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Baby led weaning

April 7, 2010

Baby led weaning is where you let babies feed themselves – you put chunky food in front of them that they can pick up and suck or chew on. This helps them to develop their tactile sense (one of the near senses that I posted about earlier), gets them used to different textures, helps them to develop their gag reflex (very important to help prevent choking), and apparently leads to much less fussy eaters because they can pick and choose what they eat from the foods offered to them. Kayo actually would not let us feed her and would close her lips tight and turn her head away – she always insisted on feeding herself.

Pureed baby food has really come about from the days when parents started feeding solids to babies from 3 to 4 months of age. These days the recommendations are that babies are not fed solids until 6 months of age unless they have very mature digestive systems and are clearly showing signs of hunger and being ready for solids. Delaying solids means that baby is much less likely to develop food allergies and digestive issues. You know baby is ready for solids when he or she is sitting upright and literally stealing food from your plate faster than you can blink an eye.

Kayo’s first food was a chicken bone. She absolutely loved bones and would sit there happily for half an hour intensely concentrating on gnawing her bone. Besides being really good for her gums and the other advantages listed above, bones with a bit of fat and meat on them also help to stimulate the baby’s bile production and digestive system.

Grains in the first year of a baby’s life are really not a good idea – particularly when not pre-soaked and fermented due to the enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients in them. Rice is the least problematic grain which is why it is a common first food in modern society but to really ensure a healthy digestive system and no allergies and skin issues like eczema later, it is best to avoid grains until 12 months of age and then (as for all of us) only sprouted or fermented (as in sourdough).

More information on feeding babies in this article and on baby led weaning here.

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