I started weaning my now 33 year old daughter in an African Country where we were lucky if we even received a daily newspaper. I was lucky to have the help of my very learned friend and housekeeper, Mary, who had been around many babies over the years. There were no magazines to read, no internet to research and celebrity mothers hadn’t been heard of.
So, it was all naturally done using fresh produce from the garden â€“ Squash, Pumpkin, Avocadoes and whatever grew/fell off the trees. These days, there is a myriad of information on â€˜the latest’, â€˜the best’, â€˜the healthiest’ which I would have found incredibly confusing. We just want what’s best for our babies so in this article I’m going to go back to basics and good old common sense and instinct!
So, what’s the difference between weaning by spoon and baby led weaning? Weaning by spoon usually starts around the 5 month mark and babies are offered pureed food, in small amounts off a spoon. The plan is to gradually increase flavours and textures as the months go by.
Baby led weaning should start when your baby is able to sit up, unaided, with a straight back. This usually indicates that their gagging reflex (bringing food from the back of the mouth to the front to avoid choking) is formed. It is very much a more relaxed process than weaning by spoon with the idea that they â€˜help themselves’ to whole foods that are placed in front of them â€“ nothing is pureed.
There is no â€˜right or wrong’ â€“ studies at the moment are coming out in favour of baby-led weaning but it is all about what suits you and your baby.
Each and every baby is an individual. Be guided by them â€“ and your situation â€“ for example, if you are returning to work during the weaning process, this will greatly influence how you approach it. Strange though it may sound, some babies hate having a spoon coming towards them and will refuse food offered on it, whereas they will happily feed themselves.
A mixture of both often works well so that you have the peace of mind with the amount they are taking in whilst still encouraging them to â€˜help themselves’. Many parents like to spoon feed the breakfast and then use the baby led weaning for lunch and tea. Do be prepared for a mess, though â€“ you’d be amazed how far Spaghetti Bolognese travels!