Feeding

Baby Led or Spoon Fed Weaning

Once my little monkey reached 4 months I became more and more convinced that her milk was no longer satisfying her.I was convinced this was the reason she was still not sleeping through the night. After speaking to my Health Visitor and researching online I had the big decision to make – baby led weaning or spoon fed weaning?

As a new mum I was hit by conflicting messages, the traditional voice of parents and relatives who would have started babies on solids originally at 3 months and the voice of the Health Visitors and researchers who recommend you wait util the baby is 6 months and will let you know when they are ready for solids.

So what is the difference? Baby-led weaning is when you let your baby feed themselves finger foods right from the beginning – rather than starting off with purées and moving onto finger foods later. With traditional weaning or spoon fed weaning babies learn to swallow first (purées) and chew later. With baby-led weaning, babies learn to chew and swallow at the same time.

Pros of baby-led weaning

  1. You avoid the time-consuming process of pureeing.
  2. It introduces babies to different textures from the start
  3. Many parents who have tried both methods say their BLW babies are less fussy

Cons of baby-led weaning

  1. It can be hard to know how much your baby is actually eating
  2. It’s messy.

Many people worry their baby might choke on finger foods. It’s vital you always stay with your baby while they’re eating anyway, in case they choke and you should be careful to ensure all pips, stones, bones etc is removed from food before giving to your child.

Pros of Spoon fed weaning

1.Wide variety of food is able to be offered

2.Able to measure how much baby is eating

Cons of Spoon fed weaning

1.More work to puree food

2. Baby may eat more than what they need

3. Baby learns how to swallow first instead of how to chew

What I did…

I decided personally that 4 months was a little early for my daughter to take solids, as she approached the 5 month mark I started spoon fed weaning her. I gave her what I call first tastes, small spoonfuls of pureed fruits and vegetables to let her taste them and get used to the different textures and flavours. I started with fruit, using the Annabel Karmel recipes as a guideline. She particularly loved the apple and pear recipe. Since I have however found it increasingly difficult to get her to eat vegetables, I think I should have started her on vegetables to help ensure she didn’t develop such a liking for sweet foods! Annabel Karmel has some great recipes on her website using sweet potato, carrots and many other vegetables.

* Please note these views are my own. If in any doubt consult your Doctor or Health Visitor to fully discuss when and how to wean.

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