Nutrition and Food Student

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.

 

Let's Talk About Texture

Texture can be a tricky substance. We worry about what we feed our children, and how we serve it because we do not want they to choke on anything. This is a concern everywhere. Different countries have come up with there own food texture recommendations, and the main agreed on recommendation between them is that food consistency and variety should increase as the child grows older.  

In Canada, the recommendation is: 

* But before note that every child develops at their own pace, therefore remember that these are recommendations and not guidelines.  

At 6 months

Offer variety of texture: Pureed, Softly mashed, lumpy, grated, ground, finely minced.

No later than 9 months

Offer lumpy foods.

Before 10 months: 

Based on observations, there seems to be a window of opportunity  for the introduction of texture-modified solid foods to prevent risk of feeding difficulties later on.

At 12 months

Offer texture modified food family food. This means it is chopped, ground or mashed.

Chocking Hazards:

  • Hard, small, round, smooth and sticky solid foods

For example: Raw Vegetables, nuts, wieners, Hard Candies, Cough Drops, Gum, Raisins, Grapes, Pumpkin Seeds, Fish with Bones, Popcorn, Marshmallows, Peanut Butter spread thickly

However, what you can do is...

  • Cut into smaller pieces, ex: Grapes
  • Remove pits from fruits
  • Grate hard fruit and vegetable like carrots and apples
  • Dice or cut lengthwise like foods like sausages or wieners
  • Finely chop stringy fibrous and textured foods like pineapple and celery

References

Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. Nutrition for healthy term infants: recommendations from birth to six months. 2012 [cited 2012 Nov 21]. Available from: http://hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/infant-nourisson/recom/index-eng.php

Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. Nutrition for healthy term infants: recommendations from six to 24 months. 2014 [cited 2014 Apr 25]. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/infant-feeding/nutrition-healthy-term-infants-recommendations-birth-six-months/6-24-months.html

Harris CS, Baker S.P, Smith GA, Harris RM. Childhood asphyxiation by food: a national analysis and overview. JAMA. 1984 May 4 [cited 2012 May 16];251(17):2231-5. Abstract available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6708272

Shim JE, Kim J, Mathai RA; STRONG Kids Research Team. Associations of infant feeding practices and picky eating behaviors of preschool children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Sep [cited 2012 Jul 30];111(9):1363-8. Abstract available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21872699