TRY­ING BABY-LED WEAN­ING

Your Baby & Toddler - - Newborn -

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.

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