So now you know that your is baby ready for those first tastes, the next question is which method do you opt for – traditional spoon-led or baby-led?
Your approach to weaning is a personal choice and I really don’t believe you have to choose one or the other. It’s about choosing a method that works for you and for your baby. And, where your baby is at developmentally will also determine which approach you take. For instance, prior to six months, babies tend not to have developed the hand-to-eye coordination needed for baby-led weaning, so it won’t be an option if your baby is ready to wean slightly earlier than six months.
Traditional spoon-led feeding is seen as a more gentle approach to weaning, and an approach which gives you slightly more control over your baby’s nutritional intake as you decide what food to offer. You’ll start with smooth, slightly runny purees, progressing to thicker and more textured foods. And, by six and a half months you will start to offer finger foods anyway.
Baby-led weaning is about allowing and encouraging your independent little one to go at their own pace whilst exploring a variety of foods, tastes and textures for themselves – deciding what they want to eat, when and how much. The thinking behind this approach is that those babies who are offered a wide variety of foods at an early age will be less fussy later in life. It is also thought that self-feeding can help to build confidence and make mealtimes more of a social occasion for your baby (and for you).
Baby-led weaning doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You can offer your baby soft finger foods and small portions of family meals alongside spoon-feeding purees. It’s all about what fits in with your routine and most importantly that both you and your baby feel comfortable. Combining both methods is a popular option and one that many parents find most realistic to adopt. Offering a mix of pureed foods as well as soft fingers foods at the beginning is also advocated by the likes of the Department of Health and Social Care, the NHS and the British Nutrition Foundation.
Check out our earlier Blog from Annabel Karmel – Is Baby Ready?
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