Baby Led Weaning - Getting Started
It is completely normal to feel anxious about starting weaning your baby. As your baby reaches that six-month mark you may find yourself researching all the different ways to introduce solid food. The baby-led weaning method helps those little hands take control of food, all on their own.
However this can sound a little scary for us as parents, that's why we hope to put your mind at ease and give you all the advice necessary to get you and your baby ready to start your weaning journey; here in this blog.
Baby-led weaning is so much fun, so take a deep breath, grab your camera for those messy face photos and get ready to turn your baby into a little foodie!
1. Being ready for weaning – This is once your baby has reached or is over the age of 6months. They must be able to sit straight & unassisted for a least a minute. Show an interest in picking up objects and putting them to their mouth.
2. Babies do not need any teeth to begin BLW. Chewing is a motion of the jaw, an infant’s gums are incredibly tough, meaning they’re able to break down foods using their gums alone.
3. Using a crinkle knife to cut soft slippery fruits and vegetables helps baby to get a better grip on their food.
4. Honey is not suitable for under 1 years. It’s best to switch Honey in recipes for Maple Syrup or Agave Syrup. Check ingredients on packaged foods, as some contain Honey.
5. It’s ok to simply offer baby one meal a day when you’re starting BLW. Once you feel they’re ready begin to introduce other meals. Normally by 1 years of age your baby will be able to join in x3 meals a day. Just bare in mind that the more mealtimes your baby can be a part of, the more opportunity you’re giving them to practice those eating skills.
6. Signs your baby has finished with the mealtime include, crying & raising arms to leave the highchair, throwing food & slow eating.
7. You don’t need to avoid soft foods whilst BLW. You baby can enjoy soups, porridge, stews and smoothies just like the rest of the family. It gives them a perfect opportunity to explore cutlery skills. Although from experience they’re very effective of eating such foods using their fists too.
8. Pre-loaded spoons is a BLW process for offering your baby softer foods in a way they can eat them. Load up your baby’s spoon with the food, place the loaded spoon back onto their tray and allow them to pick it up themselves and put into their mouth.
9. Salt – Babies under the age of 1 Years old should be limited to 1g of salt per day. If you do happen to go slightly over this amount on the odd days, try to limit their salt intake on the following day, to help level it back out. A baby’s kidneys are not developed enough to handle large quantities of salt.
10. Allergies to foods can occur at any time, even if your baby has previously been ok with such foods. So it’s best to always be on the lookout for any signs of allergies developing.
11. It can take up to and over 20 times of exposure to a food for a baby to determine if they like that food or not, so even if your baby shows signs they dislike certain foods, please continue to offer these foods, as their tastes are changing all the time and next time they may enjoy it.
12. Throwing objects/food is a normal phase for your baby to go through. Your baby is busy learning about gravity (mush to your annoyance), once your baby discovers objects fall to the ground when they let go of them, their fascination will make them want to repeat this action time and time again. It’s best to allow them the freedom to explore this new fascination, as it will pass much quicker if no attention is given, in time they will have moved on from throwing.
13. Foods that are a choking risk must be cut in half lengthways. Grapes, cherry tomatoes, sausages/hot dogs, baby carrots, larger blueberries and smaller strawberries are all choking risks if not cut correctly. Any foods this shape and size of a grape need to be cut in the way mentioned above. Foods including whole nuts, popcorn, marshmallows & hard candy should be avoided until the age of 5 years.
14. Offering your baby spicy foods is fine & will not cause them harm, some babies actually prefer a bit of spice in their foods.
15. Offer you baby water at every mealtime from 6months. Breast milk or formula Milk should however stay as their source of hydration in between mealtimes until the age of 1 years.
Take a look at our Range of Weaning Products, including Baby Cutlery & Straw Cups here.