Will Baby Led Weaning Make My Baby A Better Eater?
Baby Led Weaning is fast becoming a very popular method of weaning your baby on to solids. Many people are opting for this method instead of the traditional form of weaning using purees and spoon-feeds. The reasons behind choosing Baby Led Weaning may vary from person to person but for the most part, it seems to be steeped in the philosophy that it is a more helpful and positive way of weaning your baby on to solids.
Before you begin weaning your baby on to solids it is important to make sure that they are ready. The World Health Organization recommends that you leave it as close to twenty-six weeks as possible. This is when your baby’s digestive system is most likely going to be able to tolerate it better. It also goes hand in hand with the time when your baby is going to be able to sit up and has developed the fine motor skills needed to pick up food and transport it to their mouth. Some babies show signs of readiness earlier than twenty-six weeks but weaning should not begin until your baby is at least seventeen weeks old.
Will Baby Led Weaning lead to a baby that is a better eater? A number of parents will claim that this is true for their children. In families where there are several children, parents have claimed that their “better eaters” are those who were weaned in the Baby Led manner, even if that was not the intention. This is because many people find themselves doing Baby Led Weaning by accident. Offering their baby pieces of finger food rather than spoon-feeding them purees is often easier. It fits in better with the family and is all that time allows for.
There are so many other benefits that Baby Led Weaning offers. Instead of being fed separately the baby is encouraged to join in on the social experience of meal times with the family. As they feed themselves they feel part of the experience from day one and this environment and set-up becomes normal for them.
It also encourages independence in your baby. Rather than being spoon-fed a particular amount decided by the parent, the baby has the autonomy to choose how much they eat and how quickly they eat it too. This can have a positive affect on how your child views food in the future. There is less pressure and stress attached to Baby Led Weaning and it tends to be a positive experience where your child can have a lot of fun while eating. They have the freedom to explore new textures and tastes without the pressure of having to finish them and eat a certain quantity. This could lead to them being more open-minded when it comes to trying new foods in the future.
There are certain studies that show a link between Baby Led Weaning and a healthy BMI in later life. This is considered to be a result of the baby learning how to self-regulate their eating. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. It also teaches them from a young age how to eat safety as they learn to chew and then swallow as well as managing different food textures and sizes.