Being a mommy, I keep on searching for the latest parenting techniques to give the best to my child. And recently when my baby started having solids, I came across the word “Baby-led weaning”. In the last few years, it has become a big trend for new parents. When it comes to introducing solids to babies, people wonder if self-feeding over spoon-fed weaning is the best choice for the baby.
If your baby is also at the age of starting solids, keep on reading this blog to explore more about baby-led weaning and its pros and cons.
What is BLW (baby-led weaning)?
We can say that it is an alternative method to introducing solids which involves offering baby-sized pieces of regular foods that we eat. Instead of giving purees and spoon-feeding, you can start serving small pieces of food to your baby. BLW is an exciting journey as it allows your baby to experience new tastes and textures. Your baby will learn this new skill step by step as it is not going to happen overnight. BLW has many benefits but still, we need to keep some safety measures in mind. To keep your baby safe, there are some watch-outs that a new parent must keep in mind.
Are there any negatives to Baby-Led Weaning?
Babies get ready for early food when they are 20 weeks old. As their digestive system develops sufficiently to digest foods other than breastmilk or formula milk, they are ready to take solids. But small babies lack hand-to-eye coordination which is needed for BLW. So, the major drawback of BLW is that babies will somehow need a more gradual transition from milk to solids.
Serving babies certain foods before they have developed the required motor skills could lead to choking or vomiting. So, if your baby is lacking or is slow in motor skills, they will not be able to feed themselves.
In BLW it gets harder to find out any allergic reaction to the foods given to the baby. If you have given wheat, rice, and banana on the same day without trying them individually, it could lead to allergic reactions and you won’t be able to find out the specific food allergies.
Babies can also miss the window to learn how to chew and be exposed to solids.
Babies are less likely to learn the consistency of taste and textures. They may experience delays in speech and dental development.
At the beginning of the BLW, it can be very messy! A lot of food ends up on the floor for at least a month or two until a baby has learned eating skills.
What are the positives of BLW?
Babies can learn a lot from playing with food. They can learn how to hold something without dropping it, they can learn to grasp different shapes, sizes and weights, and textures. Self-feeding involves all the senses which help babies to understand the world around them in a better way.
Self-feeding will develop confidence in babies and they will realize that they are capable of making things happen. This will boost their self-esteem.
With BLW, babies will try new foods and eat or leave as per their choice.
Some research has found that babies who are offered a limited variety of foods could develop fussiness which makes the fussy eater in later stages. Whereas, babies that are allowed to explore a wide range of foods for themselves tend to accept new foods more willingly.
When your baby learns to self regulate hunger, he will be less likely to become overweight as they get older. They are less likely to overeat if they are allowed to choose what they eat from a range of nutritious foods, eat at their own pace and decide when they have had enough.
Getting messy is perfectly fine! It may even help reduce the stress some babies experience when they have things on their hands.
BLW encourages involvement in family mealtimes from the start which has a positive impact on their social skills as they learn how different foods are eaten, how to share and join in conversations.