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What is Baby-Led Weaning?

You may have heard the term baby-led weaning and are confused by what it means. Trust me, this is totally understandable! Baby-led weaning is an alternative way to introduce your baby to their first foods. Typically, when we think of starting babies on solid, we think spoon feeding. Baby-led purees (also known as spoon feeding) is not the only way to start your baby on solids. So, lets learn about baby-led weaning!


What exactly is baby-led weaning


When you think of the term “weaning” we often think of a baby weaning from breastmilk or formula. So, the term baby-led weaning can be misleading. Dr. Jean Moorjani, a pediatrician at Orlando Health’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, stated that instead of thinking of it as baby-led weaning, think of it as baby-led feeding. I couldn’t agree more! Baby-led weaning simply means that your baby is leading the way with his or her feedings. You are ditching the spoons and purees and going straight to safe foods that your baby can pick up on their own and eat at their own pace.


Benefits of baby-led weaning


If you have ever seen a baby try to feed themselves, you know it can be messy. I say, “embrace the mess!” Allowing babies to explore, pick up, play, and touch their food could encourage a baby to become a more adventurous eater down the road. Baby-led weaning encourages little ones to experience variety of textures, colors and flavors of different foods.


Finger foods at an early age is a great way for babies to develop their hand eye coordination. When babies are small, they are likely to use their palm or their whole hand to pick something up. By offering finger food that is the correct size, shape and texture, babies learn to use their pincer grasp-meaning picking food up with their thumb and index finger.


With baby-led weaning, your baby will learn independence, and is in total control of how much they want to eat. A lot of time when we spoon food our babies, we are putting the spoon in their mouth without giving them time to think about the next spoonful. We want our babies to have full control of how much they eat, which is a great way to self-regulate their appetite.




References

Oh Baby Academy: Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)

Today Show: What is baby-led weaning, and should I do that instead of spoon feeding



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