Choosing Baby Led Weaning – Introducing Solids to Your Baby

‘Baby Led Weaning’ essentially means being led by your baby, following their lead and weaning when they are physically and psychologically ready. Signs of readiness to wean include the baby being able to (source: NHS Introducing Solid Food):

  • Stay in a sitting position and are able to hold their head steady
  • Co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth, can look at food, grab it, and put it in their mouths all by themselves
  • Swallow their food. Babies who are not ready will often push their food back out, so get more around their faces than they do in their mouths. At 6 months most babies should have lost their ‘tongue thrust’ reflex.

 Pretty little girl biting an apple

Baby Led Weaning recommends letting babies control their own food intake, by letting them feed themselves using easy to hold food. Many parents are concerned about this initially and are worried that their children will choke, however the beauty of baby led weaning is it begins at a time when the baby is able to sit upright and is far less likely to gag on their food.

Many baby led weaned babies quickly become expert feeders taking to weaning with a passion. They can often become far more adventurous eaters and less fussy too. For parents, baby led weaning can be much more enjoyable, much easier and much cheaper than traditional weaning methods. There are no expensive jars or pouches, no worrying about packing food for a day out or holiday, no steamer, blender or scary baby food expert cookery books, just following your baby’s led and having fun exploring new foods together.

Great ‘first foods’ include:

  • brocolli florets 
  • bananas 
  • apple quarters (peeled and de-pipped), cooked ever so slightly 
  • pear quarters (as above) 
  • toast 
  • chunks of cheese 
  • chunks of chicken 
  • homemade potato wedges 

For more suggestions and tips this website and this book are great. Some health visitors and Childrens Centres run Baby Led Weaning workshops too, but really it’s a very simple idea.

Is there a downside to Baby Led Weaning? Honestly, I struggle to think of one, the only thing that comes to mind is the mess – yes it can be very messy! be prepared to buy a big mess mat, to put on the floor, a long sleeved bib and have lots of wipes to hand!

by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

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