Stephanie's Reviews > Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food

Baby-led Weaning by Gill Rapley
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Nov 17, 11

Read from September 20 to November 17, 2011

This book explains an approach to introducing solid foods to babies that is rather uncommon in our society but actually quite logical. Rather than beginning with the introduction of pureed solids at the age of 4-6 months, this book encourages readers to wait until the baby can sit up fairly well and brings things to his mouth (usually around 6+ months) and then give the baby large "sticks" of food that he can put into his mouth and learn to chew and swallow rather than being given spoon-fed purees. The idea is that learning to eat is a process that produces the best results when the baby is in charge of his own learning and exploring with food. In order to follow this approach, one must be confident that breastmilk or formula provides the majority of calories and nutrients because there is no measuring how much baby actually eats with this approach. This approach, termed "baby-led weaning" since as soon as the baby begins eating solid foods the weaning process has begun, makes sense to me logically because I already believe that babies and children are capable of self-regulating when it comes to eating until they are satisfied. (For more on this idea, check out Ellyn Satter's Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family and Tribole and Resch's Intuitive Eating.)

On a personal note, I decided to try this approach with my second baby, and it is working out well. I love that I can give her whatever I'm eating and don't have to spend money on "baby food" or spend my time making baby food or spoon-feeding her. I can enjoy my meal while she enjoys hers; however, there was and sometimes still is a bit of gagging involved as she is learning how to manage food in her mouth and how much she can manage at once. This can be alarming but so far has always been harmless and doesn't seem to even phase my baby since she continues right on eating.

My only criticisms of this book are that it is incredibly redundant (but repetition is the best teacher, right?), and I think that it overly criticizes spoon-feeding. I don't think spoon-feeding is bad; I just think that baby-led weaning makes a lot of sense and is an easy-to-follow approach that allows baby to be introduced to a variety of food tastes and textures early on so that there is not a resistant transition to self-feeding that sometimes occurs when babies move from spoon-fed purees to solid table foods.
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