Baby-Led Weaning vs. Traditional-Led Weaning
Being a parent often involves a lot of decision making, with some decision being harder to make than others. If we take advice from other parents or from an online outlet, we’re often left more confused than anything else. One of the most topical subject matters in the world of parenting is whether you should opt for baby-led weaning, or traditional weaning.
The truth is that what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. There are many things to consider, including the personality of the child. However, knowing the pros and cons of each method at least allows you to make a more well-informed decision.
The thinking behind baby-led weaning is the child takes the lead. This means that you will not be giving your child purees, but allowing them to adapt to food at their own pace. This can mean several benefits, including the following:
- You do not have to make purees, which can mean that meal times are much easier.
- There is some research that shows baby-led weaning can reduce obesity and fussy-eating.
- It can encourage sharing and social eating.
- The transition from puree to solids can prove to be tricky for some babies, baby-led weaning introduces the child to chewing sooner.
There can also be a series of cons associated with baby-led weaning, such as:
- The child may not get enough nutrients.
- It can be difficult to ascertain how much your child is eating.
- It can be messy.
Traditional-led weaning means feeding the child with purees in the first instance, with a view to upgrading to mashed and chopped foods during the next couple of months. Finger foods are normally introduced at around 8 months.
- As with baby-led weaning, there are benefits when it comes to traditional-led weaning.
- It’s easier for your children to receive the nutrients they need.
- There is less mess when feeding the child, meaning that meal times in public are less stressful.
- There is less risk of the child choking.
Of course, just as there are benefits, you can expect there to be drawbacks. A lot of what works can depend on your family unit and child, so it’s important to remember this when choosing a method that works best for you.
- Children can feel left out at meal times.
- The child doesn’t learn to chew until later in life.
- Preparing puree can be a time-consuming and messy ordeal.
Can I Use Both Methods?
Looking at the pros and cons of each method may lead you to ask whether the two methods can be mixed, and the answer is yes, if it works for your baby. The mixing of the two methods can help your child become accustomed to different textures, and allows you to schedule a meal plan that allows them to get the nutrients they need, while gaining some independence with finger food.
It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to which method works best, but only parents truly know their children, and in most instances, will be able to come up with a solution that conforms to their family life.
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