Baby-led weaning is simply letting your baby feed themselves as you introduce solids into their diet: baby learns about food at their own pace and decides how much and even how to eat. BLW focuses on sharing family foods rather than mushy purees. This means no spoon feeding, rewarding, pleading for ‘one more bite’. BLW is all about self-feeding that builds a positive mealtime experience. There are so many benefits:
Less stress for you and baby
Why steam and puree on top of what you're making for the rest of the family for dinner? And let's face it, pleading with baby to take another bite at every meal does take a toll on your patience. BLW lets you focus on choosing and preparing food for the whole family, and lets baby focus on the feeding.
More developmental fun
All of the tastes, textures, smells and sights of food are there for your baby to explore with their little hands, mouth, tongue and teeth (or gums!). Baby can build on their sensory development while they get to know foods in all their forms.
Build brave little taste buds
Introducing a wide variety of flavours and textures can set your little one up for adventurous eating. With BLW, variety is the name of the game - even spice, garlic and bitter green veg! While 'fussy' phases are unavoidable, most babes will return to the flavours of their first foods.
A focus on family meal time
Encouraging baby to tuck in with family meal time builds the association of meal time as an opportunity for social bonding, another healthy habit to build. They will also take cues from the rest of the family: table manners, conversation, eating habits and routines. So model your best :)
Build a healthy relationship with food
A shocking 20% of 2-11 year olds are considered obese. Letting little ones decide when they are hungry and when they are full can build their own sense of appetite control - which is why studies have shown that baby-led weaning leads to leaner kids.
Build baby's confidence
Letting baby lead feeding develops their budding independence and confidence. Cajoling baby into 'one more bite' is not only tiring for parents, but also teaches baby that they don't understand their own hunger. BLW trusts that baby can guide parents on their food needs.
Hello, I'm Brandy, the mama behind Little Gourmet and Let's Eat! A Simple Guide to Baby-Led Weaning. And, maybe like you, I was completely overwhelmed by how to introduce first foods to my Wee Man. It was really important to me to help Wee Man build adventurous taste buds, a nutritious diet to power his development, and a healthy relationship with food - from day one!
Personally, I had a terrible relationship with food in my youth, and even into young adulthood - from overeating to sugar addiction and emotional eating, I've been there and suffered the health consequences. I certainly didn't want the same for my little one.
After Wee Man was born, I spent his first year completely obsessed with learning about nutrition for infants and toddlers, weaning methods, complementary feeding, and all the social and developmental benefits that could come with the right approach to eating.
The mindset shift behind baby-led weaning was a complete light bulb moment for me - and Wee Man has really benefitted from all the lessons BLW taught the both of us. Focusing on family foods and nutrition also helped me sort out my own issues with eating, as our family began to share foods that were suitable for everyone. I remain super passionate (ok, borderline evangelical!) about the BLW approach, and I want to share what I learned with mums and dads everywhere!
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