Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) simply means skipping purée foods and introducing your baby to table foods right from the beginning. This way, babies feed themselves when they are ready and there is no spoon feeding! Although this method can seem a little nonconventional to some parents, it has many benefits for both babies and parents. Here are some benefits of BLW:
BLW may help prevent picky eating
Pickiness is less likely because the babies are given the opportunity to eat what the rest of the family is eating and are eating normal foods from the start. Many children get stuck on the purée phase because they reject lumpier textures and are not progressed to table foods in a timely manner. BLW gives the opportunity to children to play with food and learn about it in a very natural way. When babies feed themselves, they learn about the taste, texture, smell and look of different foods. Purées all have the same texture. When each food is offered separately, it allows babies to discover their likes/dislikes and allows them to make choices. There is absolutely no pressure for babies to eat and mealtimes don’t become a battleground.
Ready-made purée foods can be expensive. BLW is budget friendly because the baby eats what the rest of the family eats and parents also save money on all the equipment and containers needed to store and freeze purée food.
Babies become mindful eaters
Purée fed babies can often be over-fed. Parents try to play all kinds of silly games to distract the babies to open their mouths. Even when babies are not interested and spit out food, often parents gather the food up with the spoon and put it right back into the baby’s mouth. This doesn’t allow babies to follow their natural hunger/satiety cues.
It allows babies to reach their potential and gain confidence
BLW gives the freedom to babies to learn. They get to practice skills such as hand-eye coordination and chewing at each mealtime. Chewing whole foods instead of swallowing purées allows babies to develop facial muscles. When self-feeding is encouraged, babies get to practice gripping foods of different size and shape which works on their fine motor skills. Exploring food in a natural way and mastering the skills of self-feeding makes babies confident eaters.
Naureen Hunani, RD, Family Nutritionist
Naureen will be giving a presentation on baby led weaning on the 21st March from 10:00am-12:00pm at Kiddo Active therapy at the Pointe-Claire Plaza.
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Kiddo Active Therapy is a team of health professionals who specialize in helping children and families overcome developmental challenges. Their blog posts discuss a wide range of developmental topics throughout childhood and adolescence as their therapists do their best to inform families, answer their questions, and address the daunting “what do I do now?” questions. With articles from occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nutritionists/dieticians, and speech/language pathologists, they address the concerns of families with children who are struggling to accomplish what they want to do.