As a parent, one of the most exciting moments is when your baby starts to graduate from milk to solid foods. Traditionally, parents would spoon feed their babies pureed foods as they transitioned to solid foods. However, in recent years, there has been a growing trend towards baby-led weaning, where babies are encouraged to self-feed and explore various foods at their own pace.
Baby-led weaning (BLW) is a feeding method that involves letting babies self-feed finger foods right from the start. This approach allows babies to explore different textures and flavors, develop hand-eye coordination, and learn how to regulate their own appetite. It is based on the idea that babies are born with an innate ability to regulate their appetite and self-feed.
While the concept of BLW has been around for decades, it has gained popularity in recent years due to a growing body of research supporting its benefits. Several studies have found that BLW may help infants develop healthier eating habits, reduce picky eating, and promote a more positive attitude towards food (1,2,3).
One of the biggest advantages of BLW is that it may help infants develop healthier eating habits. A study published in the “Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics” found that infants who were introduced to solid foods using BLW had a lower body mass index (BMI) and were less likely to be overweight than those who were spoon-fed purees (4). The researchers hypothesize that this may be because BLW allows babies to self-regulate their food intake, leading to a more intuitive approach to eating.
Another benefit of BLW is that it may reduce picky eating. A study published in the “International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity” found that children who were introduced to solid foods using BLW were less likely to be picky eaters than those who were spoon-fed purees (5). The researchers suggest that this may be because BLW exposes infants to a wider variety of flavors and textures from an early age, which can help them develop a more adventurous palate.
Finally, BLW may promote a more positive attitude towards food. Research published in the “Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior” found that parents who used BLW reported less pressure to eat and fewer mealtime battles with their infants (6). This may be because BLW encourages a more relaxed and flexible approach to feeding, allowing babies to explore and enjoy food without feeling pressured to eat a certain amount or type of food.
Your (m)othership milk powder can also be used with baby-led weaning! You can simply mix it into some of baby’s favorite foods to give an extra nutritional boost or use it on difficult-to-grasp foods such as avocados or bananas as baby perfects their pincer grasp!
In conclusion, baby-led weaning is an alternative approach to feeding babies that is gaining popularity due to its numerous benefits. Research has shown that BLW may help infants develop healthier eating habits, reduce picky eating, and promote a more positive attitude towards food. However, as with any feeding method, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting BLW to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your baby!
Disclaimer: always check in with your medical provider before offering your baby solids.