Baby Led Weaning

This is an alternative approach to feeding a baby that skips the pureed stage and lets baby feed herself. Baby led feeding introduces baby to table foods right away. Your baby should be approximately 6 months of age in order to use the baby led weaning method. The baby should be able to sit up without help and should have lost the tongue thrust reflex. The baby should be able to grasp foods and bring them up to her mouth. 

Baby led meaning skips pureed food and offers your baby age appropriate soft- cooked or cut/mashed foods that are in easy to pick up pieces. You can even offer your baby a piece of apple to gnaw on or pieces of mashed fruit you cook yourself. The foods are just given to the baby to eat without using a spoon at all until your baby is ready to use the spoon independently. 

You can cook the same vegetables your family is eating and mash a couple of tablespoonfuls of the vegetable for baby to eat on demand. In some ways, it’s more of a hands-off approach than the spoon feeding method and it’s a method that lets baby decide what she wants to eat and how much of it she wants to eat. 

In baby led weaning, you don’t simply fill up the baby’s tray and walk away. You can sit by the child and encourage her eating certain foods. Or you can pull the highchair up to the table when the family eats and let the baby eat right along with  the family and often with the same foods. You can encourage your baby and even guide food up to the mouth but don’t put it in the mouth. The portion sizes are set by the baby and the baby will be gumming or chewing the food all on her own. 

by the baby and the baby will be gumming or chewing the food all on her own. Most babies will eat exactly the right amount of the various foods you give her, especially if you take the time to put a variety of foods out there for baby. Advo- cates of baby led weaning believe that babies allowed to make their own choices early are able to better control what their bodies will need in the future and will make nourishing choices.