If your baby is nearing six months, you have probably started thinking about how you want to introduce solid foods to them. The available options and the most opted for are Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and Spoon Fed Weaning (SFW). You must be wondering about the meaning of these two ways and which one is best for your baby. So, in this blog, we will explain to you the meaning of Baby Led Weaning and Spoon Feeding, along with the pros and cons of each process so that you can easily choose the right thing for your baby.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby-led weaning is an approach to adding complementary foods to a baby’s diet of breast milk or formula. It facilitates oral motor development and strongly focuses on the family meal, while maintaining eating as a positive, interactive experience. A Baby Led Weaning means that you let your baby guide the weaning journey by disposing of the foods you introduce to them each time and they can feed themselves. Basically, spoon feeding relies the most on solid foods.
Pros of Baby Led Weaning
Baby Led Weaning comes with many benefits for both the baby and mom. Some of the benefits include:
- It gives baby control over what they eat
- It helps to teach new skills, including oral and fine-motor skills by exploring new foods and tastes by themselves.
- It allows your baby to get messy. So, it may even help reduce the stress some babies experience when they have things on their hands.
- Your baby may be less likely to become overweight because some research suggests that a baby who learns how to self-regulate hunger will be less likely to become overweight as they get older.
- It utilizes babies’ tendency to explore things with their mouths
- It encourages including babies as part of the family meal rather than eating at a separate time and a separate meal from everyone else.
- It puts the focus on exploring foods rather than stuffing a baby’s tummy.
Cons of Baby Led Weaning
BLW comes with a few disadvantages as well. So, here’s the list of Baby Led Weaning pros:
- Giving babies certain foods before they’ve developed the needed oral motor skills to eat it could lead to gagging, vomiting and potentially choking.
- The baby may have an uncomfortable mealtime experience since they may keep coughing and gagging to prevent choking.
- It’s harder to pinpoint an allergic reaction because BLW means that you will offer various foods to your baby. But, if many foods are given at once, it’s more difficult to identify.
- Babies don’t have teeth, so you need to be very careful about the foods you introduce to them and how you present them.
- Many parents think that it is a waste of money, food, and time.
What Is Spoon Fed Weaning?
Spoon feeding is to feed your baby by means of a spoon. Spoon-fed weaning involves you spoon feeding your baby smooth mashed food or purees, progressing to thicker mashed foods with soft lumps and then onto minced and chopped food from around 9 months. Quite simply you choose soft first foods and turn into a smooth mash or purée which can then be fed to your baby with a spoon.
Each approach comes with some benefits and disadvantages, so let’s take a look at them.
Pros of Spoon Fed Weaning:
- You can choose your baby’s feeding pace and this is very satisfying for them especially when they are hungry.
- Allowing your baby to feed themselves comes with a lot of mess. But, Baby Fed Weaning means less mess because you will be in control.
- By creating your own mashes or purees you know exactly what is going into them and what nutrients and vitamins you’re giving your baby.
- If you’re helping to feed them, you can be sure they’re actually eating the food you’ve prepared rather than playing with it.
- It lowers the risk of choking because if you begin with smooth food and then move onto thicker mash with soft lumps you are giving your baby time to learn how to manage increasingly more difficult food textures at their own pace.
- You can save much time by preparing your baby purees and storing them using BROTHER MAX weaning pots. So, you can prepare your baby foods days ahead and store it in the refrigerator. Then, you can grab a pot and throw it in the microwave and your baby’s meal will be ready in seconds.
Cons of Spoon Fed Weaning:
- It can be more expensive. Some parents find it expensive if they are purchasing baby food and pouches.
- It can be time consuming if families are making homemade baby foods.
- It doesn’t allow babies to self- regulate food intake, more likely to eat more when being spoon fed.
- It can slow down developmental skills when babies end up being on purees too long.
So, these are the pros and cons of both weaning approaches for babies: Baby Led Weaning and Spoon Fed Weaning. As a mom, you need to consider both the advantages and downsides for both approaches and choose what you consider suitable for your baby’s health and your lifestyle. But, whether you’re going with BLW or SFW, BROTHER MAX offers you a variety of weaning products that you can use for both approaches. For example, you can use BROTHER MAX weaning bowls and plates to help your baby feed themselves easily with their little hands. You can also BROTHER MAX travel spoons which are made of soft silicone and come in two colors blue and pink to feed your baby by yourself.