The top 5 benefits of BLW - Baby Led Weaning
In the past not too long ago, our parent used to spoon feed us until we are ready to eat on our own which was 1 to 3 years old. They were reluctant to let us explore feeding ourselves from the fear of us choking and making a mess.
However, time has changed and research has suggested there are more pros than cons for letting little ones to eat on their own, some as young as 6 months when they can feed on solid food. Here we explore the top 5 reasons why you should start the baby led weaning journey as early as possible:
When babies are allowed to use their instincts to decide what to eat and what to leave, they rarely show any suspicion of food - as is sometimes seen in other babies and toddlers. Allowing them to reject a food they feel they don't need, or that may seem unsafe (over/underripe, rancid or poisonous), means babies are more willing to try new foods because they know they'll be allowed to decide whether or not to eat them.
2. Appetite control
Eating habits developed during childhood can last a lifetime. It seems likely that babies who are allowed to choose what to eat from a range of nutritious foods, at their own pace, and to decide when they've had enough, continue to eat according to their appetite and are less likely to overeat when they are older. This may be an important part of preventing obesity.
3. Learning about food
Babies who are allowed to feed themselves learn about the look, smell, taste, and texture of different foods, and how different flavors work together; with spoon-feeding, all the tastes are pureed into one. With baby-led weaning, babies can discover the different tastes in, say, a chicken and vegetable casserole, and begin to learn how to recognize foods they like. And they can simply leave anything they don't like, rather than having to refuse the whole casserole to avoid it. This makes planning easier and means babies don't miss out on the foods they enjoy. It also means that the whole family can share a meal, even if not everyone likes all the flavors.
4. It's enjoyable!
Eating should be pleasurable for everyone - adults and babies alike. Playing an active part in mealtimes and being in control of what to eat, how much to eat, and how fast to eat it make eating more enjoyable; the opposite can make mealtimes miserable. With baby-led weaning, babies look forward to eating; they enjoy learning about different foods and doing things for themselves. Early experiences of happy, stress-free mealtimes are more likely to give a child a healthy attitude toward food for life.
5. Long-term health
With baby-led weaning, because milk feedings are reduced very gradually, babies who are breastfed are more likely to continue getting a good intake of breast milk for longer. Breastfeeding provides not only a perfect balance of nutrients but also protection, for both children and their mothers, against many serious illnesses.
Have you and your little one started on the baby led weaning journey?
Follow us on instagram - @mumspick to learn great tips on how to start!