Benefits of Baby-Led Weaning
4 min read
Last Modified 7 September 2023 First Added 7 September 2023
Baby-led weaning, also known as BLW, is an approach based on babies being encouraged to feed themselves from the beginning of their weaning transition. This approach is gaining popularity due to the variety of benefits.
Studies have delved into this method, which can be seen as a messy experience, but ultimately reaps great rewards.
Let’s dive into what rewards to expect from partaking in this approach.
This approach is so much more than just a trend amongst parents; it’s a developmental game-changer.
Here are four reasons why you should consider letting your baby take the lead on this culinary adventure.
BLW introduces your baby to a world of flavours and textures from an early age that they may not experience otherwise.
Think of it as your baby’s culinary playground, where they can experiment with food both in eating, and with tactile play to awaken their sensory exploration. A spacious highchair with a big enough table or a highchair with a detachable table may be a helpful baby-equipment tool for this experience.
This tactile approach fosters a lifelong curiosity about food, sensory exploration, and improves a child’s diet as they get older, resulting in them being less likely to avoid certain foods or be fussy eaters.
Additionally, you can introduce some mess-free sensory play by engaging your little one with play food and shopping toys.
Yes, baby-led weaning can result in some mess, but it is worth it!
Allowing your baby to experiment and explore different foods on their own is a fantastic way to boost hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Although it may be difficult for them to manoeuvre food into their mouths, this is important for their development.
We recommend supervised mealtime adventures only.
Here are some examples of foods a baby can explore when weaning:
Ensure to blend the food into a suitable texture for your baby. Any hard foods must be cooked and softened first.
This will help your baby get used to different foods, and you can try experimenting with sweet and sour flavours. Remember, babies do not need sugar or salt added to their foods as these can lead to health problems.
For more food ideas and resources on what foods are safe, read the NHS ‘What to Feed Your Baby’.
Baby-led weaning simplifies mealtime struggles and makes the weaning process a little easier for parents. Our role as parents is to offer our children healthy foods at regular intervals, but with baby-led weaning you can let your baby’s hunger cues guide the way instead of forcing our little ones to eat.
Patience is key here, allow your child to explore and eat while you practice a hands-off approach.
This approach is not just about food, but also building trust and exploration.
This is a delightful way for a child and parent to bond as they discover new flavours and textures together. This approach also reduces the likelihood of your child being surprised with different textures or food formats in the future.
Giving your baby this opportunity will not only bring you two together but can lead to some great fun. You can also introduce social skills toys or toys to instil confidence, this way your baby can make strides in their developmental progress all-in-one.
If you need more resources to explain the benefits and setbacks of this approach, you can read the NCT ‘Baby-led Weaning Pros and Cons’ article.
In summary, BLW may be seen as a messy approach, but it is proven to have its many benefits for children’s development including, but not limited to, their eating habits, motor skills, hand eye coordination, and food curiosity.
Please be sure to consult health professionals such as the NHS or your local GP if you have any concerns about food allergies during this exciting process. Read the NHS’ recommendation for baby food to ensure you feel confident about taking the first step to solid foods with your child.
Let’s embrace the mess and enjoy our children’s culinary masterpieces.