Baby-led weaning is a means of integrating complementary foods into a baby`s diet consisting of breast milk or ready-to-serve formula. A simple method of food transition, BLW facilitates the evolution of natural age appropriate oral coordination while preserving eating as an enriching, positive experience. The main goal of this type of weaning is to allow the child an opportunity to gain independent self-control and gain confidence in total independence from parents. Following a successful infant-led wean is imperative to lifelong success for children and for themselves.
The basic methods of infant-led wean are typically a combination of homeopathy, natural remedies, guided imagery, audio recording systems, speech therapy, or hypnosis. These techniques provide an effective way to assist parents with achieving the necessary lifestyle changes necessary to promote healthy self-esteem and confidence. Parents should be made aware that they have choices to make concerning their own infant; these choices will have an effect on their children later in life. It is important for parents to know and fully understand the alternatives to these commonly utilized methods of weaning.
Baby-led weaning occurs when the baby is only four months old and has not had solid food yet. From this time on, a mother can begin feeding baby solids at every meal. Baby solids consist of four to six small food items that are ready to be chewed. In addition, a mother can begin introducing fruits and vegetables into the baby`s diet. As a baby gets older, a weaning schedule can be implemented that includes solid foods from six months to two years of age. At two years of age, a baby should be introduced to ready-to-eat cereals, finger foods, and smaller snacks.
The majority of studies conducted indicate that breastfed infants do not differ in terms of weight at weaning from those that were bottle fed. However, there are some notable exceptions to the rule. Breastfed infants who were bottle fed, were more likely to gain weight than those who were breastfed. Although the difference did not reach statistical significance, it may be possible that babies who were bottle fed experienced some discomfort and pain during this process. More studies are needed to evaluate the effects that baby-led weaning has on the health of the child.
Experts believe that baby-led weaning benefits infants in several ways. First, the process allows them to become familiar with the texture, taste, and smell of food. This familiarity helps to reduce crying during the weaning process. Another benefit of this type of weaning is that it promotes weight gain. Most feedings are completed without solid food. These feeding sessions help to increase the baby`s intake of vitamins and other nutrients that he needs for healthy growth.
Baby-led weaning also allows the mother to fully breastfeed her infant. Infants who are bottle fed do not receive the same stimulation as they do when their mothers are actively breastfeeding. Being able to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of the baby’s life helps him to become accustomed to the bond between mom and baby. By the end of the first year, the infant is no longer receiving any food provided by the mother.
Baby-led weaning promotes a sense of independence in babies. By the age of four months, most children are capable of being weaned by themselves. By six months, many children are ready to receive formula as their main source of nourishment. formula may be introduced into the baby`s diet after this point, if his mother has been weaned and wants to continue to feed him milk. However, the baby should always be encouraged to drink from a bottle.
Infant-led weaning can be a difficult time for some families, especially if there are doubts about how much the infant can handle alone. Once the baby is weaned, it is advisable to keep him on a breastfeed for the first six months of his life. This will help him to become accustomed to the bond between the mother and baby and will help to ensure that he receives all the love and attention that he needs.