Based on a paper written by Gill Rapley, Baby Led Weaning just means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.
According to the most recent research most babies reach for food at around six months, which is also the time that mothers are being encouraged to wean by their Health Visitors, in accordance with the WHO guidelines.
The distinct advantage of weaning at around six months is that by then, our children are developmentally capable of feeding themselves proper food, in other words – no more mush!
You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t.
That’s the essence of Baby Led Weaning. No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.
For more information please see www.babyledweaning.com
And here's an interview with Gill Rapley
And the Baby Led Weaning NZ Facebook page
Most babies are usually ready for solids between four and six months of age.Some signs to look for are:
Baby can hold their head up
Their tongue is no longer protruding
They are waking more at night
They are intensely interested in others eating
They seems hungry after feeds
They frequently puts things in her mouth
Choose a time of the day when you're calm and patient. Use a small teaspoon and put the food in the middle of baby's tongue. Start with one food at a time and add a new food or flavour every 4-5 days.
Start with a small amount, about half to one teaspoon, once a day and increase this gradually to about half a cup before increasing the number of meals. Then carry on increasing the amount, letting baby's appetite guide how much is eaten. If baby doesn’t like a new food the first time, stop and try again with a small amount a few days later. Some foods will take several tastes before baby likes it, especially if it has an unfamiliar texture.
Texture is more important than taste when first starting solids as her taste is still developing. Gradually increase the texture of the food.
If baby has been eating well during a feed and then stops, either by turning her head away, pushing the food or your hand away, or closing her mouth and crying, they have had enough.
If you are going the puree route the foods need to be soft and smooth. Use a blender or a fine sieve. You can add expressed breast milk, formula or water to make the food liquid enough for your baby to swallow.
First Puree Foods to Try
Pureed fruit - cooked apple, pear, apricot, peach, ripe banana
Cooked and pureed vegetables - carrot, pumpkin, parsnip, potato, marrow, avocado, kumara
Baby breakfast cereals such as iron-fortified baby rice mixed with your baby’s usual milk
Prepared, canned baby foods (check the labels for the age they are suitable for)
Do not add salt, sugar, artificial sweeteners or butter to your baby’s food.
Baby food from a jar can be stored for up to 48 hours, once opened, so long as it is put straight into the fridge and you didn’t feed your baby directly from the jar.
Home-made foods frozen can be stored for up to 3-4 weeks.
Food stored in the fridge or freezer should be heated through until piping hot and then left to cool before serving.
Throw uneaten food away as bacteria may make the food go off.