Eating is not just about the food but the experience.
The experience of eating is a full-sensory experience. The colours, textures and smell of food are just as important as taste and nutrition intake. That is why some parents considered baby led weaning (‘BLW’) when their babies are developmental ready for solid food.
What is baby led weaning?
Baby led weaning is about letting your child self-feed suitable size piece of solid food from the very start of weaning. This term is coined by Gill Rapley, a former UK health visitor who also co-wrote the best-selling weaning book “Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food“.
As opposed to mashed puree, your baby feels the textures, colours and different shapes of the food while feeding. Through the process, they slowly transit from full breastmilk or formula to a variety of solid food.
Is it safe?
The first concern of all parents contemplating baby led weaning is safety. So long as you adhere strictly to the feeding guidelines and present the food safely, your baby can take solid food in its original form when they are developmental ready.
Nonetheless, you should avoid serving any food of choking hazard such as nuts.
Gagging v.s choking
When practice baby led weaning with your children, you must learn how to tell the difference between gagging and choking. Gagging is a safety mechanism for a child before it reaches choking state.
Upon gagging, children will open mouth and thrust tongue forward. Face become red. Children will sputter and cough the food out. Their faces do not turn blue if just gaging. Children can usually work the food out at this stage.
If a child is silent and unable to make noise, it is very likely they are choked. You should proceed using the standard first aid measures to dislodge the blockage. Make sure you are equipped with baby first aid and CPR training skills. With or without trying BLW, they are important skills to have as a caregiver of your children.
In any circumstances, adult supervision is required when babies are having their meals.
What do you need before starting baby led weaning?
There are many benefits to start a baby with BLW. But staying neat and clean is not one of them. You should get your prepared and equipped with correct knowledge before starting baby led weaning.
Here are a list of items I recommend to have before starting baby led weaning:
- Books: equip yourself with proper knowledge with books or obtain some recipes ideas.
- High chairs or booster seats: you place your children in an upright and proper seating options when ingesting food.
- Catch-it-all bibs: the machine washable enlarged bibs will save your time cleaning up
- Large mat to catch all the mess
Baby led weaning is a nourishing way to introduce your child to different taste and textures. They not only foster children’s independence and create wonderful sensorial experiment during meals. Set yourself up and get ready to enjoy the fun of eating with your little ones.