The Benefits of Baby-led Weaning
If you’re looking to give your baby a proactive start in life — you should consider baby-led weaning. This feeding method skips ‘baby foods’ and goes straight into allowing the baby to eat soft foods when they’re ready. Clancy Cash Harrison, the author of Feeding Baby, describes the incredible benefits of this method: “Baby-led weaning supports the development of hand-eye coordination, chewing skills, dexterity, and healthy eating habits. It also offers babies an opportunity to explore the taste, texture, aroma, and color of a variety of foods."
Consider this before you start baby-led weaning
You should only consider baby-led weaning when your baby is prepared to make the transition. Here’s how you’ll know when your baby is ready: your baby should be able to properly hold their neck up and sit on their highchair on their own. You also want to make sure that your baby has the ability to move their jaw up and down. While there’s no specific age that acts as a benchmark to begin this method, most babies will show signs of readiness anywhere between six to twelve months old.
While it can feel like a scary leap to go directly from breastfeeding to feeding your child actual foods, it’s completely safe to do so. You should begin the journey of baby-led weaning with soft foods that can be easily swallowed such as pieces of banana or avocado. It’s important that you start with simple foods that contain very little ingredients so you can identify if your child has any food allergies right away. After your child gets used to feeding themselves, you can slowly implement other foods like pasta and chicken. Babies are not able to properly process excess salt or spices — so please keep their food a little more bland than you would like your own to taste.
Baby-led weaning is a wonderful way to kickstart your child’s cognitive development. You may even be surprised by your infant’s remarkable capabilities! As a parent, it’s a great decision to begin challenging your child from a young age so they can prepare for whatever obstacles life throws their way.