Baby Led Weaning (BLW)

In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) prescribed that parents should start baby-led weaning for their babies who are after 6months old. When this plan was implemented, how to carry out was a big question. Will the foods be delivered to baby via spoon with the help of parents? Should the parents let the baby feed by him or hereself? Since then, the way of letting baby feed by himself ”Baby-Led Weaning” has been popular.

What is Baby-Lead Weaning?

It means leading the baby to eat food by himself in a family-meal table. Any spoon must not be given to him. The food must not be puree type. It must be just cut suitably enough for him to carry easily and put into his mouth. Whether he will eat or not is his decision. How, how much and how long he eats will vary according to his mood.

When to start?

If you want to start supplemental feeding with BLW, you can do it when the baby is about six months, can sit down well, can deliver food to his mouth by his hands, and when the signs that baby is ready to eat by himself are shown.

What to feed the baby?

The supplementary foods are such as the usual rice, crops group, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, eggs, bread and Pasta etc. In other words, you can feed him almost all of family members’ food.

What are the benefits?

You need no special preparation for your baby as you cook what the family members eat. So, it is very cost effective. This weaning diet makes your baby feel better. Because of this diet plan, the baby will eat only as he needs, he will know automatically when he is full and he can learn to eat neatly. And so this will help him maintain normal body weight i.e. preventing him from obesity. This makes sure adopting healthy eating habits.
You will not feel disappointed because you don’t need to force him to eat in feeding. Your baby can learn and feel the appearance, smell and touch of food. Being the practice that demands the coordinated movement of hands, eyes and mouth, this will help to improve your baby growth and development.

What are possible cons?

As for parents, they will worry about choking” obstruction in throat or windpipe” for their baby. The parents may concern with baby’s weight loss for not entering adequate amount of food. There may be deficiency in vitamins and minerals if the baby chooses food from out of fed foods. It is sure he will be filthy and encounter flatulence. There will also be waste of food.

You need to make food selection
You must choose safe food among finger foods.(You can read in details about the foods causing choking) . You should feed such the following foods as sweet potato, pumpkin, potato, carrot, avocado and bananas.

Will there be enough nutrients?

When the baby is over 6months, it is not enough for the baby to get adequate amount of iron from breast milk. So the baby has to obtain further iron from weaning diet. Although the baby with traditional weaning can be fed iron fortified cereal, the puree type can’t be fed for the baby with BLW. Therefore, there are worries about iron deficiency for him. There are various kinds of food which contain rich ion in a family-meal table. That’s why they say that there is no need to worry for that.

Sweet and Salty
When the supplemental feeding is started with BLW for the baby, every kind of food that family members eat is not suitable for him. Thus, you must be aware of excess sugar and salt for him.

Successful BLW

BLW demands teamwork between parents and baby. Only when the both parties make a deal, there will be a situation where a baby can eat food comfortably himself even at young age. It will help the baby gain weight normally and have a fair amount of vitamins and minerals. And it also brings the right concept and good habits on eating to the baby.

Babies who should not do BLW
-the ones under six months
-the ones who are six months but are not well developed
-premature babies and underweight babies
(You will have to wait for a while until the baby is well developed)

It’s not stipulated yet which way is better and which one is to be used in between BLW and Traditional Weaning. It’s said that the research results for the possible pros and cons of BLW are not enough.
Of course, it is a milestone to pass through altogether for parents and baby. Thus, the baby’s needs, growth and response must be watched carefully and BLW must be wisely used at its best.

May your baby surely be well-balanced and well-nourished.

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