During the first 6 months of life, the infant is fed with commercial preparations, breastfed or both. When he is ready to eat, around the age of 6 months, we can offer purees, try the baby-led weaning method or we can choose both. Which method is the best? This text shows some positive and negative aspects of the two methods to make a more informed choice according to your situation. This text has been written as if only one method had been chosen.
Baby-led weaning is child-led dietary diversification. The food is introduced in pieces and the infant takes the food and feeds himself. The puree technique is intended for the parents to feed the infant with a spoon. The two methods are not mutually exclusive (The DME technique does not exclude offering purees).
Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)
Hunger and satiety
Baby eats at his own pace so he watches for his signals of hunger and satiety. He decides how much food he eats and naturally stops when he is full.
Positive Dining Experience
Baby plays with food, discovers and tastes in his own way. With his hands and mouth, he can explore textures, consistencies, resistance, viscosity, temperatures and more. He manages his food.
Baby's autonomy is put forward.
He decides when he eats, how much and when he stops. He decides whether or not he will bring food to his mouth to taste it and possibly eat it or spit it out.
Less food preparation to do since the baby eats practically the same as the family.
It is often necessary to adapt certain textures and sizes of the foods offered. The following site created by occupational therapists, dietitians and other professionals shows how to offer foods to your baby according to his age: https://solidstarts.com/foods/
Baby is busy when you are cooking.
Of course, keep an eye on your baby!
Time for you
You can eat your meals at the same time as your baby since you don't have to feed your baby. He eats by himself.
Baby can play without eating food, throwing food, spreading food and more. However, you can offer a small amount of food at the beginning and refill according to his appetite.
If someone is babysitting your baby, they may not be comfortable with BLW. Baby may refuse purees or refuse to be fed by someone.
It is possible to place a cover mat on the floor to minimize cleaning after meals. You can also leave the baby in a diaper or put on a long-sleeved bib. In addition, one can use a suction plate, offer small amounts of food at a time and offer more according to one's hunger.
Note, there is no more risk of choking following the DME than the puree method (1). It is necessary to adapt the textures and size of the foods offered.
BLW is not for all children. Consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions.
When you're outside, it's easier to feed your baby purees than to let him play with his food. BLW can be very messy.
We spend more time with baby when we offer him food one bite at a time.
To offer pureed foods to your baby, either you buy all the purees or you have to prepare the purees. Often you have to cook the food and then puree it with a blender. In addition, you have to give a spoonful at a time and there may be more dishes to wash than if you had just offered the foods with the right size and texture for the baby.
The transition to solids is postponed.
Sometimes, in order not to waste food, some parents are tempted to push their baby to eat one or two more spoons.
The best method is the one you will feel most confident about. One method does not exclude the other and a nutritionist and dietitian can help you with your baby's diet. Do you wonder when to start, what foods to offer first, if your baby is eating enough, is he at risk of nutritional deficiencies or something else? If you have any questions or concerns about feeding your baby, contact me. I will be there to answer your questions.
Pediatric Nutrition Resources
Courses, guides, videos, articles, answers to a thousand questions: https://solidstarts.com
Mieux vivre de l’INSPQ
La base de l’alimentation pédiatrique :https://www.inspq.qc.ca/en/tiny-tot/feeding-your-child
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See you next time,
Karine Drouin R.D.
1 Fangupo, L.J. (October, 2016). Pediatrics. A Baby-Led Approach to Eating Solids and Risk of Choking. Retrieved online on January 5th, 2023 au https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-abstract/138/4/e20160772/52372/A-Baby-Led-Approach-to-Eating-Solids-and-Risk-of?redirectedFrom=fulltext