Carol App Team
Community Questions - Weaning - baby led or purees?
"I'm about to start weaning my girl but I'm not sure whether to do baby-led or puree or what the difference is? Which is best? Thank you"
When it comes to weaning your little one, there are a number of different methods to try, and ultimately it's up to you and your baby which works best for you! There's no 'right or wrong'. Traditionally, purees was the most popular way to wean your baby with the concept of 'baby-led weaning' becoming more spoken about since the early 2000's.
Whichever method you choose, or you may choose a combination, the goal of weaning is to transition your little one from just consuming milk, to eating solid foods.
There are 'pros and cons' to both baby-led and puree weaning, we will run through the pros and cons of both. As we said at the beginning, it's ultimately up to you which method works best for you, the Carol App Team have used a combination of both baby-led and purees, and there is no right and wrong way!
Babies are encouraged to self-feed and develop the skill of doing so with baby-led weaning. There is no spoon feeding purees. Babies explore their foods, feel them with their hands use their fine motor skills and independence.
Generally speaking, baby-led weaning tends to encourage babies to be exposed to a broader range of foods, flavours and textures and therefore may reduce the likelihood of your baby becoming a fussy eater - although this isn't always the case and every baby is different!
It is thought that baby-led weaning is less expensive than purees as at the beginning, babies tend to have a few small pieces of food from their parents/caregivers plate to start with. Making homemade purees tends to be time consuming and buying store-bought purees does add up! As baby-led babies tend to eat similar/the same foods as their parents/caregivers at mealtimes, it can also encourage modelled behaviour as your baby learns by watching others eat.
However, that being said, baby-led weaning is messy as baby discovers different foods it can end up all over the floor, their face, in their hair and so on. Not only this, but baby-led weaning could lead to increased food waste, especially in the beginning when baby is getting used to the concept and none/the tiniest bit of food actually ends up in their mouth! This also means it's quite hard to determine how much food baby has actually eaten!
Purees is the traditional method of weaning your baby and is where the parent/caregiver spoon-feeds baby purees!
Feeding your baby purees means that you know how much your baby has actually eaten, there is much less mess and tends to be less food waste. Puree feeding can be more convenient and time saving as you can purchase puree pouches (hello Ella's Kitchen!) to take with you on the go however this can make the cost add up.
Trying both baby-led weaning and purees is something that we have done at Carol App HQ and we have found the combination to work well for our little ones. A combination of weaning methods enabled us to be aware of how much our little ones had eaten in a sitting, enabled our babies to explore new foods and learn to self feed.
You do what works best for you mama!