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How to get started with baby-led weaning

As a new parent it's totally normal to feel overwhelmed by all the information given to you about how to feed your child and introduce them to food. One of the terms you may have heard is 'baby-lead weaning' which has increased in popularity amongst parents in recent years. To understand more about baby-led weaning and whether it's right for you and your child, read on below!

What is baby-led weaning?

As with traditional weaning, baby-led weaning can begin after six months and is the process of letting your child decide which foods (of the ones you have offered to them) they want to eat. Opting for baby-led weaning takes away the pressure of producing purees for every meal, and can even remove the need for cutlery as your child uses their hands to feed themselves.

How to get started?

To get started with baby-led weaning try to give your child nutritious foods that are chip shaped to make it easier for them to pick up. They won't initially have developed the pincer grip which allows them to pick up foods between their thumb and forefinger - so foods such as broccoli spears are a great food to start with as they're easier to handle. Your baby might just play with the food to start with, or suck on it as they learn to bite and chew, so ensure you're still giving your baby milk as they adjust to the process of eating more solid foods.

If you want to encourage your child to try baby-led weaning you can offer them small bits of food on their highchair table, or in a bowl and they can decide for themselves what they're interested in. It's best to try to do this at meal time when the rest of the family are eating, so that your baby understands it's a natural process and part of their day.

Often, parents find they are using baby-led weaning without realising it, as they give their children the opportunity to try the different foods the adults are eating. Similarly, if it's your second or third child and other children around the infant are eating, you'll find your baby is intrigued by what their siblings are eating and will often try to grab their food and help themselves to it.

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