Baby-led weaning, championed by Gill Rapley, who spent 20 years as a health visitor, is a way to get your baby started on solid food at six months, without bothering with puree.
It’s all about putting soft-textured, baton-sized chunks of food in front of your baby and letting her get on with it.
Apparently, parents who have tried it say their babies enjoy choosing what to pick up and eat or suck – and what to throw on the floor.
Some also report their babies turn out to be less fussy eaters later on.
But there’s no need to ditch the puree just yet either. ‘Baby-led weaning is a really interesting idea,’ says Prima Baby‘s health visitor Dawn Kelly, ‘and a great way to help your baby discover that eating and exploring tastes and textures is fun.
‘My only concern is that the range of foods you can cut into batons is quite limited. If I was weaning my children again, I think I’d definitely give baby-led weaning a try, alongsode mashed food and purees. There’s no reason why you can’t mix and match.’
Baby-led weaning Dos and Don’ts:
DO wait until your baby is six months old.
DO make sure your baby is sitting upright to eat.
DO carry on breastfeeding on demand. If your baby is bottlefed, discuss baby-led weaning with your health visitor before you start.
DON’T hurry your baby. Give her space to eat – or not – at her own pace.
DON’T leave your baby on her own while she’s eating.
DON’T offer food that’s an obvious choking hazard (such as whole cherry tomatoes).