Baby led weaning certainly does not suit everyone. And as a parent, it’s entirely your choice how and when you introduce your baby to food. We know all too well how many opinions, different research studies and articles tell you the “best” way to do things. Just stick with your instinct (and remember, you know your baby better than anyone!) and you’ll be fine!
What is Baby Led Weaning
Put simply, baby led weaning (BLW) is where a baby learns to chew before they swallow. Traditional spoon feeding is the opposite – babies learn to swallow before they chew. This gives babies the chance to experiment with a range of textures and tastes. Experts advise that the best method of baby led weaning is to let your baby choose their own meal from an array of finger foods placed in front of them (four of five tends to be a good number). Baby led weaning is really the ultimate form of letting your child play with their food. And, by default, this means that there is likely to be a heap of mess.
Beyond that, baby led weaning babies are encouraged to –
- join the family at mealtime and self-feed finger foods
- choose what, how much, and how quickly to eat
- explore new tastes and textures without pressure to eat a specific food or amount of food
- continue to breast feed or have a bottle just as often as they did prior to having first foods.
Importantly, the baby is trusted to know when to increase foods and decrease milk (this usually happens later in the first year).
Here comes the mess
As your baby explores foods for the first time, there is likely to be mushed up bits of food dribbling from the chin, hand and all over the table – and inevitably this falls into their lap and onto the floor. Enter the catch all bib. Now, there are a heap of pocket bibs on the market, but the Mucky Bubba bib is the only one boasting a sticky strip which means the gap between the table and your baby that exists with every other bib available simply doesn’t exist. It is filled with the ultimate catch all pocket, keeping your baby, their clothes, and the floor cleaner!
Recommended first foods
The rules on this change so often, and yet the “basics” seem to remain unchanged. In particular, the age at which to begin baby led weaning is the most often changed (between four and six months being the most popular).
Here are a few suggestions on some great first foods to let your bubba explore the world of food
- Vegetables like carrot, avocado, green beans, zucchini and pumpkin
- Fruits including apple, banana, pear, plum and watermelon (after a while you will introduce berries which contain juice prone to staining fabric bibs. With the Mucky Bubba catch all bib, you simply wipe it clean as the material is stain resistant – even less mess!)
- Pulses and beans
- Wholefood grains like rice and quinoa
Here are some handy articles to check out for more information on baby led weaning:
- Baby Center
- Belly Belly – first foods
- Essential Baby – a list of pros and cons of baby led weaning