The good and the bad of choosing baby-led weaning
Advantages of Baby-led Weaning
Cheaper: Cook the same foods that you normally purchase, just learn the proper preparation for the foods. No need to buy special foods marketed for babies.
Baby is involved in family mealtimes: The whole family can sit together and enjoy a family meal. Eating meals as a family has many benefits and is an excellent habit to instill from a young age.
Health long term: Allows breastfed babies to consume as much breastmilk as they want while still consuming table food. Let’s baby eat whole foods without added sugars and keeps processed foods out of baby’s diet.
Independence: Baby-led weaning allows babies to feed themselves. Whether using their hands or spoon/fork they learn to feed themselves which fosters independence and fine motor skill development.
Establish trust and lessen meal time stress: when baby is fed at the family table they get to choose what off their plate they want to eat. There’s no need for bribery or tricks, baby eats what’s on their plate in the order that they choose.
Disadvantages of Baby-led Weaning
Mess: all mealtimes with kids can get messy and baby-led weaning is no exception. With the use of bibs, mats and the towel trick (place a towel under baby’s chair and shake off and wash after mealtime to keep the floor under and around baby’s chair clean) you can mitigate the mess and make clean up much easier.
Knowing proper cuts: When feeding baby certain foods it is important to prepare them in a safe way. Cutting foods into bite-size pieces and cooking foods to the proper temperature is necessary. I suggest all parents have a food thermometer to assure all meats are prepared safely. It’s also very important to always clean food prep surfaces well and use good hygiene.
Always wash hands before and after preparing meals and anytime you touch raw meats.
Amber Ginn IBCLC, IYCFS, CD