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The What, Why, and How of Baby-Led Weaning

Baby Care

Story at-a-glance -

  • A growing number of parents are rejecting the conventions of spoon feeding, turning instead to an approach called baby-led weaning (BLW), which is fast gaining a reputation as a better way to establish long-term healthy attitudes toward food
  • Baby-led weaning revolves around shared mealtimes, where the whole family eats food that is nutritious, safe, and – as far as possible – free from added salt, sugar, chemicals, and other extras unsuitable for infants
  • In BLW, your baby is allowed to feed themselves ‘real’ food with their fingers as soon as they are ready, and gets to choose what to eat, how much, and how quickly
  • Likely advantages of BLW include healthier food choices, reduced obesity risk, natural jaw development, improved eye-hand coordination and dexterity, and confidence and enjoyment at meal time

By Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett

Most people take it for granted that when a baby starts on solid food he will be spoon fed baby rice or mush, one taste at a time, in a schedule decided by his parents. And although most parents hope their child will turn out to be a 'good eater,' the reality is often very different.


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