Nutritionist Mum Lisa
What is "Baby- Led Weaning" and why is it so popular amongst health professionals?
What is Baby-led Weaning
Baby Led Weaning is an approach to introducing solids inspired by Dr Clara Davis in the 1920s.
In an experiment conducted with fifteen orphans between the age of seven and nine months, Clara found that babies have an intuition about their nutritional needs. Everyday she created an assortment of real foods (33 to be precise) and presented it to each of the babies. The foods were not blended, pureed, processed or salted. Foods included whole milk (sweet and sour), hard-cooked eggs, meats, fish and fish roe, cooked cereals, raw and cooked veggies and fruits.
Each child was supervised by a nurse but the nurse made no comment or guidance, gave no encouragement or reprimand and did not spoon feed the babies. If the babies ran out of a food the nurse would get more.
What was interesting was the way the babies would self select what to eat on a particular day. Interestingly rarely was one meal “balanced” but overall their nutritional profile conformed to what each child needed. One day a child ate seven eggs, while another opted for a handful of salt, One day a child ate several oranges, while a child reported to have rickets cured himself by choosing to eat cod liver oil no less than one hundred and thirteen times of this own accord. Some children ate more fruits, yet others gravitated to the meats, but none of the children chose to eat a diet dominated by wheat (or grains) and dairy.
The study certainly had all sorts of important implications. While it may not be feasible to offer your baby 33 different foods for every meal. It does impress certain important considerations.
- Offer your baby a variety of foods
- If a baby refuses food, don’t insist.
- There is no need to spoon feed your baby
- There is no need to puree or blend all your babies food
- Babies who are offered and fed nutritious real food have a better chance at achieving a good nutrition profile than babies who are fed processed food or a diet of predominantly wheat or dairy
- Don’t make assumptions about what your baby will or won’t eat
- This approach is easier but possibly messier than the traditional approach of cooking and then pureeing and spoon feeding baby
When is a good time to start?
- You can start to let your baby experiment with food while supervised when your baby:
More on baby led weaning in my next post.
- can sit up, hold its own head and has some hand- mouth co-ordination
- is over 6 months
- demonstrates an interest in food (starts to try and grab food from you) –
I know many health professionals as well as myself that have chosen to use this method of introducing solids to their babies. I will share some of the other research as well as personal pros and cons I have found in my next post…
Be sure to send in your questions…