Baby Led Weaning (or BLW), is a method of introducing solid foods to babies who are able to sit up on their own and who show interest in solid foods at 6+ months.
In BLW, a baby self-feeds himself whole pieces of food that are appropriately sized and prepared for their motor skills. For example, a steamed broccoli floret is served to a baby to hold and eat at their discretion vs. pureeing the steamed broccoli and feeding the baby yourself. Sound scary?
What are the benefits of BLW?
- Less preparation time because there is no need to puree food.
- Encourages fine motor skills like the pincer grasp.
- Promotes self regulation of energy intake, with some research indicating less obesity later in life.
- Allows your baby to experience a more diverse amount of textures, smells and tastes; possibly encouraging more adventurous eating and reducing food battles later in toddler and childhood.
- Is reported to reduce choking and gagging because a baby learns how to chew first and swallow second. In my personal experience, I definitely found that my daughter quickly become very good at gauging what was ‘too much’ and thus, made me more confident in her natural abilities.
- Typically more economical because the baby can typically eat whatever you are making yourself, with some modifications on sugar, salt and how it is cut/served. There is no need for processed or pre-packaged baby food or snacks.
- Changes the meal time dynamic from ‘feeding’ to ‘eating’ — you now can eat your own meal while your baby is eating hers. This also allows a family to share a meal together instead of needing to prepare separate meals for separate ages.
Here’s some helpful answers to common questions I get about BLW: