Baby-led weaning is an infant-driven approach to introducing non-pureed foods individually so that the baby gets to know their real shape, colour, smell and taste.
The size and shape of the food will allow the baby to pick it up and put it in their mouth as an alternative to purées or blended food spoon-fed by parents.
BLW allows the baby to take a far more active role in feeding. Parents decide on what foods to leave within the baby’s reach so that they can experiment and manipulate, but it will be up to the baby to choose what to pick from whatever is on offer, and how much and at what pace to eat.
Having the baby play a more active part in feeding and be involved in the social mealtime experience is the philosophy underlying this method, as opposed to the more passive use of purées only, spoon-fed by parents.
Self-feeding skills in sufficient nutritional quantities are not acquired until around 8 months, which is why their needs will be covered by breast or bottle feeding.
We now know that breast milk composition and taste varies according to what the mother eats and this is therefore the perfect vehicle for presenting the baby with the food making up the mother’s diet, although the BLW approach is also feasible with mixed-fed or formula-fed babies.