The transition to solid food is a significant milestone for infants and, at times, can be difficult for parents to manage. Many of us think of babies throwing tantrums while parents end up wearing their child’s dinner. Pre-purchasing purees can expose your child to artificial additives, chemicals, and even mold while making purees at home can be expensive as well as time-consuming with no guarantee your baby will even eat the food. So what is a parent to do? Keep reading to learn about baby led weaning as an approach to transitioning your infant to solid foods.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby led weaning is a method of introducing solids to your child by allowing them to explore new foods at their own pace and based on their own interests. Practically speaking, your baby will eat with you at meal times and have what the rest of the family is eating which means no purees and no additional food preparation. Additionally, this baby led weaning has several benefits to your infant as well including teaching them to try new things, sensory development, and having a toddler who is a less picky eater.
To protect your little one’s health during baby led weaning, some critical guidelines should be followed. Choking is an obvious concern for most parents, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, if your baby begins to gag on a piece of food, they will clear it on their own. However, on the off chance that your child should actually start to choke, it is an excellent idea to take an infant CPR course or refresher. Another tip is to make sure that the chunks of food you are providing your baby are larger than their fist to make it harder for them to gag or choke. It is also necessary to introduce only one new food at a time to help rule out or determine allergies.
During your baby led weaning feeding sessions, it is imperative that you do not force your infant to eat anything on their plate and that you don’t take food away from them while they are eating it. The point here is to let them decide what they do and do not want to try as well as making up their mind about what they like or don’t like. Finally, the most important reminder is that “food before one is just for fun” because your child is receiving all the nutrition they need from breast milk or formula.