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Baby-led Weaning: Traditional Weaning Vs Letting Your Infant Self-feed

List of both methods compared side by side.

Parenting And Family
| Contributor Content| UPDATED: November 28, 2017, 8:31 AM IST
Baby-led Weaning: Traditional Weaning Vs Letting Your Infant Self-feed Image: Getty Images
When a child turns 6 months old, it’s time to introduce solids along with milk. At this juncture, a mother may choose either BLW (Baby-Led Weaning) way of weaning the child or traditional method of weaning. Both methods are entirely different from each other and as a parent; it may be a momentous decision. You will meet people who advocate one of the two methods and ultimately it’s the parents who must choose what works best for them and their child.

Here is a list of both methods compared side by side.
Traditional Method of Weaning vs Baby-Led Weaning

1. Starting Up:
Traditional - The child starts on purees.
BLW - The baby joins the family food from day 1 – this means the food is prepared exactly like it would be for adults, minus spices or salt and texture tweaked as per age of the child.

2. Mess

Traditional - There is a negligible mess as you are Feeding the child.
BLW - Be prepared for the mess! Since babies eat on their own from the day 1 of weaning, they are bound to throw food mercilessly across the floor. This gets better as the child learns eating, chewing skills gets a better hold of how much to put in his mouth and how to control food.

3. Feeding Time

Traditional - Feeding times are always different as you first feed the baby and then eat yourself.
BLW - There are no separate feeding times. Baby and the entire family eat at the table at the same time.

4. Food Transition

Traditional - Babies have to transition from puree – to mash – to solids.
BLW - Babies are on family food from day 1 and hence no transitioning is required.

5. Quantity

Traditional - You feed the baby as per your idea of baby’s hunger – may be you think that 1 bowl is required for the baby and that’s what you would feed the baby.
BLW - The Baby eats as per his hunger. Some days it may be 4 spoons and some days it may be nothing at all; this might give sleepless nights to many mothers.

6. Eating Out

Traditional - Eating out may be a problem if the child has no exposure to texture and is on pureed food.
BLW - Babies become independent eaters very early and eating out is not a problem if you can find foods suitable for his age and taste.

Irrespective of whatever method you chose – following are some points that should be kept in mind.

1. Babies gag when they start solids and this is normal. Don’t scare the baby or he may resist trying the food next time. There is a difference between gagging and choking. Understand both well. Gagging is not life-threatening, but only a way to learn how to control food in the mouth. This goes away in a week or two at the max.

2. Do not resort to distraction feeding. It means don’t give them a mobile or switch on cartoons on TV while feeding. It should be about food and nothing else.

3. If you choose to go traditional weaning – self-feeding is recommended from 8 months onwards. Introduce soft steamed foods like steamed apples, broccoli, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans.

4. Test each food one by one and follow a 3-day rule from the day 1 of weaning.

5. Always introduce new foods to babies in the morning, so that in case of an allergy, you will know the same by evening.

6. Feed babies when they are most active, most probably after a sleeping session.

7. Test each dry fruit one by one for any allergies, before giving powdered dry fruit to babies.

8. Up till 1-year breast, milk or formula is the main source of nutrition and solids should not replace milk.
First Published: November 28, 2017, 8:31 AM IST
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