Every milestone your little one achieves, starting from learning to help themselves suckle milk, from sleeping alone to transitioning to solids, each milestone can be an emotional roller-coaster ride. However, difficult this may be, these are necessary steps to help your baby climb the ladder of independence. Here we discuss one way of assisting your baby through a big transition- baby-led weaning. We would also take you through the right method of baby food you should be preparing for your little one.
What Is Baby-Led Weaning
Baby-led weaning is a process in which babies transition from breast milk and/or formula to solid food. However, in this case, babies are permitted to take complete charge of what and how much they want to eat. Baby-led weaning differs from other weaning procedures in skipping the spoon-feeding part. Here, babies are directly exposed to finger foods after parents notice their readiness for solid food consumption and they learn to chew and swallow on their own. During the process of transition, it is recommended to incorporate other foods into the normal nursing or bottle-feeding schedule as a majority of the nutrition will still be extracted from breast milk.
What Foods To Start With
If your baby is 6 months and older, you can start weaning after consulting your pediatrician. Even though baby-led weaning skips purees and involves initiating with finger foods, make sure that the texture of the food is soft and convenient for the baby to swallow and digest.
To start with, you can give your little ones smushed and sliced bananas, avocados, blueberries, and other soft fruits. Harder fruits like apples and vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and beets have to steamed and sliced into strips.
To increase the protein content of their diet, you can incorporate, grilled, boneless fish, shredded chicken, cooked tofu strips, and cheese. As your baby grows older you can experiment with different textures and graduate to crunchy foods. It is always better to cook the same food for your family as well as your baby with the required modifications for your little one.
If your baby is starting to have solid foods, then you can also try baby organics which are a readymade mix for shakes, porridges, cakes, and cookies made from organically grown cereals and pulses. They are optimized in the manufacturing process in a way that your baby gets the right amount of calories from carbs, proteins, and fats.
However, before purchasing any packaged food for your baby, always make sure to check the nutrition facts label.
Benefits Of Baby-Led Weaning
There are several advantages of giving babies the power to lead their weaning process. It exposes them to a wide variety of foods and flavors from an early age. As per evidence-based studies, this prevents them from being picky eaters. Children who go through baby-led weaning are most likely to develop fewer food allergies compared to other children.
Moreover, since babies take charge of their meals, they will eat only until they feel full. This waives the chances of overeating and resulting obesity. Though most parents dread to see their babies gag while eating solid foods and start off just with purees, let us tell you that gagging is a natural way of dealing with food that goes too deep into the mouth. It allows babies to deal with stuck food on their own.
Baby-led weaning might not be for every family. However, it is a effective way of changing your baby’s food habits. With three meals in a day where your baby is left free to eat with you, make sure to nurse or bottle-feed them with the same frequency for at least one year, to ensure proper intake of nutrients. There may be harder days but let your baby lead and soon you will see your little one enjoying every meal with you, surprising you with a clean plate!