To try baby-led weaning or not?

By Shelley Heunis

Introducing solids is such an exciting time for the whole family, but it’s also a much debated and spoken about topic amongst mothers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that at around 6 months of age complementary foods should be introduced in addition to breast milk or formula, with a gradual increase in food consistency and variety.

Traditionally, babies were started on solids using spoonsful of pureed infant foods, but more recently baby-led weaning has grown in popularity. This approach allows your baby to self-feed him/herself from beginning with whole finger foods, skipping the blended or pureed options.

Foods given to your baby for baby-led weaning should always be soft enough to squash between your thumb and index finger, long enough for your baby to grasp in their hand and to stick out far enough for your baby to bite.

Baby-led weaning is recommended from around 6 months as most babies at this age would have the skills required to self-feed, namely being able to sit unsupported, bring food to their mouth, chew and swallow.

You as a parent decide what to offer, when and where to eat, while your baby should decide whether to eat, what and how much to eat.

When deciding when and how to introduce solids, it is always advisable to talk to a healthcare professional that is knowledgeable of each method. Ultimately, the decision on how you want to introduce solids is yours, and the decision can be easier if you educate yourself on all the options available and choose what suits you and your baby best.

Some food ideas:
Sweet potato wedges
Butternut/pumpkin fingers
Boiled carrot sticks
Baby marrow strips
Broccoli/cauliflower florets
Banana, ripe peach or pear
Avo wedges

For more information contact Shelley Heunis, Registered Dietitian and Breastfeeding Specialist, on 079 874 8194