Baby-led weaning is a method that allows babies to feed themselves solid foods. It is seen as a healthier weaning method. Recent research suggests it does not increase a risk of choking as people assume.
The benefit of baby-led weaning
In the traditional way, parents usually follow a rigid solid schedule: starting with rice cereal, then moving to various types of pureed fruits, vegetables, and meats. They try foods in other consistencies with the size of a baby finger to prevent choking.
Baby-led weaning method passes pureed steps and lets parents offer the baby appropriately sized pieces of foods. If the baby likes it, he or she will eat it. The important thing is that this method helps the baby develop motor skills, become less a picky eater and possibly have a lower risk of obesity because they can control how much they are eating. Also, there is evidence suggesting that baby-led weaning supports proper jaw development, hand – eye coordination, dexterity, and healthy food choice habit.
More importantly, baby-led weaning does not cause more choking risk than spoon–feeding. However, this does not mean that baby-led weaning totally poses no risk of choking. In this study, there is nearly 35% of babies choked on food at least once with both baby-led weaning and spoon-feeding method. So, for the safety of children, parents should be trained in how to safely let their babies feed themselves.
Baby-led weaning rules
First, make sure the baby can sit up by themselves. This means they should be at least 6 months old.
The next step is making sure the baby’s food passes a “squish test”. Parents test the food before to see if they can squish it on the roof of their mouth. You should not give your baby raw vegetables, hard raw fruits such as apples, fruits with pits or citrus fruits, small fruits like grapes, nuts, popcorn, etc.
Finally, while the baby eats, you have to supervise carefully.
Also, researchers suggest some following tips to serve foods:
−Foods are soft enough for the baby to smash with their tongue.
−Foods that do not form a crumb in the baby’ s mouth.
−Let the baby eat at their own pace and under their control.
−Foods are offered when a baby is sitting up.
−Foods are given with an adult’s supervision.
All in all, baby-led weaning can be considered as safe as other methods are and it does not increase the risk of choking. Parents can try some tips above to let their babies enjoy baby-led weaning safely.
You might also want to read:
- Baby-led Weaning Part 1: What Is It?
- Baby-led Weaning Part 2: Pros and Cons
- Best Ways to Wean Your Baby
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 4, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019
“Baby-led” weaning doesn’t raise choking risk. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20160919/baby-led-weaning-doesnt-raise-choking-risk-study#1. Accessed April 15, 2017
Baby-led weaning doesn’t increase choking risk. http://www.mothering.com/articles/baby-led-weaning-doesnt-pose-choking-hazard-methods-one-study-says-no/. Accessed April 15, 2017
Baby-led weaning doesn’t increase choking risk. https://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/baby-led-weaning-doesnt-increase-choking-risk/. Accessed April 15, 2017