What is baby led weaning?
Baby led weaning or BLW is letting your child feed themselves rather than poking pureed food in to their mouths. This means no pureed food, no baby rice, no blueberrie and broccoli combos just ordinary food cut into hold-able sized pieces for your baby to munch on.
Not a lot of formal research has been conducted regarding BLW although small studies have shown that babies are more likely to eat a wide range of family foods early on and be less picky if they have been allowed to feed themselves. Many mothers on Mumsnet maintain that BLW has been much easier for them and their little ones seem to enjoy it and be healthy.
You can start BLW from six months although it is advised that you carry on breast feeding or giving your baby formula milk in between mealtimes. Your baby will slowly start decreasing the amount of milk they take in as they eat more solids.
You could with sticks of steamed vegetables such as carrots and broccoli also sticks of soft fruit and vegetables like mangos and avocados. Dont give honey or nuts to any child under one because this can be very dangerous. Always watch your child when they are eating and learn the difference between choking and gagging, many little ones will gag when they start feeding themselves so try and be relaxed about it but make sure you know exactly what to do in case they do start to choke. Be careful with raw pear and apple because they can be quite hard so you could lightly steam them or even fry them with a little butter and cinnamon for a very yummy snack.
Babies can find it hard to chew on well cooked meat which is a good source of iron so make sure you include other foods with high iron content such as hummus or beans. Try not to put the food in to your childs mouth, rather pop some different things in front of him such as steamed sweet potato and cucumber and let them play and discover these foods on their own. It is much better to put them straight on to their high chair tray rather than in a bowl as bowls and plates have a tendency to get flung on the floor!
BLW can get very messy so make sure you and your baby are dressed for smushed banana and smeared tomato sauce! If its warm outside your little one can sit outside in just a nappy and happily experiment with lots of foods, just make sure you are watching closely the whole time and you have your camera ready for all the messy pictures!
BLW is easy to do anywhere as all you have to do is pop some ready prepared finger foods in a Tupperware container and let your baby help themselves, they will love rummaging around looking for the food they like best. Some interesting recipe ideas can be found here; http://www.babyledweaning.com/recipes/