Baby led weaning: Puree complementary food for your baby
It doesn't always have to be porridge. With baby led weaning, you can switch from mother's milk to normal food without coercion and cooking stress. The nutrition method offers health and practical advantages, is enormously varied and is simply fun. Kleiner Fuchs has summarized the most important facts and tips for a relaxed introduction to porridge for you.
Solid food instead of porridge
No, BLW is not a new phenomenon and not a car brand. The term "baby led weaning" might give the impression that it is a fashion trend from the USA. And admittedly, the literal translation "baby-led weaning" - meaning self-determined weaning - sounds a bit technical. To make matters worse, the whole thing is casually abbreviated to three letters. However, the impression is deceptive. One thing is certain: for centuries, parents have instinctively been feeding their children numerous variations of puree complementary foods. As a self-determined nutritional concept, the BLW method is relatively young. The principle of a consciously controlled introduction of porridge based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) was developed by the midwife Gill Rapley in the early 2000s.
The child and its needs are at the center of the food supply. The baby is not forced into anything and only eats what it puts in its mouth. Of course, we are only referring to (age-appropriate) food and the family dining table. There, the parents ideally familiarize the baby with a wide range of foods from which it can choose freely. In addition, they are usually still breastfed or bottle-fed.
Puree & healthy nutrition for your baby
The BLW method brings a multitude of advantages - for the children, the parents and the entire family. According to many practicing parents, the intuitive diet brings relaxation to the dining room and everyday life. The baby takes a seat at the dining table with all other family members. The classic "baby feeding" is completely eliminated. Everyone can contribute accordingly and interact with each other. Typically, the youngest member of the family will mimic the behaviors of their parents and siblings and develop an enjoyment of eating. By switching to complementary feeding, many families are also opting for a healthier and more conscious diet. In the end, everyone benefits from it.
Above all, however, baby-led nutrition strengthens the child's self-confidence and independence. After all, we humans are born with an unrestrained urge to explore. We want to feel, taste and discover. And that is exactly what the pulpless nutrition principle enables. Feeding them pap does the opposite of that. Eating becomes almost an unpleasant duty. For many people, the effects of this manifest themselves well into adulthood in the form of eating disorders. The parents lay the foundation for later eating behavior in the earliest childhood of their baby. Through the playful introduction to the topic of nutrition using the BLW method, the children develop a natural feeling of satiety. For this reason, babies who are allowed to eat independently are less likely to become overweight later on. This way you can set your own pace and enjoy the food.
The diet also has a positive effect on the physiological development of the baby. When reaching for food, it learns the so-called pincer grip. Hand-eye coordination improves progressively. For later functioning digestion, promoting the ability to chew as early as possible is also important. Chewing food is the first - and unfortunately an often underestimated - step of digestion. The intensive occupation with the chewing tools of the oral cavity also has a beneficial effect on language development.
In this way, the introduction of supplementary food succeeds without compulsion
You can get started with the BLW method as soon as your baby meets the necessary physical requirements. First and foremost, it should be able to sit up straight at the dining table. From about the sixth or seventh month of life, most children are ready to start solid food. From this age, they usually also develop an interest in solid food. The feeding method is particularly suitable for babies who often refuse porridge or reach for certain foods.
In general, there are hardly any fixed rules. It is best to first sit your baby on your lap and let them observe what is happening at the table with curiosity. To promote the child's autonomy, it was later to be given its own high chair. The family members at the dining table can offer the baby different foods over the course of the meal together, completely at ease. As a parent, you don't have to take any action. Too large an offer may overwhelm the child. The initiative should come from the baby. As a rule, the youngest table companion will reach for food on his own anyway and put it in his mouth.
Of course, a baby cannot eat everything. Unseasoned side dishes such as individual boiled broccoli florets, a piece of bread or raw fruit and vegetable sticks are suitable for starting solids. However, foods with added salt or sugar are not allowed. The same applies to ready meals, fish, seafood or smoked meat.
The BLW method should always be combined with breastfeeding or other forms of nutrition, especially at the beginning. Of course, the diet does not have to be completely pure. Rather, it is about familiarizing the baby with food and making eating a pleasure.