Starting to feed solids to your baby can be a lot of fun, or a lot of stress! You want to feed your baby safely, and without headaches. But it can be stressful to wade through the advice of others, of what works and what doesn't.
I’m a strong believer that you should do what works for you in parenting. In my case, we started giving pureed food when Kara turned 6 months. And then, when I felt that she can manage to eat chunkier food, that's when we tried Baby-Led Weaning. So, what is Baby Led Weaning? I first heard about this from a former colleague whose wife is a breastfeeding consultant. Basically, it's ‘baby-led’ because you let them do what they need to do while they’re learning, and as the parent you resist the urge to get wound up in knots about how much they’re eating. Babies and children are born to be in tune with their hunger and fullness cues. It’s important for parents to respect this innate knowledge, because these signals can be lost if they’re interfered with. This contributes to overeating in adulthood. Allowing children to keep control over how much they eat lets them regulate the amount of food that is right for them, not just today, but throughout their lifetime.
What are the Benefits of BLW?
What are the basic rules for BLW? RULE # 1 The very first thing to consider before doing this approach is to check if your baby is ready for solids. If you answered YES, to all then you're good to go:
Baby can sit up well with minimal assistance
Baby doesn't have the tongue-thrust reflex anymore (as in they automatically push solids out of their mouths to prevent choking - they usually outgrow this at 4 months, but some do much later)
Baby must be willing to chew or looks interested to eat
Baby is at least 6 months old (their digestive systems are immature and for the first 6 months, our pedia advised to only give breastmilk or formula).
RULE # 2, is to check what food to give and what not to give (always ask your pedia especially if there are food allergies in your family). Follow the 1:4 rule - one type of fruit/vegetable for 4 days before introducing a new one (this is to easily determine which food causes an allergic reaction, in case there will be).
Any foods that are hard or round are major choking hazards so this is a definite NO NO (make sure to slice round food). These are the advised First foods to offer:
Make sure to wash the fruits and vegetables and anything too hard must be steamed so your baby can gum the food easily. How to test if soft enough?if you can squish the food between the roof of your mouth and your tongue, it’s the right texture for baby! If not, cook it until it’s soft enough. Moreover, Slice them into finger shapes so your baby can hold them properly.
RULE # 3 Only feed while baby is sitting upright and stationary. This is to ensure safety and avoid choking or other accidents.Get a sturdy high chair or booster seat to be used during meal time. RULE # 4 Don't add salt, sugar, or spices. KEEP IT HEALTHY! RULE # 5 Never leave your baby unattended. This is a no-brainer, but adding it here anyway. Also, be prepared for all the mess. To help you with the clean-up and make feeding time a fun time, you can get the Fun Feeding Mats or the Fun Feeding Mat 2Go - This all-in-one silicone placemat & plate will make feeding and cleaning up after your little one a breeze. Made from a BPA and phthalate-free food safe silicone, this placemat suctions securely to hard surfaces, preventing little fingers from pulling up the mat, meaning no more tipped over plates or bowls. The divided compartments are perfect for portioning out their favorite snacks, and together form adorable designs that will delight both kids and adults! After they're done, simply throw the Fun Feeding Mat in this dishwasher for a no-fuss clean up. Thanks for reading (",)