When it comes to feeding your baby during meal times, parents have been willing to do just about anything to avoid the constant tantrums and picky eating that kids usually have. For this reason, the various methods of feeding kids have received plenty of attention over the years.
Some people think that the way you introduce solids to your baby can either make them enjoy eating or cause them to have a negative attitude towards food throughout their childhood and even for the rest of their lives.
Currently, the most common method of giving babies solids has been the mash or puree method, where you feed the baby with a spoon. It helps ensure that the baby receives the required nutrients. And since the foods are nice and soft, there are fewer risks of the baby choking.
Recently there has been a new method which has gained plenty of popularity – The Baby-Led Weaning method, otherwise know as BLW. This is where babies select finger foods such as broccoli trees, carrot sticks, etc. These are foods that can fit your baby’s fist.
There have been unsubstantiated claims on how effective this method really is, in improving the baby’s confidence and dexterity. The only research available is the ability for the baby to recognize when they are full and it also tends to make them less fussy when it comes to food.
However, as with most things, the reality is that most parents do not use just one feeding method. They keep interchanging them depending on the day, the situation, and the baby’s mood of the day.
Which One Is Better?
It’s hard to tell which of the two is better than the other. It really depends on the parent, and the best option would be to use both methods together.
The magnitude of difference in the fussiness and enjoyment of food in babies while using either method has been minimal, which means that it really doesn’t matter. Here are the pros and cons of either of the methods.
Pros For Purees
- With this method, you always have a clear idea of how much the baby eats during feeding times, and you can see how much is left in the bowl.
- It is much easier to ensure that the baby receives the right nutrients during meal times as you can combine all of them together in a puree.
- You can also use the pre-prepared pouches and jars whenever you are out and don’t want to cook.
- Purees take time to prepare.
- Spoon feeding needs plenty of coaxing so the baby can eat from the spoon, and this can be quite taxing.
- There is less likelihood of enjoying meals together as you must allocate some time to feed the baby.
Baby-Led Weaning Pros
- It takes less time.
- It is easy to feed the baby the same food as yours so you do not have to do any extra cooking.
- There is no transitioning from purees to the lumpier foods.
- Your baby can explore different tastes and textures at their own pace.
- You don’t have to keep coaxing your baby to eat.
Baby-Led Weaning Cons
- It is quite a messy affair.
- You are never sure of how much your baby is eating and chances are that they may not be getting enough nutrients.
- The baby may just end up playing with the food instead of eating it.
- There are some concerns about choking and you must be extra careful.
- You will have to deal with people’s judgments, especially those who do not understand what you are doing.
- Small babies who don’t have teeth yet, may have trouble eating this food.
Safety Precautions When Using The Baby-Led Weaning Method
This method of feeding your baby can be a little risky because you’re giving the baby the option to feed themselves. For this to be successful, you must ensure that all foods are soft enough for them to swallow easily. If you are serving potatoes, ensure to peel and skin them.
Other Points To Follow With BLW
- Do not give your baby hot dogs, seeds, popcorn, hard candy, or nuts.
- Do not give the baby grapes, cherry tomatoes, cranberries, blueberries, or other types of small round foods.
- Don’t give the baby sticky foods such as peanut butter.
- Limit them to foods with less sugar, and do not give any that has added sugars or salt.
- Do not serve any honey before the baby turns one year old.
Overall, according to research, there isn’t anything pointing to which method is better than the other. As we mentioned, it really depends on the parents.
It is, however, important to note that how your kid eats is determined by a variety of factors which include genetic background, past experiences with food, and their interaction with their parents.