Baby-led weaning: No more mashes and purees

how and wen a baby can start to eat solid food themselves - ZenParent

What it is?

In simple baby-led weaning means the baby eats what the family eats (minus the salt, sugar, chili and honey) This method does not include cereals/purees or dal ka paani. No spoon-feeding whatsoever. A baby eats because they want to eat so no distractions like umpteen number of stories, rhymes and television. Baby-led weaning is a mindful and respectful approach to help your baby start and enjoy solids from six months on.

Come to think of it, this practice of allowing the child to self feed existed traditionally where there was an absence of any sort of machinery to grind or mash, very less time to fuss over a child because of the work of looking after a home. But gradually over the years, this concept took a back seat and the age of purees and mashes set in.

make kids to feed solids themselves - ZenParent

However, recent years have now seen a come-back. There is now a fairly large community of parents following BLW and they believe that it encourages healthy and good food habits and practices.

BLW is a very specific method of introducing solids that advocates the following things:

  1. Babies can self feed suitably modified family food from the first day of solids.
  2. Babies do not eat purees, mashes or special baby food.
  3. No spoon feeding baby
  4. Babies join family meals from day one
  5. Babies are not distracted or forced in any way to eat any food they don’t want, nor are they coaxed to eat more than what they want.

By six months, babies have strong teeth under their gums. As parents they believe their job is to provide nutritious food. And it is the baby’s job to learn to eat on their own and eat as much as they want to.

make kids to have food themselves at 6 month - ZenParent

Basics of Baby-Led Weaning:

  1. The Baby Must Be Ready: The most important things to watch out for are sitting up unsupported, losing the tongue thrust reflex, being at least six months old and the baby being interested in food.
  2. Share Table Food: BLW approach believes that babies can eat normal food with adjustments made for salt and spice and a few ingredients (like honey). Let the baby join you at mealtimes.
  3. Allow Baby To Be In Control: Do not feed the baby. Let baby start to pick up food and try and learn to handle it. Babies love to imitate and they will eventually try and get some food in their mouth. Do not be worried if the baby plays with his/her food for the first few weeks. He/she is learning the art of self feeding. Give him/her time. Also be ready to clean up a whole lot of mess!
  4. Learn The Difference Between Choking and Gagging: Babies learn to chew rather than suck when you give them unmashed food. Sometimes, they gag on food and this is normal. Read up to understand the difference between gagging and choking and essential first aid if a baby chokes must be known.
  5. Experiment with Fruits/ Vegetables And Textures: Start by giving fist sized vegetables and fruit portions. For example, steamed vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots etc. Or foods like pieces of soft chapathi, idlis etc. and gradually progress to normal table food like chapathi dipped in dal, curry rice balls, stir fried veggies/sabzi which is chopped small, etc…Everything that the family eats minus the salt, sugar, honey and spice.

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