Which weaning method will I use?
At around six months, you’ll start to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet alongside their usual breast milk or first infant formula milk. But do you take the traditional spoon-fed route, baby-led method (BLW) or a combined approach?
As with many things baby-related, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution and there are many factors at play.
My top tip would be to follow the lead of your baby, not your peers or what’s currently on trend.
Without a doubt, both traditional weaning and BLW have their pros and cons, but you don’t need to choose one over the other. If you feel it’s right for you and your baby, you can offer your baby a variety of pureed nutrient-dense foods as well as soft finger foods from the get-go. (In fact, this is my preferred route, as well as that of the Department of Health and Social Care, the NHS and the British Nutrition Foundation.)
By taking this combined approach, your baby can explore a range of foods served up in different ways.
At six and a half months, all babies should be having soft finger foods, even if served alongside mashed or textured purees.
If you’re baby-led weaning, then you’ll still need to let your baby explore smooth textured foods such as yoghurt, as this is a sensory experience in itself.
What is important is that baby gets to be a part of family mealtimes as they learn so much from their social surroundings and from watching you eat a range of healthy foods.
There really is no right or wrong when it comes to introducing complementary foods – take your lead from your baby and remember to enjoy the weaning journey.
What is baby-led weaning and why should I do it?
Just because baby-led weaning seems to be the popular weaning route, it doesn’t mean that you have to go down this road, too. Choose the method that works for you and your baby – it’s personal choice and what your baby is ready for, developmentally.
Looking at baby-led weaning specifically, the idea is that you skip the puree phase and instead you start with soft fingers foods and small portions of family meals from six months.
This feeding method requires you to take a step back and put your baby in control. Your baby decides what to eat from what you offer, when to eat, in what order and how much. It might sound a little daunting but this process is actually intuitive for a baby – especially if they are watching the rest of the family eat.