Baby Led Weaning: What, how and when?

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Baby Led Weaning Guide for Indian Mothers

What is Weaning and Baby Led Weaning?

Weaning as you know is a gradual process of introducing your baby to solid foods. In Baby-led weaning we let the baby eat on her own. Traditional feeding the baby and baby-led weaning are 2 different aspects; you could do both or just the baby led weaning too.
As a parent you would think that your baby is not eating the food, just playing with it whether it is being feed to your bed sheets or your curtains. But just ignore some of these things and let your baby learn and have fun. You may have to deal with the mess but believe me, it is worth the patience! Seriously!

Tips for Successful Baby Led Weaning:

• To get started: Show your baby what is ‘eating on own’. Have meals together, with the whole family in spite of giving it separately to your child, this would let your baby getting good habits as it is never too early for any child to learn. Offer her healthy foods whenever you prepare some and keep paying attention on her and keep enjoying with your child.
• Start giving her the kitchen food rather than baby food. Start with the medium chip sized pieces so that it becomes easy to hold, for your baby. You can even get to smaller pieces later so that she would be able to learn to grip them too.
• Most important rule is: you avoid feeding the food to baby as much as possible; let baby eat on her own even if she wants to eat with her hands and not spoon. Let her control the food from plate to stomach. Do not give up if she refuses at first. You can try making some funny chewing faces so that she gets on the track and start eating again.
• Try to avoid showing videos on TV/Mobile while they are eating. It can divert her attention. Little one needs to understand the food time is no entertainment time!
• Serve in a low quantity like 2 or 3 pieces only which will make her full for that time. Giving a plate full of food will just end into a mess and wastage of food.
• Use feeding chairs as shown in picture. It keeps baby in one place and very easy for baby to eat food, The tray is removable and you can wash it easily.Baby Feeding Chair
• Don’t start with more than 3 meals per day. Your baby would take some time to get on to it, just do it whenever you feel convenient so you won’t get frustrated with the long time baby may take for first few trials.
• Don’t take much effort in making special meal for your kid. Give her the food which you are eating of course less salt and sugar and without chilies and spices, if they will not like it then don’t worry, the nutrients of it will still reach her through your milk.
• Meals should be given on timings between the milk feeds which is the best for your baby as it is annoying for a baby to control hunger and she continues to grip the things whenever hungry.
• Diapers or nappies and the contents in it may be as you have never thought of. You will find little pieces of what your baby ate which was not chewed properly and which was not digested. Keep showing your baby how to chew soon she will imitate and learn chew food. So it is best to eat with your baby so she learns all good practices.

When is the Right Time to Start Baby Led Weaning?

There is not hard rule for when to start Baby led weaning. The basic requirements are baby is minimum six months old and she can hold the food and sit on her own. Babies can eat on their own even if they can not sit straight but it is safer to start when they are able to sit as it is easy to chew and no risk of choking .

Only Baby Led Weaning?

Along with baby led weaning (BLW) you can also try spoon feeding too. It is not necessary to just stick to BLW. You should remember that babies learn to swallow the puree first and learn to chew it later. But remember your main aim is baby must finish her meal all alone when 2 years old.
After some days you will find that you and your baby will start to like the baby led approach and you may skip the spoon feeding in few days. Try to start with softer foods which will be easy for your baby to chew and sallow properly. Keep patience and study which thing is being liked by your baby and if she doesn’t eat something then don’t force her to have it.
If your baby is ready then keep your camera handy to capture these cute & adorable moments. BLW is very enjoyable, even though it might be messy but its lot of fun. Click as many pics you can and cherish all these moments.

My Experience of Baby Led Weaning:

When my elder son was of 7 months old he showed interest in eating his food with his hands, I let him have his food with his hands but he used to waste food a lot and it discouraged me and started feeding him again. I made a big mistake there. My elder son is 4 years now and doesn’t want to eat by himself. But with my second son when he showed interest in eating with spoon with his own hands at around 8 months, I encouraged him and he started eating well without my any assistance. Even the Chapati-sabji. Now he is just 17 months old and he eats a complete Indian food meal all by himself. Seeing him, my elder son has started eating himself. Funny!! But in India most of mothers make mistake like I did first time. It is the effort and patience of just a month or 2 and it will save your minimum 2 hrs a day and It is very good for baby too as they learn movements and coordination of fingers also they learn to be less dependent on mother.

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About Author

Sapana

Software professional – now work at home mom

6 Comments

  1. This is great information. My daughter is 1.5yrs old and I still feed her, I should try BLW before it is too late. thanks.

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  3. Thanks Sapna. I was wondering if BLW has long term impacts on how they eat. Looks like it does. Because with full time job and trying to give home made food to my 6 month old, I find myself with with no patience left for BLW. Looks like it will be worth the effort

    • Sapana

      Hi Sangita, Thanks for your comment. If you are finding it very difficult to manage the time for BLW, you can try it once in a day. It totally depends on baby if he/sh finds it more interesting and tends towards eating with own hands. So after a few days you can slowly you can let her/him have all meals himself/herself. Because ultimately thats what we want. Also please note kids wont as fast as we eat. You will have to let your baby have her/his time. Best way is to you having meals with your baby, this way you dont really spend extra time for that and baby learns more from parents everyday.

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