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Baby Led Weaning: A Guide for New Parents

plus a sample baby led weaning plan created by us for our little ones!


Navigating the transition from breast milk or formula to solid foods is a significant milestone in your baby's first year of life. It can also be a challenging time for new parents with a lot of change. This is where baby-led weaning comes into play. A relatively new, yet increasingly popular approach, baby-led weaning (BLW) empowers your little one to self-feed, setting the foundation for a positive and healthy relationship with food. At Carol, we did a mixture of both baby led weaning and spoon fed weaning which we found worked really well, but each baby is different and your preferences may differ from ours, so please do what works best for you!



What is Baby Led Weaning?

Baby-led weaning is a method of introducing solids where your baby self-feeds with finger foods instead of being spoon-fed by an adult. The baby led weaning approach allows your baby to explore, taste, and experience different textured foods at their own pace. It encourages self-feeding, which can foster independence and better eating habits as your child grows.


Benefits of Baby Led Weaning

Research suggests that there are several benefits to baby led weaning. For example, it may promote healthier, more diverse eating habits and help prevent picky eating later down the line. Baby led weaning also enables babies to improve their hand-eye coordination by feeding themselves. Most importantly, babies are often more engaged and happier at meal times when they are in control.


How to Start Baby Led Weaning

To start, ensure your child is ready by looking for signs such as sitting up unassisted and showing interest in your meals. It's recommended to start weaning after your baby is 6 months old. Introduce a variety of soft, easy-to-grip foods to start with. It's important to remember that at first, your baby is learning about texture and taste so don't worry if they aren't consuming much of the food — the majority of nutrition should still come from breast milk or formula for the first year.


Safety Measures

While baby led weaning is generally safe, there are potential choking hazards which it's crucial that you are aware of. Always supervise meals and ensure food is cut into manageable, small pieces and that the texture is soft. Avoid food like raw carrots, grapes, or whole nuts.


Baby led weaning has many benefits and can be a joyful journey for both you and your baby. Baby led weaning helps to promote exploration and independence, paving the way for a positive, lifelong relationship with food. Remember, every baby is different, and it's about finding what works best for you and your child.



Baby-Led Weaning Plan (9 Months and Beyond)

A brief plan that we created for weaning our little ones and that worked well for us!


Day to day, the baby-led weaning plan should be diverse and flexible, focusing on exposure to a variety of textures, flavours, and food groups. Here is a brief baby led weaning plan for a baby aged 9 months and beyond:


Monday

  • Breakfast: Soft toast fingers with mashed avocado

  • Lunch: Soft, steamed broccoli florets and soft steamed carrot sticks, with small pieces of soft, cooked chicken

  • Dinner: Soft pasta spirals with tomato sauce and minced beef

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Soft, quartered banana and soft, cooked apple slices

  • Lunch: Soft sweet potato wedges, with scrambled eggs

  • Dinner: Soft, cooked peas, and mashed potatoes with flaked, soft baked salmon

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Porridge oats with mashed blueberries

  • Lunch: Soft button mushrooms, and soft green beans with shredded chicken

  • Dinner: Rice with soft cooked lentils and small pieces of soft, roasted pumpkin

Remember, the above plan is just an example. Always ensure variety and adapt according to your baby’s taste and developmental stage. Also, continue offering breast milk or formula for the bulk of their nutrition. Always supervise your baby during meals, and make sure food is cut into manageable, soft, small pieces.


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