What Is Baby Led Weaning
Many mothers are interested in trying Baby Led Weaning as their way of introducing solids to their baby.
Is it a method that suits you are your baby? Here are some common questions that mothers ask about Baby Led Weaning.
1. How is Baby Led Weaning different to Traditional Weaning?
The main points of difference are that in Baby Led Weaning:
- Only healthy babies born with no weight issues, dietary or developmental issues are recommended to use this method
- The baby should be 6 months old due to their neck and core strength
- You do not use purees
- Your baby feeds themself
2. Why is it so popular now?
Research came out last year linking the use of Baby Led Weaning to a reduction in the development of obesity in children. This was due to various factors with one of most positive correlations being because the baby is encourage to feed themself, they stop when they are no longer hungry and therefore retain their ability to detect their satiety. They do not overeat.
It is also a popular method as there have also been connections between Baby Led Weaning and a reduction in fussiness of the child’s eating behaviours; a greater acceptance of different flavours and textures and a greater enjoyment of food.
3. So what foods does the baby eat?
They basically eat what is on your plate. A diet based on all five food groups with no restrictions. This is now on par with the Australian Dietary Infant feeding guidelines (as long as there are no allergies in your home).
With the change in the Infant feeding guidelines at the beginning of the year, there are no delays in introducing commonly allergenic foods such as dairy, egg or fish.
Similarly with Baby Led Weaning, babies can eat all food groups from 6 months.
4. What texture is the food?
There are two schools of thought. Firstly the idea is actually to eat firm foods at the beginning that the baby can grate on. This is so it does not break off into chunks and in lodge in their airway.
The other idea is that like traditionally weaned baby’s finger foods, the food should be soft enough to mash easily between your thumb and forefinger. Think well cook carrot.
The idea is that the food is able to be held in the grasp of the baby, so think long strips or large chunks of vegetables like broccoli florets, half bananas, steamed green beans, homemade rusks.
5. Will my baby choke?
There hasn’t been any reported increase in choking with the technique of Baby Led Weaning. Potentially there is more gagging but this is something quite normal and quite reassuring although it does not sound like it.
Gagging is noisy, choking is silent. This is the most important difference.
If you suspect your child is gagging, allow a few moments to see if they can get it up themselves and then if they do not, go into action and assume they are choking.
Choking is silent. You will not hear it as they cannot get any air in to make any noise.
The most important point is to be with your baby at all times while eating, whether you are using the Traditional method of eating or if you are using the Baby Led Weaning technique.
For more questions ask your health professional.
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