Baby-led weaning means allowing your baby to, quite simply, feed herself solid foods whenever she wants. Many parents follow this method without even thinking about it; their baby wants to eat something off their plate, so they allow it. Soon, baby is trying all sorts of new foods without mom or dad deciding that now is the time for weaning. This is, undoubtedly, the best method. One thing to note is that you should still continue to offer the same amount of breast milk or formula while you are offering your baby foods. Solids do not replace milk on a nutritional level, it is simply an introduction to food. Once your baby gets the hang of eating they will begin to eat more food and require less milk/formula but in the beginning they still need their nutrition from their normal milk intake.
Here are the benefits of baby-led weaning.
1. It’s a natural process.
Baby-lead weaning is a natural process, dictated by the baby’s body – just as any other animal would. Babies eat when they’re ready and there’s basically no stress involved. They follow their instincts, experiment and learn like they would any other skill.
2. It teaches babies that they have control.
Eating should be a deliberate process, especially later in life. We can’t eat anything we want, whenever we want. We have to take an active role in managing our diets. Babies aren’t permitted this autonomy when they’re force-fed, so they never learn to gauge their intake.
3. Babies learn to enjoy food.
If you push food into baby’s mouth when she doesn’t want it, she’s going to associate frustration and stress with eating, which will make it take longer to make the transition. If she’s allowed to eat at her own pace, she’ll only associate positive feelings with solid foods. Further, baby-led weaning creates kids who aren’t picky eaters, enjoy trying new foods and tend to prefer more nutritious foods.
4. No one fights at the table.
Since there’s no pressure to eat solid food, there are no dinner time battles. This means no fighting at the table, everyone has a pleasant dinner, and baby gets to experiment in a positive environment. There’s no need to play games (like here-comes-the-airplane) to trick babies into eating.
5. Babies learn eating and feeding at the same time.
A traditionally weaned baby is fed from a spoon until the concept is understood, and then asked to feed herself. This can be frustrating for a baby who now wants to eat, but suddenly has to do it herself. Baby-led weaning means she learns how to put food in her own mouth and enjoy it.
6. No schedules for anyone.
Baby-led weaning means you don’t have to monitor a calendar and judge your baby’s development level. If she wants to eat something on your plate, let her (providing it’s appropriate). If she doesn’t want any of the solid foods, offer the usual breast or bottle. Eventually you will notice she is consuming less milk in favor of more solid foods, without your encouragement either way.
7. It makes babies feel a part of the family.
Babies who feed themselves get to sit by the table and enjoy dinner with the family. Family-style eating is a great way to ensure healthy eating habits. Babies copy parents and siblings, which helps them learn etiquette and use of utensils. It’s also important social time, and mom and dad get to eat their meals while they’re hot.
Guest Blog by Nicole Zoellner from NizoWear.com
Nizo Wear is the first nursing bra to have a unique, patented pocket in the pull-down flap that can hold a heating or cooling pack helping bring moms relief and healing faster while being extremely comfortable and super chic.
Nizo Wear nursing bras were inspired by the real-life experience of the company’s founder, Nicole Zoellner. When Nicole became pregnant with her son, she eagerly read all the materials her doctor had given her about the benefits of breastfeeding. She happily anticipated the feelings of serenity and bonding that nursing promises mother and infant.
So, Nicole set out to do for other nursing moms what no-one had been able to do for her: provide a practical, comfortable way to get relief from the soreness breastfeeding mothers often experience. Her design was patented, and Nizo Wear was born.
Visit www.nizowear.com for more information.
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