1) Try and wait until around six months until you start weaning – feeding before they are ready could lead to upset tummies and allergies as they get older.
2) Make sure your baby is sitting in an upright position when eating, ideally they will be able to sit unaided by the time they start weaning, so a high chair will be suitable. (EXTRA TIP… A height adjustable high chair with a removable tray is perfect for BLW as they can sit at the table with you without the tray or if they are using it then it’s much easier to clean if you can remove it first).
3) Limit sugar! Avoid giving your baby a sweet tooth – my personal opinion is that if a baby doesn’t know what sugar tastes like they’re not missing it, there’s plenty of time for that once they’re a bit older! You can still make them cakes but just sweeten them using bananas and other sweet fruits instead of sugar.
4) No added salt! Check labels for max 1.5g salt or 0.6g sodium per 100g before using or giving as a snack!
5) No honey! Honey can cause botulism!
6) Where possible offer your little one the same foods that you are eating so that they feel part of your family mealtimes (this was one of the main reasons we went for a highchair with a removable tray).
7) Start by offering foods that are chip shaped, preferably around the size of your little one’s hand. This way they can get a grip on it easier.
8) Don’t worry if they don’t appear to eat much initially, BLW is meant to be fun and a learning process for your little one to discover textures, shapes and smells of a variety of foods as well the taste.
9) Let mealtimes last as long as they need to. Don’t hurry your baby, let them learn and you can take the time to be fascinated by this whole process.
10) Never put food into your little ones mouth for them. The point of Baby Led Weaning is that they must be in control, so if you attempt to help them they would be more likely to choke, as will not be expecting anything in their mouths unless they put it there themselves.
11) NEVER leave your baby on their own whilst eating.
12) Learn what to do if your baby chokes by perhaps enrolling on a short paediatric course (however, choking is no more likely with BLW, in fact you will discover their knack for gagging where something is too large to swallow, see next point).
13) Don’t panic when they gag! Babies have a natural reflex for gagging and will do this when they have tried to swallow something too large. They simply cough it back into their mouths, chew a bit more and then swallow. If you panic and make them jump they are MORE Likely to choke so TRUST THEM! (hard at first but you’ll get used to it).
14) Discuss this method of weaning with your health visitors before you start, particularly if you have a history of allergies in the family.
These tips are purely based on my own experiences. I am not a medical expert and have only followed guidelines from books and websites that I have read on the topic of Baby Led Weaning, therefore please use your instincts and own research when trialling this yourself. I cannot be held responsible for any issues that you may have whilst Baby Led Weaning as every child is different. Please continue responsibly at your own risk and most of all enjoy it, it’s great fun!