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BABY-LED WEANING : Everything you need to get started!

Just getting started with the Baby-Led Weaning method? Then you've come to the right place, because this is the Comprehensive Guide to Baby-Led Weaning!

Do you want to start baby-led weaning with your child but are unsure of how to proceed? Everything you need to get started with baby-led weaning with your little one, including all the necessary information. I will explain everything from what BLW is and when to start ? share a feeding schedule sample, explaining the difference between choking and gagging, the best first foods, useful tools you need to get started, and tips how to teach a baby to chew. everything you need to know, this post goes over it all, you've came to the right place.

WHAT IS BABY-LED WEANING


The term baby-led weaning was introduced by Gill Rapley, a public health nurse and midwife, in 2005. The official definition from her handouts is "a way of introducing solid foods that allows babies to feed themselves – there's no need for spoon-feeding or purees". With baby-led weaning, you can feed your child many of the same foods as the rest of the family right from the start.

On the other hand, when it comes to traditional weaning, also referred to as spoon-feeding, the parent is the one who brings the spoon up to their child's mouth. The textures begin with foods that are mashed or chopped and progress to foods that are soft enough to be picked up with the fingers, such as pieces of cooked vegetables, toast, pasta, and meat.


⚠️‼️ The question now is, what strategy will work best for you and your child. You need to take into consideration that as a parent , you need to consider what works best for you too, You and your baby are a team now! You will be the one responsible for organizing meals, preparing meals, serving meals, and cleaning up after meals — you matter too!


There is no one best way to go about doing things; you might begin with one method, switch to the other, or adopt a method that is a combination of the two. But regardless of which approach you choose with, the most important thing you can do is to observe your child's cues and act accordingly.

WHEN TO START BABY-LED WEANING?


Check for these readiness indicators in your baby whether you decide to use a baby-led weaning approach:
  • Comfortable in a Seated Position with Minimal Support

  • Good control of their head and body

  • at least 6 months of age

  • Reaching and leaning towards food( which is not necessarily the case for all infants because most babies do it out of curiosity but not Because they are hungry or looking for solids).

You should check with your pediatrician to make sure your baby is ready for weaning before you begin the process.

How to prepare yourself : Tips for Starting Baby-Led Weaning

  • Avoid overthinking the nutrients: Keep in mind that the majority of the food introduced at first will end up somewhere other than their mouths. When it comes to babies, the learning process is of the utmost importance. Make sure you serve your baby colorful food; don't worry too much about whether or not it's the ideal amount of vegetables, fruits, grains, or proteins. Plus, up until the age of one, infants will receive the majority of the nutrients they need from either breast milk or formula.


  • A Gag is a Gag: Having a baby gag on food and really choking on it are two whole different things. It is normal for a baby to gag on food when they are first learning to eat finger foods. This is really a good thing because it teaches newborns how to move food around in their mouth and how to swallow meals. Even when they're fed fruit purée, some babies still choke, so you shouldn't worry at all!


  • Sit with your Baby: Sitting down with baby while they are learning to eat and eating the same meals yourself is a great approach to build that bond, plus you will be a role model for your child, so offer words of encouragement as he learns.

  • Be okay with Mess: Baby-led weaning is all about playing and exploring as a way to learn how to eat solid foods. So get ready for the fact that this process can sometimes be messy. Prepare some baby wipes and go with the flow.

Reasons to Love Baby-Led Weaning

  • May promote good eating behaviors and prevent picking eating.

  • The Baby will have opportunity to eat Food that is high in nutrients but relatively low in calories-Nutrient-dense.

  • Could help prevent obesity later in life

  • Easy to have one meal for the entire family

  • Promotes fine motor skill development

  • Helps improve digestion.

  • Weaning your baby on their own typically requires less work on your part.


BABY-LED WEANING TOOLS


✔️ Highchair

✔️ Baby wipes

✔️ Open lid cup

✔️ Fork and spoon(easy to hold)

✔️ Bowl or sectioned plate

✔️ Bib with catch pocket

✔️ Mat to cover the floor


Dos & Don’ts of BLW


📌 Be conscious of the fact that your diet might require some adjustments on your part. Foods that have been prepared for adults might not always be appropriate for infants, particularly with regard to the amount of sodium present, the seasonings that were used, or the cooking method. It is recommended that you introduce salt to your baby when he or she is at least 12 months old, and sugar after 24 months.

📌 Don’t worry if your baby takes times to show interest in food.

📌 It may be tempting, but wait until the meal is finished before wiping your baby's face and hands.

📌 Prepare a cleaning strategy, such as bibs that double as "food catchers," a large mat underneath the highchair and a good vacuum!

📌 Avoid force- Feeding. End the meal when the baby shows sign of being done.



How to serve food to your baby


Cut food into 2-3′ strips or sticks (about the size of 2 adult fingers) for babies 6-9 months old to help with grasp and frustration.
Once your baby is 9-12 months old, you can shred or cut foods into pea-sized pieces to promote fine motor grasp. Check this example below :





























100 Best food to start Baby- led weaning


Over 100 nutritious starter foods for your baby are listed below! I classified them into four groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein.
Please note that some of the foods can be a choking hazard for baby if served raw or whole, so make sure you serve them in an age-appropriate manner.




You are all set! You have everything you need to start this journey with your little one .
You can do this !❤️


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