Making Baby-Led Weaning a Success

You might recognize the term “baby-led weaning” from
articles you’ve read, websites you’ve visited, or friends you’ve spoken to. It’s a type of weaning practice that has gained popularity
over recent years as more parents look for ways to ease their children into
solid foods.


baby led weaning
What is Baby-led weaning (BLW)?

But what exactly is baby-led weaning? And does it have any
advantages over traditional spoon-feeding techniques? This blog post will
discuss my experience with Baby Led Weaning. 

Hi!! I am Sanhita Ghosh, an experienced medical writer and a mother of two. All
those who have had more than one child know how full of anxiety we are about
everything we do for and with the firstborn. 

It’s like a hands-on experience, and we are more prepared for
the next, so – to say. I would love to blabber on and will do so shortly, especially
after introducing you to Baby Led Weaning, in case you haven’t read about it. 

What is Baby-Led

Baby-led weaning, also known as baby-led solids or self-feeding
is an alternative method of introducing solid foods to infants. This method is considered an “extended” version of
the standard process of spoon-feeding, where the infant is entirely responsible
for consuming their food without assistance from their parents. 

As the name suggests, it is a process that is
wholly driven by the infant’s needs and curiosity. In other words, the infant
is encouraged to feed themselves with their hands, with no assistance from a
spoon or fork.


Baby eating with own hands.

This is usually done with soft foods and finger foods, which
are accessible for the infant to handle, taste, and consume. 

Got that, right? 

As a first-time parent, I had doubts about everything. Whether my girl is sleeping just enough or more or less, is
she meeting her milestones of turning, sitting up, crawling, blabbering,
teething, and, most importantly, eating? 

So, I asked the doctor – obviously, but also my mother. She
had taken care of three of us and was more than qualified to answer my queries
– she was experienced. 

So yes, she and my doctor led me by knowledge and example.

Being a mother of two can be challenging. There were times I found it challenging to make it to the
clinic, so I relied on technology, where I could connect with the experts for
my queries. 

Below are a few pointers that I needed to make decisions on.

Read on; it’ll help. 

What is the right age
to start BLW, and why?

The critical difference between baby-led weaning and
traditional spoon-feeding is that the former allows infants to feed themselves
with their hands. This is one of the essential benefits of BLW, and it is the
main advantage of this feeding method over spoon-feeding.


Regarding when you should start baby-led weaning, some
parenting experts recommend starting at six months. Others recommend waiting
until your baby turns one. 

There is no “right” age for baby-led weaning.
Ultimately, you should be guided by your child’s readiness and developmental


If your child is ready for solids, but you’re not prepared to
transition them to a spoon-feeding method, then baby-led weaning might be for


Also, there are a few things you should know before you start


Things to Know Before
You Start Baby-Led Weaning or BLW


baby led weaning tips to know first!
Introduce BLW with care!

BLW is not appropriate for every baby 

The advantages of BLW are the same as spoon-feeding:
Babies tend to eat more, eat better (more variety, better nutrition), and eat
more quickly than those fed pureed foods. 

The disadvantages are also the same as spoon-feeding:
Babies fed with their hands are more likely to choke. 

BLW is not a “no-fail” method – For parents
who feel that spoon-feeding is too challenging, baby-led weaning might seem
like a good alternative.


Rather than actively teaching the infant how to eat, parents
allow the infant to take control of the situation. 

While this is certainly better than forcing solids into your
child’s mouth, it’s important to note that there is no “no-fail”
method when introducing solid foods. 

All babies are different and will experience some challenges
when transitioning to solids. The key is to expect challenges and be prepared
to overcome them with the help and support of your child’s pediatrician.


BLW should always follow the advice of a pediatrician. You
need to take the advice of a pediatrician if you need more time or means to
make it personally to their clinic. 

Solids should only be introduced when a child is ready
for them. There is no “should” when it comes to baby-led weaning. The
only thing you should be doing is following the advice of your child’s

BLW is not a shortcut – If your child is ready for
solids, but you feel like spoon-feeding is just too tricky, and you’re eager to
switch your child to BLW, wait to do it. BLW is not a shortcut. It’s a very
involved and challenging process that takes time and patience.

If you want to make your BLW experience successful then follow
the below-mentioned important tips.


 Important Tips before You Start Baby-Led Weaning

 Before you kickstart the process of baby-led weaning, keep the following essential points in mind-

Start with easy finger foods 

Once you’ve decided to try BLW, you should first sit
down with your child and start with easy finger foods. These foods should be
soft, mild, and easy for your child to hold, taste, and swallow. Some good
starter foods include Grilled or steamed vegetables (broccoli, carrots,
zucchini, etc.), Fruit (pears, bananas, apples, etc.). 

3.     Give your child
plenty of time and space to eat. One of the biggest challenges of feeding your
baby with their hands is that they usually eat more slowly than when spoon-fed.
Babies fed with their hands tend to eat more, eat better, and eat more quickly
than those fed pureed foods. That said, it takes more time to eat with your

Giving your baby enough time and space to eat is your
job as a parent. You must be patient and allow your baby sufficient time to eat
on their terms. 

This will not be easy, but it will be important in helping
your baby transition to BLW successfully. Also, there are a few advantages and disadvantages of BLW that
you really need to consider.



Pros of Baby-Led

 Here are the major advantages of BLW for babies, check them now-

Increases brain development

your baby feed themselves with their hands helps them develop the dexterity and
control they need to pick up food and feed themselves as adults.

Stronger jaw muscles

 Babies are born with
weak jaw muscles, so parents are often advised to avoid spoon-feeding them
purees. The chewing motion required for finger foods strengthens the jaw, which
helps develop strong muscles. 

Better communication skills

jaw muscles are crucial to normal speech development. Feeding your baby finger
foods instead of purees also improves their ability to use language.

Better eating habits

Feeding your
baby finger foods makes them more likely to eat a balanced diet as an adult.
This is because they control what they’re eating and can decide whether they
like a particular food’s flavor.

Allows infants to transition to
solid foods at their own pace 

The main advantage of baby-led weaning is that
it gives infants the freedom to transition to solid foods at their own pace.

No pressure to eat or meet a
particular milestone

Another benefit of BLW is that there is no pressure to
eat or meet a specific milestone. There is no wrong time to start baby-led
weaning; babies can take as much time as they need to get used to eating with
their hands before moving on to more advanced foods.

Babies can eat a wider variety of

Babies fed with their hands tend to eat a wider variety of foods than
those who are spoon-fed. This is because parents tend to offer a more
comprehensive array of finger foods to babies eating independently.

                         Cut Time, Quilt More

Cons of Self-feeding Baby

 Though BLW offers several benefits, however, it has certain drawbacks too, do check them out and make a conscious decision for your baby-

Requires a lot of patience – The main disadvantage of
BLW is that it requires a lot of patience from parents. During the transition
period from pureed foods to finger foods, you will need to be patient with your
child, especially when it comes to eating. It takes time to learn to eat with
your hands and finding the right foods and techniques can be challenging,
especially for younger babies.


Risk of choking – The most significant shortcoming of
baby-led weaning is the risk of choking. Because babies eating with their hands
don’t have much stimulation from the taste and texture of food, they are less
likely to chew as much as babies being spoon-fed.


How to make baby-led
weaning a success

Don’t force the issue – If your child isn’t ready for
baby-led weaning, you can’t force them to eat with their hands. This method is
all about the baby and what they want or need. 

 Offer a wide
variety of foods – One of the most important things you can do to make BLW a
success is to offer a wide variety of foods. Make a meal out of it: Let your
baby explore different flavors and textures by serving various foods.

 Prepare ahead: Make
a few different finger foods and store them in airtight containers in the
fridge to quickly grab a snack when you’re short on time. 

Offer drinks from a cup: If your baby is over six
months old, offer them water or other healthy beverages such as breastmilk,
formula, or fruit juice. 

Be careful about choking: Be mindful of how much your
baby puts in their mouth at once. 

Make sure your child is ready. 

Finally, make sure that your child is ready for solids
before you transition them to BLW; if your baby has accepted a small bite of
semi-solid food and enjoyed the experience of taking a bite and relishing the
taste, and successfully chewed and swallowed it – it may be the time to
transition to BLW.


Frequently Asked
Questions on Self-Feeding by Babies

Here are some common questions parents ask about baby-led


Q. Will baby-led weaning
cause the baby to get constipated?


A. Some parents worry that BLW will cause the baby to get
constipated because they aren’t getting as much fiber as they would with a
spoon-feeding method. 

This is usually not the case, as babies still get plenty of
fiber from vegetables and fruits, which are common finger foods.


Q. What is the best way
to introduce solids to my baby?

A. This depends on the method you choose. If you’re starting with
baby-led weaning, you can start with finger foods and purees. If you’re
starting with spoon-feeding, you can begin with purees and gradually add finger


Q. Can I feed my baby
whatever I want?

A. Yes and no. Babies’ digestive systems aren’t ready to process
many healthy foods for adults. You can provide your baby with a wide variety of
foods, but ensure they’re fit for infants. 

Also, if you want to learn more about it, you can ask such
questions at this online Q&A platform



Author details: 

Sanhita Ghosh is a medical content writer with over 15 years
of experience in the field. Also, she is a mother of two beautiful kids.

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