The How and Why of Baby-Led Weaning


What is Baby Led Weaning?

When is My Baby Ready for BLW?

The Basics of Weaning a Baby

The Benefits of BLW

What is Baby Led Weaning?

baby eating an apple, teething baby

Baby-led weaning, also known as BLW is the slow introduction of solid food, from the start of the weaning process. Instead of pureed foods combined with breastfeeding, you allow your baby to discover all types of foods at their own pace.

Just like breastfeeding on demand,  where a baby decides when and how much to eat. The baby decides how much food to eat and the choice of what to eat, by being presented with a variety of finger foods.

When is My Baby Ready for BLW

  • It is imperative that your baby shows developmental signs of readiness before starting BLW.
  • According to the World Health Organization (the WHO), babies are ready for food from 6 months, although some babies will be ready at 5 months and others only at 7 or 8 months.
  • The tongue thrust reflex must be gone before starting this process.
  • Your baby must be able to sit upright and self-supported.
  • Your baby must reach out to food by him/herself and be able to grasp it with their hands.
  • BLW works best with a breastfed baby, the muscles for chewing are better developed because of the sucking motion, and the breastfed baby has already been introduced to many food flavors via the breast milk.
  • A formula fed baby can be weaned with BLW, it might just take a longer time period, but at the end, only you can decide if BLW is for your baby.

The Basics of Weaning Baby

With BLW your baby gets presented with a variety of weaning foods such as fresh and cooked food to pick from by hand or spoon.

No mushier pureed food. Always start with your baby's regular breastfeeding session.

Soft fruit and vegetables can be given raw, or harder ones may be steamed. Slices of raw or cooked apple can be provided to chew.

Weaning foods list of ideas

With this type of infant weaning, your baby learns by experiencing the different flavors and textures of the food. In the beginning, your baby will only suck on the food and will later start chewing and swallowing pieces.

Many parents worry about their babies choking, but babies can't move food to the back of their mouths until they learn to chew. If for some reason a piece of food makes its way to the back of the mouth, your baby will cough it out, remember never to leave your baby unattended while he/she is eating.

The process can be time consuming and messy, so make sure you put aside extra time.

The Benefits of BLW

  • It helps to develop hand-eye coordination.
  • It helps to increase sensory development, due to different textures and flavors being introduced.
  • It lowers the risk of obesity in children.
  • A baby learns independence early on.
  • The food that is given to your baby is homemade, fresh and healthy.

    By Zelda Behr

BLW Research Findings

Find their research papers and finding here. 

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