Baby Led Weaning
What does the evidence say?
What is baby led weaning?
Baby led weaning (BLW) is a method of introducing solid foods into a baby’s diet that skips the purees and goes straight to finger foods. Because purees are skipped, children should not start on solids with baby led weaning until they are 6 months of age and are developmentally able to feed themselves. Make sure you read the Foublie article on how to know when your baby is ready for solids. Research suggests that by 6-7 months, 87% of babies will be able to reach out and grab for food. For the first few months of baby led weaning, the goal is primarily to give the child exposure to food. Most of their calories will still be coming from breast milk and/or formula.
Now to the Research on BLW
The BLISS study used a modified approach where parents were educated on ways to address nutrition, choking, and growth and found that micronutrient intake, choking, and growth were comparable to traditionally/spoon-fed infants. Sweet! This means either approach has backing by science.
Here’s a summary of what we know from this and other studies
Pros of Baby Led Weaning
Cons of Baby Led Weaning
Baby is in control of how much they eat – less likely to overfeed
Very dependent on parent nutrition knowledge – great opportunity to learn from your Foublie coach!
More likely to experience responsive feeding (child chooses how much/what they will eat)
Less risk for overweight in some studies, though a recent randomized controlled study showed no difference in weight
High risk foods offered if family eating high in sugar, salt, and highly processed foods (may be due to lack of nutrition knowledge)
Self-regulated, self-paced feeding
May not offer appropriate foods to get micronutrient needs (specifically iron)
Later introduction of solids (longer time exclusively breast or bottle feeding)
Increased risk of choking with inappropriate foods offered
Reported decrease in picky eating
Do what feels right! Foublie will support you to do puree all the way or BLW (or even a combo).
If you are interested in baby led weaning for your infant, current research recommends speaking with a healthcare professional to ensure adequacy of the diet. A Foublie coach is a great place to start!
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