Baby Led Weaning is letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning. According to recent research, most babies reach for food at around six months, which is also the time that mothers are being encouraged to wean. The distinct advantage of weaning at around six months is that by then, children are developmentally capable of feeding themselves.
The easiest finger foods for young babes are those that are chip-shaped, or have a natural handle, such as broccoli spears. When you baby first tries solids they won’t have developed a pincer grip, and can only clasp foods in their fists. At first your baby may just play with the food. Continue giving your baby milk feeds between mealtimes and as your baby gradually eats more solids, the number of milk feeds will start to decrease.
Baby Led Weaning gives babies the chance to explore food themselves, and encourages them to try different food textures at the beginning of weaning. As long as your baby is ready, it is important to give them foods in soft lumps for them to chew.
It is understandable to worry about your baby choking when they are trying to eat whole foods. As babies can handle and control the amount they eat, the risk of choking is minimal. Remember, babies should never be left alone whilst eating. Try and avoid hard foods, such as chunks of raw apple, until they are older.
Banana is a great fruit to begin baby led weaning and is best served in large chunks for the baby to hold and gnaw. Avocados are full of important nutrients, and are another good food to try served in larger chunks. A great vegetable to try with your baby is roasted red bell peppers, which are a good source of vitamin C. Broccoli is also highly recommended as a food for baby led weaning as the florets are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and are easy for babies to hold.