Baby led weaning – safe, natural and easy.
Getting to the point, baby led weaning is about finger foods (only finger foods) rather than spoon feeding and puree foods. Although I would say there are pros and cons to these different feeding methods, baby led weaning means that baby develops hand eye co-ordination as well as chewing skills by eating real foods that have not been mashed or pureed.
Spoon feeding is not wrong, it is just unnecessary.
Some babies are happy to do things for themselves and baby led weaning encourages them to think for themselves and practice chewing and moving food around their mouth. This helps babies to learn about food- in particular which foods they do/don’t enjoy. This is because they handle foods themselves, choosing from a selection laid before them. Whilst experimenting with a variety of colours, tastes and textures, it can also mean that they learn about food much more quickly, enjoy meal times and become sociable and happy eaters. I believe that if baby watches other people eating their food, they will be much more likely to copy because they will be curious about the whole process.
Using the baby led weaning method means that the baby leads the way and eats as much or as little as he/she wants. Recommended from 6 months onwards (due to the digestive systems becoming developed) this means that baby will show signs when developmentally ready, at their unique pace. They develop in confidence and independence as they copy what they see others doing… eating. Whilst joining in with others at meal times, babies may also enjoy experiencing different flavours and textures and getting messy.
As a general rule, there is no need to plan for separate meals. Some meals may need to be adapted slightly to make them ‘baby friendly’ but if they are nutritious and healthy, you’re good to go!