TRYING BABY-LED WEANING
Q:I’M QUITE KEEN TO TRY BABY-LED WEANING, BUT I’M A WORKING MOM AND I’M NOT SURE THE NANNY WOULD COPE. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
A:In my experience baby-led weaning is very baby dependent. But it is important that both the parent and childcarer need to feel comfortable when allowing the baby to eat on her own (under supervision of course).
Baby-led weaning involves presenting softly steamed solid foods to your baby, and allowing your baby to self-feed by grasping the food rather than the caregiver spoonfeeding the baby. This is usually started when your baby shows an interest, usually around 6-7 months of age (which is later than the recommended guideline of starting solids between 4-6 months).
It is important to remember that not all babies are the same and some may enjoy a baby-led approach while others may be more content with the spoonfeeding approach.
Likewise not all childminders are the same – some have many years of childraising experience whereas another may be newer to the job with less experience in feeding. One concern with baby-led weaning is the risk of choking. This increases if inappropriate foods (types, sizes and harder textures) are offered to your baby.
I would suggest only trying this out if you feel very confident in your childcarer’s ability to follow safe babyled weaning guidelines and if they have had excellent first aid training and know how to deal with a choking child (as this is always a risk when a baby starts on any solids). I would also suggest doing research on the baby-led weaning method and ensuring that you as the parent know the pros and cons, what foods and textures to give your baby to ensure they are still getting in a balanced diet and the ways to prevent choking.
Once you have done your research and decide it is the route you want to go, spend time with your baby and childcarer while they are enjoying babyled weaning. You will quickly realise whether both your childcarer and your baby are comfortable with this style of weaning. If you don’t feel comfortable, then you can continue with a more traditional spoon-fed approach. You can also try to combine the two approaches. If you aren’t feeling comfortable with your childcarer taking on the baby-led weaning approach, you could always try it for the meals when you are with your baby yourself. YB
Thank you to little Ava for allowing her mom the time to write this article for us. For more information, please visit www. munchwize.co.za.