As your baby grows older, they start to show an interest in food. Baby led weaning (BLW) is when they use their hands to feed themselves and skip purees and spoon feeding. As young infants cannot use a spoon, the food is of a size they can easily pick up in their fingers and is large enough so they won’t choke on it. A baby who is able to sit up by themselves and can pick up and bring things to their mouth is ready to start baby led weaning.
7 Tips for Successful Baby Led Weaning
Baby led weaning can get very messy! Your baby will begin to experiment with food tastes and textures. They’ll suck, squish and drop food everywhere. But it still remains one of the best ways to introduce solids. We’ve put together seven of our best tips to help introduce baby led weaning in your home.
- Use a cleanable high chair – mess is guaranteed. A high chair you can wipe down easily or even hose, if it comes to that, is a great idea. Having a large mat underneath to catch all the spills and using long sleeved baby bibs is also recommended. We have an amazing NZ-made long sleeve bib which is perfect for the job! (And ideal for toddlers and young children too).
Covering the child from neck to wrist, and down to their thighs, our waterproof, wipeable, machine washable long sleeved bibs provide great protection from spilt (or thrown!) food and drink. Simply rinse or wash after eating and they dry quickly ready for the next meal .
- Let you baby try food for themselves – it can be hard to stand back and watch your baby miss their mouth 20 times in a row. But it is important that they learn this for themselves. Try not to worry about if they have eaten enough and feed them yourself. It is all about experimenting with food, as most nutrition is from milk at the moment.
- Choose foods which are easy to pick up – sticky rice is easier to hold than loose rice. Penne pasta is easier than spaghetti. Try to offer foods which are not too slippery, small or large for little fingers.
- Food variety is great – it’s all about giving your baby options about what they want to eat. Stick to two to three food types per meal and mix things up each day.
- Cut food into wedges or sticks (and not too small) – it makes it easier to pick up and increases the chance it will reach their mouths. Using a crinkle cutter to cut food means the ridges help your baby to pick and hold it.
- Let baby play – food is fun for babies! Playing with food is how they build their understanding about how it works and what it’s for.
- Model good eating behaviour. The key to success is showing your little one how it’s done correctly. Sitting at the table with them and modeling good eating behaviour shows how you enjoy different foods on the plate too. Your child sees you eat a variety of foods and this encourages them to try everything you try. Your baby will learn how to eat correctly and even use cutlery just by observing you every day at the table.
Introducing solids is an exciting time. It is also one which takes time! Try to be patient and just go with cues from your baby. As a result, they quickly develop independence when eating. Order your Mud Mates long sleeved bib now to protect their clothes!
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