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Baby Led Weaning (Introducing solids while breastfeeding)

What is it?

A method of introducing your baby to solid food while still continuing to breast feed.  Developed by Gill Rapley, she wrote the book ‘Baby led weaning’ and has lots of info on her website http://www.rapleyweaning.com including this leaflet summarizing the book http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/blwleaflet2.pdf

 

When do you start?

When your baby shows that they are ready!

Behaviours to watch out for:

·      Your baby reaching for your food

·      Your baby avidly watching you move food to your mouth and chew

·      Your baby starting to open their mouths and mimic eating when they are watching you

 

What do you do?

Put a big bib on your baby.  Sit them at the table with you.  Offer your baby pretty much the same food you are eating in strips or chunks they can hold onto.  Semi steam hard vegies like carrots but cut softer veg into strips long enough to hold and eat.  Some options include, veg sticks, fruit sticks/chunks, bread soldiers, pasta, rice, cup of yoghurt and a spoon, avocado on toast soldiers, soft boiled egg for dunking, meat strips, chicken drumsticks, cheese sticks, avocado slices, etc…

 

Benefits

·      It’s easy as you don’t have to puree anything or prepare different foods to what you are eating

·      Children learn to manipulate food in their mouths and learn to manage their gag reflex

·      They gag less

·      Evidence shows that offered healthy choices babies will self-select from all food groups (over a week)

·      Less  worry or fighting over food and how much your child eats, you both learn to trust your child will manage their own appetite and eating habits. 

·      Leads to lifelong healthy eating habits

·      Less likelihood of obesity and overeating if children are offered healthy options and can control their intake themselves

·      Childen are happy to try new foods and are more likely to eat a wide variety of foods as they get older (though not so much as toddlers!)

·      Stress free family mealtimes

 

Negatives

·      You need to trust that if your child isn’t eating much that they will catch up later in the week

·      It’s messy!  Check out the sillybillyz bibs http://www.sillybillyz.com.au for full coverage ;)