No More Mashed Foods: The Benefits of Baby Led Weaning

January 7, 2018

In today’s article we want to talk about the many benefits of baby led weaning as a way to introduce your child to a complementary diet.

According to experts, many parents wait too long before they start introducing their baby to solid food. Do you know why?

When a baby starts to chew on his own hand, many parents assume it’s because he’s about to get his first teeth. But actually, this is something your baby does to prepare himself for eating.

Over and over again, you’ll see your baby put his hand in his mouth. And not only his hand, but anything and everything he finds. And once he’s got something in his mouth, he starts to chew.

When the time comes to start giving their baby food, many parents start out with mashed or pureed food. However, if your child becomes too accustomed to these textures, problems may arise.

There may come a point when he no longer feels the need to grab things and put them in his mouth. And his curiosity for trying new things may disappear.

Remember that your baby’s nutrition is the foundation for his health.

“If I eat and sleep well, then I’m not sick”

-Anonymous-

According to experts, many parents take too long to introduce foods that aren’t pureed or mashed into their child’s diet

Countless studies have shown that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for babies during their first months of life.

However, after 6 months, nursing should be accompanied by a complementary diet. This diet should be guided by your child’s needs, as well as his maturity and the interest he shows in food.

If you give your baby solid foods early on, then he will develop the ability to manipulate them in his mouth without choking. The sooner a child develops this skill, the less risk there is of choking.

This is where we introduce “baby led weaning,” or BLW. BLW allows your child to be an active participant in his feeding. It also helps to prevent childhood obesity.

baby led weaning or BLW

What is baby led weaning?

BLW is a specific method for introducing your child’s complementary diet. It is based on offering your child whole foods that he can grab and bring to his mouth, rather than spoon-feeding your baby mashed food.

The key to this technique is giving your little one the same foods that the rest of the family is eating.

Instead of mashing the food, you give your child portions that he can easily pick up with his hands. For example, you can give your baby pieces of green beans, potatoes, bananas, pears, etc.

Your baby can pick the foods up himself and put them in his mouth. This allows him to experiment not only with different tastes, but also with different textures. And by chewing, he will strengthen the muscles in his mouth.

At first, your baby will probably eat very little. But over time, he will come to eat larger quantities.

Once your child has tried his food and shown that he doesn’t want anymore, then you can offer to nurse him or give him his bottle to make sure he’s full.

The BLW method allows your child to take on a more active role in which he regulates the amount of food he takes in. He also better develops the sensation of being full, which helps to prevent childhood obesity.

Basic recommendations for the BLW method

To guarantee that your child’s energy needs are being met and to avoid the risk of choking, it’s extremely important to be attentive when it comes to your baby’s nutrition.

  • Offer foods that provide sufficient energy
  • Continue breastfeeding
  • Provide foods each day that contain iron
  • Watch your baby at all times and adapt the food to his needs

It’s important to remember that children between the ages of 1 and 3 grow at a much faster rate than adults. Therefore, you might be surprised to see your 2-year-old eating more than his parents.

the benefits of baby led weaning

The benefits of baby led weaning

  • Promotes breastfeeding
  • The acquisition of healthy eating habits
  • Establishes eating habits tied to the sensation of being full
  • Promotes the child’s motor development
  • Greater acceptance of food that are normally eaten by the family, with a variety of textures and flavors
  • The child consumes healthier foods
  • BLW is more respectful towards the child
  • The complimentary diet is seen as a learning process
  • The baby decides how much to eat – quantity doesn’t matter

 

  • Fewtrell M, Bronsky J, Campoy C, Domellöf M, Embleton N, Fidler Mis N, et al. Complementary feeding: a position paper by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). Committee on Nutrition. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017 Jan;64(1):119-32.
  • Vissers KM, Feskens EJM, van Goudoever JB, Janse AJ. The timing of initiating complementary feeding in preterm infants and its effect on overweight: a systematic review. Ann Nutr Metab. 2018;72(4):307-15.
  • Pérez-Escamilla R, Segura-Pérez S, Lott M. Feeding guidelines for infants and young toddlers: A responsive parenting approach. Nutrition Today. 2017;52(5):223-31.