Baby led weaning
Infant

Feeding Solids: Baby-Led or Traditional Weaning?

Feeding babies is another exciting task for parents. I was tempted to start solids to my baby when he hit the 4-month mark and showed the signs of readiness. His pediatrician also gave a thumbs up to start solids at 4 months of age.

After a bit of research, I found out that the new way to feed babies is the baby-led weaning approach where the babies are made to eat on their own. But I being brought up in India have seen moms feeding their babies traditionally with mashed and pureed food. Now it was my turn to decide what was going to be the best way to introduce solids for my baby.

Let us now have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the baby-led and traditional weaning.

Traditional Weaning

In the traditional weaning approach, the baby is spoon-fed by the parent. Traditional purees, porridge or mashed and semi-solid foods are fed to the baby. Purees are of a silky smooth consistency in the start and slowly the lumpier textures are introduced.

Pros:

  • Easier to know how much the baby has eaten.
  • Not messy.
  • Easier to identify food allergies, as foods are introduced gradually.
  • No risk of choking or gagging.

Cons:

  • Have to make a separate meal for the baby and get frustrated if the baby doesn’t eat it! 😛
  • It is time-consuming to feed the baby.
  • If babies get too used to smooth textures, it may be difficult to move them to other textures.
  • There are many restrictions on what to feed the baby like no meat till 6 months, no spices till one year.

Baby-Led Weaning

In this approach, babies are encouraged to self-feed from the start. They are offered soft finger foods to explore and eat at their own pace. Most foods can be introduced except few like honey and unpasteurized foods.

Pros:

  • It encourages independent eating sooner.
  • Baby can explore food with his hands and can understand the food textures.
  • It reduces the need for separate cooking, as family meals are usually appropriate.
  • The whole family can eat together.

Cons:

  • The risk of choking, so the parent should be always attentive while the baby is eating.
  • It can be very messy!
  • Difficult to know how much food the baby has eaten.

So these were some facts about the two approaches of the introduction of solids to your baby.

What do I follow?

I was fascinated with the baby-led weaning approach and decided to start with it. Both Bilal and I enjoyed it so much. I was in awe of how well he could manage his food, from such a young age. He would squish a few pieces, lick them, apply them to his face and head and explored them totally before finally eating them!

It was a treat to see him enjoy and understand the food! He is one year old now and eats almost everything on his own and also developed a liking for certain foods which he enjoys very much. He is also good with the spices as I introduced him to every spice from the start. Check out the list of what I fed him since he was 4 months old.

According to me, baby-led weaning is the best approach to follow with the babies to ensure healthy eating habits from the start. But at the end of the day it is your choice to decide what works for you and your little one. Happy Feeding! 😀

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