Baby Lead Weaning

It has been a little while since I have share with you about my little one, William. You got to hear all about my pregnancy and how things were going. I wanted to move onto another fun topic that I enjoy ... pediatric nutrition. This is totally my jam. Now my main focus is neonatal nutrition and obviously my child is out of that stage. He is now 6 months old! He is moving and grooving. He started crawling just around 6 months old. He is now obsessed with pulling up on things. When he pulls up and stands on his feet he is SO proud! He is just jumping through ALL of these milestone hoops. Over the last couple of weeks we have also started solid foods.

I am doing Baby Lead Weaning with William. I am not sure if you have heard of this approach, but I think it is one of the best ways to teach your child how to love food. The premise is that you use table foods (foods that you would normally eat) and use those to teach your child how to eat. There is no jar baby food involved. Those products are over priced and totally void of much nutritional value. If you want to feed your child is a healthier and most cost effective way ... then keep reading, because this method is for you.

Baby lead weaning simply means letting your baby feed themselves from the start of solid foods. There is no force feeding baby food mush. The term was coined by Gill Rapley who was a midwife. Check out her book HERE. Around 6 months or when your baby is able to sit up and is showing interest in foods if when you can start offering table foods. You simply hand your child a suitable size piece of food and they can play with it, smell it, lick it, mash it up, get it all over them and get the full experience of eating. At the beginning a very small portion of the food actually gets to their mouth/into their bellies, but they are learning all about food during this time. There are no purees, no ice cube trays, no food processing, no mashing of foods, no baby cereal or strange jar food combinations. Instead it is your baby eating food that that you eat at your dinner table.  

Baby Lead Weaning

  • Encourages and teaches family meal time. Everyone comes together at the table and eats together. The baby gets to participate in meal time by being at the time and eating appropriate finger foods that the rest of the family is eating. 
  • The child gets to choose what, how much and how quickly they want to eat. 
  • This method gives the chance to explore various new textures and tastes. There is no pressure to have to eat something. 
  • Continue to nurse or give a bottle just as often as you normally would. Solid foods at this point are made to go with the milk. The baby will regulate and start to eat more solids and decrease milk intake on their one. Usually this will occur later in the first year. For a baby at 6 months old, the main source of their nutrition is either breastmilk or formula.

When you think about it baby lead weaning ends up being a continuation of breast feeding. When a baby goes to breast, that baby is determining how food milk he is drinking. When he is satisfied he is done. The breastmilk will take on different flavors, depending on the mother diet and this is an early introduction of what food tastes like and will increase baby's acceptance of those foods later in life. These concepts are continued with baby lead weaning, because the baby is deciding if they want to try foods and how much of foods they want to try to eat. This method encourages that self regulation and exposures to various foods.

If you have questions about baby lead weaning or want more information, send me a message. I have various resources that I would love to share with you. I believe that is it so important to build a healthy relationship with food and that starts when your baby first starts solid foods.