Although baby-led weaning may seem trendy, it has been used for centuries. Long before baby food commercials and parenting Facebook groups, moms around the world introduced solids by offering real food to their babies.
Over the past 50 years, the baby and toddler food industry have changed so much about how babies eat. Jars of food are labeled by stage. Toddlers are eating food labeled as “toddler food.” We like to think of BLW as a much-welcomed back-to-basics approach to feeding. There are no special meals just for baby; instead, BLW offers a simple focus on nutrient-packed whole foods for the entire family.
Babies are born intuitive eaters. They respond to this intuition, which lets them know both when they are hungry and when they are full, and they instinctively eat the amount of food they need to grow into the body that is right for them. BLW is the perfect approach to preserve this incredible instinct and allows your babe to grow into a child with a healthy, happy relationship with food.
Why Baby-led Weaning Works
With baby-led weaning, complementary foods are introduced closer to 6 months of age, rather than the typical age of solids introduction, which is around four months. Developmentally, this small variation in age makes a difference. Most babies do not need to begin with thin purées and progress through stages. Since they start a little older with BLW, most babies can head straight into feeding themselves soft solids at the family table.
Benefits Of Baby-led Weaning
BLW is more than just cute sticks of avocado. The goal in baby-led weaning is to encourage the development of a lifelong healthy relationship with food. Other benefits include the following:
•It may prevent picky eating. With a focus on variety, your baby is exposed to many different flavors and textures that they can explore at theirs. These factors are beneficial in building adventurous eaters.
•It’s practical. No major prepping, steaming, puréeing, portioning, or storing is necessary. Also, no need to purchase any particular foods. You can begin with what you have in your kitchen right now and provide meals that are typical to your unique family.
•It is a great way to practice fine motor and oral motor skills. Although babies progress without “practice” and on different timelines, handling foods of different sizes and textures helps develop hand-eye coordination and chewing assists in developing facial muscles that are important for learning to talk.
•It may lead to healthier eating for the whole family. BLW puts the focus on the entire, unprocessed foods with particular emphasis on healthy fats and certain micronutrients. Because the baby is eating with the family, it’s common for the whole family to join in eating a more nutrient-packed diet.
•It emphasizes the importance of family mealtimes. Babies are born with the instinct to eat and learn, but they master these skills by watching us at the table. BLW encourages routine family mealtimes, which can have a significant positive impact on the health and spirit of the whole family!
•It builds a fantastic relationship with food right from the beginning. we often see mealtimes become a power struggle between parents and babies. A baby-led method means trusting your baby to eat as much as they need to grow, and consequently, establishing a relaxed relationship between parent and babe defuses this mealtime anxiety. When you allow your baby to remain in charge of how much or even if they eat, you significantly increase the chances of a positive experience.
•Encourages healthy body weight. Allowing your baby to become familiar with and embrace their intuitive responses to hunger and fullness lets them grow into the body that is right for them.