Baby-Led Weaning. What is it all about?

First off, what is Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)? 

This is the practice of introducing foods by having the infant feed themselves rather than being spoon-fed by an adult. We are also talking about solid foods that are provided in addition to breastfeeding or formula.

 Things to know: 

Photo by bit245/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by bit245/iStock / Getty Images

  • If you choose to start BLW, it should be at a point when the infant can sit upright, and can hold their head up
  • Provide Iron-rich foods, examples include: Poultry, cooked tofu, legumes, enriched infant cereals, and pureed meats.

WHY?

  • During pregnancy, newborns have stored sufficient Iron for their first 6 months. Afterwards, they need to consume Iron-rich foods along with being breastfed, to maintain Iron levels.

Choking? 

Many people avoid this method because to the fear of their child choking. 

General Rule for Avoiding Choking with BLW: width of infants' 5th finger (pinky) can be used to estimate the size of their airway. Keep this in may as a reference for size of food that can block the airway.

 

References:

Cichero, AJY. (2016). Introducing solid foods using Baby-Led Weaning vs. spoon-feeding. Nutrition Bulletin, 41:72-77

Cameron, SL., Heath, M., Taylor, RW. (2012). How feasible is Baby-Led Weaning as an approach to infant feeding? Nutrients, 4:1575-1609.