Fé just had her 6-month birthday (check out her 6-month old check-in) so we have officially started introducing solid foods! There are a lot of different techniques on how to introduce solid foods. Here in the UK, they promote baby-led weaning, which basically means you give them finger foods and serve them the same sorts of foods that we eat. Traditional weaning methods have babies eat pureed foods that gradually get chunkier until they are able to eat normal adult foods.
I really like the idea of baby-led weaning. Basically, you start feeding your baby the same foods that you eat from a very young age (6-months). For example, we have (tried) given Fé a half a banana, slices of avocado, cucumber slices, carrot slices, and more.
The idea is that they are able to pick up the food and eat it themselves. They first get used to different textures and tastes before they start feeding themselves full meals. Many of the other moms in my baby group have had a lot of success with baby-led weaning. Fé, on the other hand, isn’t too keen on the idea. She doesn’t quite understand that the food has to go into her mouth. After a couple of failed attempts at trying to get her to eat solids, I turned to a more traditional weaning method. I served her pureed pumpkin and she really enjoyed it!
Anyway, I wanted to share a comparison between baby-led weaning and traditional weaning!
What is Baby-led weaning?
The method of letting your child feed themselves from very early on. The method was originally created by UK health visitor and midwife Gill Rapely. The idea is that babies can feed themselves normal adult foods from the beginning of weaning. That means no mush, purees, or food preparation, and makes it very easy for mommy and daddy.
I totally agree the idea that Fé will start eating normal foods seems so easy! In practice, however, Fé just doesn’t eat. I have found that traditional weaning (at least for now) works best for Fé.
- Baby learns to eat on their own/ becomes an independent eater
- Easy, requires very little preparation (baby eats the same foods as you!)
- Encourages social eating and family eating
- Research suggests it reduces the chance of ending up with a picky eater
- Gagging or choking hazard
- Child may not eat very much at first
- Hard to gauge how much child is eating
What is Traditional Weaning?
Also known as the five-step-weaning plan. This is where you slowly introduce solids in different stages. Start with pureed foods, then mush, then add some chunks. By the time they are one they should be eating proper solids.
I have found that Fé enjoys eating pureed foods much better than trying to figure out finger foods.
- Easier to gauge how much baby is eating
- Easier to introduce Iron Rich foods
- No choking or gagging
- Less messy
- Time-consuming, meal preparation
- More of a hassle (if you are out and about it may be difficult to prepare a meal)
- May have a more difficult time transitioning to full solids later on
What we are trying…The Mixed Method
I am trying to do a combination of both baby-led and traditional weaning. I am feeding her pureed foods while also slowly introducing solids. I have found that for Fé (and myself) this seems to be the best approach.
She is able to experience different tastes and textures by exploring food on her own while we also spoon feed pureed or mashed foods. This makes it easier for us to actually feed Fé while she gets the same experience (or similar) as children who are exclusively Baby-led. I am not very strict on how pureed the food is. I am not necessarily following a traditional method of started with very pureed foods, then mushy, then more chunky. She is also still eating many of the same foods I eat. For example, we serve her oatmeal, smoothies, applesauce, yogurt etc. These are normal “adult” foods that are easily spoon-fed! I also let Fé play with her own spoon while I use another spoon to feed her foods. This allows for her to get used to the idea of feeding herself by using utensils and practice her fine motor skills =)
At the end of the day, it is all about what works best for you and your baby! Some baby’s in my baby group LOVE solid foods and their moms have had no problem introducing solids to them. Some moms love the traditional weaning method. For many, doing a mixture of both works well! Good luck on your baby weaning journey!
More Information on Baby Weaning
For more information on baby-led weaning and traditional weaning check out these websites and books:
- Here is a great article comparing Baby-led and traditional weaning
- Article from Made for Mums
- Baby-led weaning book
- Raising a Healthy Happy Eater
- Baby Self-feeding
- Big Book of Organic Baby Food
- The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers
- 201 Organic Baby Purees
Products for Weaning
Bowls, Plates, Spoons, & Cups:
- Munchkin White Hot Safety Spoons
- Nuby Safety Spoons
- Munchkin Stay Put Suction Cup Bowls
- Munchkin White Hot Bowls
- Silicon Starter Spoons
- Spill Resistant Gyro Bowl
- Gum-friendly soft-tip feeding spoons
- OXO On the Go Travel Spoons
- Nuby Mash n’ Feed Bowl and Spoon
- Tommee Tippee Free Flow Training Cup
- Munchkin LATCH Transition Cup
- Gerber Graduates Tri-Suction Plates
- Silicone Placemat & Plate
Storage & Feeding Kits
- Healthy Homemade Baby Food Starter Kit
- Baby food Storage Freezer Tray
- Vital Baby Weaning Set
- Solids Starter Kit
- WeeSprout Reusable Storage Pouch
- Infanto Squeeze Station
- OXO Glass Storage Containers
- Munchkin Snack Catcher
- Take & Toss Snack Cups
- Magic Bullet Baby Bullet System
- Babycook 4 in 1 Steamer & Grinder
- Munchkin Baby Food Grinder
- Baby Brezza Food Maker
- Baby Food Mill
- Nuby Garden Fresh Blender
Bibs & Accessories:
- Waterproof Silicon Bib
- Waterproof Bib with Sleeves
- Silicon Nipple Food Feeder
- Tommee Tippee easy-roll Silicon Bib
- Luvable Friends Bibs with crumb catcher
- Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder
- Graco Simpleswitch Portable Highchair
- Costco Simple Fold High Chair
- OXO Tot Sprout High Chair
- 3 in 1 High Chair
- Abiie Wooden High Chair
- High Chair Cover Pad
- Graco Booster Chair
- Nuby Plastic Floor Mat