start getting your child used to using cutlery. A fun dinner set can really help your baby to get excited about this.
We supply brilliant bamboo dinner sets for babies, featuring popular designs with favourites like vehicles and unicorns. Choosing a special dinner set can make mealtimes feel special, making it a great addition to baby led weaning.