Baby-led weaning, also referred to as BLW, is a method of introducing food to your baby’s diet along with breastmilk or formula. Baby-led weaning helps to develop oral motor skills, allowing the baby to control the amount of solid food they are eating by self-feeding. It also helps with motor skill development, such as, hand-eye coordination and chewing. This method will be messy and you may want to feed the baby while they are only wearing a diaper to make cleaning up afterwards easier.
Most babies are able to begin self-feeding at around 6 months and be able to sit unassisted. They will begin by picking up and licking or sucking on the foods. Initially, very little food will get eaten as the baby explores the new tastes and textures. This is okay, because the baby is still getting their nutrients out of the breastmilk or formula. However, the baby will soon start to eat the food that is offered to them. This method skips the baby food or pureed step in feeding. Instead, you will be offing foods that you are eating, with the exception of those that are choking hazards and skipping food that are family allergens. The baby should still be offered breastmilk or formula before each meal. This method does not mean that you are weaning the baby from bottle or breastfeeding. It is just the introduction of solid foods into their diets.
Here are some breakfast ideas:
- Whole wheat banana muffin
- Half a banana with the peel left on
- Whole milk yogurt (can add cut up fruit)
- Mini whole wheat pancakes
- Scramble eggs
- Avocado pieces
- Black beans
Here are some idea of what you can do with some of the above foods:
- Whole milk yogurt with slices of fresh fruit
- Scrambled eggs with pieces of avocado and tomatoes
- Whole wheat toast fingers with peanut butter
- Whole wheat toast fingers with yogurt dip
- Cottage cheese with fruit slices
- Whole wheat muffins with sliced fruit
- French toast squares
- Applesauce with Cheerios
- Whole wheat pancakes with fruit slices
- Toast fingers with fruit spread
Remember that when you are offering these foods to your baby, the baby should be seated upright in a high chair. This will decrease the risk of choking while eating. Never leave the baby alone while they are eating.