I have my issues with the baby-feeding ideology known as Baby Led Weaning. Like many fad diets, it takes a good thing and pushes it to extremes that aren’t helpful and are potentially dangerous.
But let’s not throw out the baby led weaning with the bath water. (ha!) We’re all positive people here, right? If you’re not, you’d probably like to be. Let’s try that out and look at three positive aspects of baby led weaning that you can incorporate into your baby’s eating routines without going full Baby Led Weaning.
1. Pressure Free Eating
Under the ideals of Baby Led Weaning, getting food into the baby’s mouth is entirely up to the baby. This allows her to stop eating when she’s full, without the pressure of a well-meaning parent shoving food down her throat. Babies and children have an instinct that tells them how much food they need. Some days they’ll be ravenous, while on other days they’ll eat like a bird.
This can be stressful for parents, who usually feel responsible for how much their baby eats. Their worry is generally unnecessary. Babies grow and develop according to their genetic makeup, and they eat accordingly. It can be damaging to their natural process if parents (or medical professionals!) interfere and try to control their intake.
It’s incredibly important for parents to trust and follow their child’s feelings of hunger and satiety. In Baby Led Weaning, this is highly encouraged, and it’s a great reason to try letting your baby feed himself with appropriate foods.
2. Same Meal for Everyone
Under Baby Led Weaning, everyone in your family, including your baby, eat the same meal. It may sound crazy, because obviously babies have different nutritional needs than adults and older children, and yes it is important to offer the right foods to your baby, but this can still be accomplished with some careful planning of the family’s meals.
Starting this practice young can prevent the habit of preparing separate food for children and adults, a dangerous practice that only further promotes the dreaded state of “picky eating.” Avoiding picky eaters is one of the major draws for Baby Led Weaning.
3. Family Meals
Since you’re eating the same food as your baby, you’re more likely to be eating your food together with your baby, and the rest of your family. Meals were made to be enjoyed together. I love it when I see families setting the time apart to eat together.
There are many benefits to family meals, both nutritionally and behaviourally. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to maintain and protect it as children get older.
Not A Bad Fad
So, as a whole, Baby Led Weaning isn’t a fad that needs to be avoided entirely. As long as you acquaint yourself with the risks, feel free to jump aboard the bandwagon. There are many positive aspects to take away from this newer food philosophy.
Now go check out my quick guide for getting started safely with Baby Led Weaning!
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