But what is «Baby Led Weaning» (BLW)? BLW is when the baby guides and leads the process of eating solids, leaving behind the spoon-feed method.
During the past years this «new» method has become very trendy. A method in which babies are, in a way, in charge of their own feeding, because they eat when they are hungry, with their own little hands and in a totally autonomous way. We say «new» because maybe we should first of all take a look back on how our ancestors ate, before the invention of food processors. Electric mixers appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, and with them an entirely new industry with the emergence of purees and pre-made baby foods. Our grandparents, great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents already practiced BLW, and it was something very natural. Babies sat on their mothers’ laps and ate from their plate. Although the method already existed, the concept was created by Gill Rapley.
Baby Led Weaning is not only fashionable, it offers thousands of benefits, not only for the baby but also for the parents. When our babies start with solids it is a very special moment. It is the beginning of this new stage, to which we should dedicate all our love, patience and passion. So enjoy it!
The main benefit for parents is that they will probably take the opportunity to improve -or maybe change- the family diet to a much healthier one, since the baby should eat almost the same they do. We have to say also that with this method planning children’s menus and purees should come to an end. This is the reason why cooking twice and separately should also be over. The baby will enjoy what is eaten at the table, adapted to his/her needs.
On the other hand, the baby’s benefits are endless. Hand dexterity, «hand-eye-mouth» coordination and chewing improve as well as the sensory experience, since the baby discovers all kinds of textures, smells, flavors and colors. It also helps them to recognize different foods individually, developing a positive relationship with food, as they decide what and how much to put in their mouths. It encourages their autonomy and independence, fosters the development of self-confidence and security, helps family integration, and finally, constitutes endless fun and learning, for them and for us.
But all that glitters is not gold. We cannot enter this world without preparing ourselves before starting. There is no sense just giving a baby a piece of food and leave it to it. BLW is much more than that. The food must be presented safely, there are foods to be avoided and others which are totally prohibited. Cleaning is also a point to consider, and it is part of the learning and development process. Without knowing, one day your baby is eating by itself with a spoon and the food does not fall on the ground.
The greatest fear of parents is that their little ones may choke. Studies have shown that there is no more risk of choking with BLW than with purees, in fact, with the BLW method, they learn how to chew and manage not only food but other things that they put in their mouth.
It is important, whether we decide to use BLW or not, to take a First Aid course, because babies do not choke only on food. Any case, you should always keep yourself well-informed since information is power.
The options you have are endless. It also possible to do a mixture of BLW and purees, this can be adapted depending on the needs of each individual family.
My name is Gina Ros and I was introduced to BLW when we started complementary feeding with my daughter. I have always been passionate about cooking, and I have worked in the hospitality industry most of my life. I have now combined my passion for cooking with my passion for my daughter in this world known as “Baby Led Weaning”. This has been a wonderful experience that we have thoroughly enjoyed, and we still have a long way to go together.
After this wonderful journey, I have decided to become a BLW coach to be able to help other moms. You can learn more on my Instagram account @vikingbaby_blw and for more information just DM.