I must admit when I encountered the word weaning I was at a loss. I did not know what quite to make of it but luckily we live in a day and age where information is readily accessible.
11 Baby Led Weaning Foods Plus Tips
Most first time parents will be lost after their child has been born. Though there a lot of self- help books both online and offline and not to mention there are friends and family members willing to give unsolicited advice. But nothing can really prepare you for the real deal when it does come. It is amazing though that one of the many facets of man is adaptability. We would just be winging it until we get right, that is just who we are.
Part of taking care of the baby that new parents have to consider is the phase when a baby moves on from just plain breast milk or formula to purèe or solid food. Who makes the decision on when to move from milk to add some food to his diet? Is it mom and dad? Is it the baby or are there things that must be considered first before a baby can move from just drinking milk to eating. We will be discussing that plus a healthy list of food that babies can wean on.
Weaning is from the root word wean and wean as per defined by Webster’s is to accustom a baby whether human or animal to take food other than their mom’s milk. And so weaning is the progressive form of the verb wean.
When Should a Baby Be Weaned?
There is an ongoing debate about when a baby should be weaned. Because depending on the culture to which the baby was born, the answer would relatively be different from others. But to take the word of some experts, a baby should be weaned if and only if he/she is around 6-8 months or so. The baby must also be able to sit on a high chair without mommy or daddy’s assistance. He/she should be able to have good grasping reflexes or else the point of weaning would be useless. The baby should be able to grab the bite-size pieces of food you will lay down on his table. You wouldn’t be able to spoon-feed the baby when you wear them with solid food. That is the point of baby-led weaning.
Purèe or Solid Food
Once again ladies and gents, here we have what new parents are considering, to start with purèed fruits and veggies or to go straight to solid foods. Again the answer will be depending on the culture of the parents. Some cultures would be saying that it will be too dangerous for babies to go on and eat solids already and that they should start slow with the purèed version of the solid food. Some would say if it is bite sizes and the baby is able to chew on it then let it be. Thus, called baby-led weaning. It is the baby who decides when, how, and how much to eat. It is like a self-directed pace for babies.
Some say that skipping purèe and going straight to solids might pose a choking hazard to your baby. Just remember to keep the solid food soft enough but still retain its shape. Though as parents, we have the duty to always put our children’s best interests first than our desires to try methods we are not even sure would work for our baby.
Do We Just Leave the Food to the Baby?
Though baby-led weaning is as mentioned a self-directed pace, you the parent will of course still prepare the food and give it to the baby but it’s not advisable to actually leave the baby on its own. That would end up on one of the pages of bad parenting. You will have to observe your baby as you introduce soft but solid food to him/her. And based on your observations you can deduce what type of foods he/she likes.
This will also be a good opportunity to see how much food your baby can eat or will eat so that next time nothing is wasted. You know what they say, waste want not. But the point of the matter here is that you won’t feed your baby directly. In the beginning, you might be obligated to show your baby how to eat but you are not allowed, yes allowed though is a strong word but stresses the point, to put the food into the mouth of your baby or else you will just be feeding him/her. This is not the Baby Led Weaning method.
Do We Just Leave the Food to the Baby?
Now that you get the idea of baby-led weaning here are some of the foods you might want to try with your baby.
It’s always a good idea to start teaching our kids to eat a healthy dose of carbohydrates and what better way than with potatoes. Nope, don’t give them the fried version we know they will eventually fall in love with but give them the healthier and subtle boiled or mashed version.
You know what they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away so start them young and give your baby fresh slices of apples.
You can both feed your baby and his/her brain with fresh avocados. Now that’s a tasty way to get smart.
What’s up doc? Remember Bugs Bunny always munching on some carrots, well it will be a good idea to teach your baby to munch on some carrots rich in vitamin A. Just a heads up though, sometimes carrots are a bit tough for babies so you can boil them or just buy baby carrots for your baby.
Here is a sweet alternative for apples if you don’t want your baby to be stuck on a diet of just apples. You can introduce pears into the mix. You have to cut them, of course, to bite sizes as per the preference of your bundle of joy.
Who doesn’t like bananas? It’s easy to eat and convenient as well. I guess most markets and supermarkets have a selection of this healthy potassium-rich yellow food for you and your baby.
Yeah, I know you might be thinking isn’t that a little too messy? Yes, yes it is. But do remember the point of baby-led weaning is to let your baby explore the kinds of food you are serving him. So let your baby enjoy and then worry about the mess later.
Now you can only give bread if you are certain that your baby can handle it or has absolutely no allergy to wheat and other products used to make bread.
You can give your baby plain old white rice but for a healthier diet, why not try giving your baby brown rice instead. It is full of nutrients that white rice no longer has because it has already been polished off.
Now, if moms fed their baby broccoli then perhaps they wouldn’t have problems with this veggie when their babies grow up. Of course, you have to cook it and keep the broccoli into manageable sizes for your baby. You wouldn’t want them to choke on it.
If you haven’t heard about this veggie then you’re probably not alone. Most people just think it’s a kind of cucumber. Dear folks, it’s not though it is a close relative of the cucumber. You can cut up some small pieces and readily serve it to your young one without the hassle of removing the skin or the seeds since all are edible. Just make sure to wash thoroughly.
Simple Tips for BLW Parents
Since you have decided to try the baby-led weaning process, here are some small simple tips for you.
Invest in a good size bib that will essentially cover the chest area of your baby. I’m not saying that you should get a giant bib and just cover your baby, all I am suggesting is that when the mess starts you’ll probably want that good coverage.
- Always keep in handy a washcloth. You’ll know why when you start weaning your baby.
- It also helps if you lay down a washable or a mat that’s easy to clean underneath your baby’s high chair. As most of the food might just go down to the floor.
- Choose deliciously healthy foods that your baby will both enjoy and love. It will also be a good opportunity to introduce fruits and vegetables as early as now.
- Make sure that you cut the food you give into sizes that your baby can actually grab but won’t choke. As they might not yet know how to chew and if you skipped feeding with purèe then the likelihood of them not knowing how to chew would be considerably high. So be careful with what you give your baby.
- Always be mindful of your baby, don’t give him/her food and then just be busy with your other chores. This poses as a potential disaster. Keep an eye on your baby. Don’t do anything else.