Baby led weaning
This approach is essentially skipping the spoon feeding stage and jumping right into finger foods and baby learning to feed him- or her-self. It generally tends to be convenient for baby to eat a small amount of what you are eating for your meal. Everything must be in small, manageable chunks to avoid choking, and you must stay with your baby the entire time they are eating.
Baby-led weaning brings a lot of benefits:
- Babies who have led their own weaning can usually manage lumps better than those who are spoon fed purees.
- It tends to create little humans with an adventurous palette - goodbye fussy eaters!
- It means from an early age, baby is involved in family meal times – an important social learning experience.
- Less time spent mashing and pureeing food means more time bonding with your family.
However, there are a few downsides too:
- It can be...a bit messy. But hey, baby's having fun!
- It can also be time consuming. Your baby will take a fair while to get through these kinds of meals, and due to the potential for choking it is important you stay with your baby the entire time.
- As a result of the messy nature of this style of weaning, it can be hard to determine how much your baby has actually eaten.
A combined approach? A lot of parents opt for a combined approach involving both baby-led and spoon-fed meals. You may find that baby prefers one method more, but both are good skills to learn.