Makes 36 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins Children will love popping these bite [...]
Baby led weaning – does baby know best?Created by Verity in Age: Baby & Toddler, Feeding & Sleeping
تحميل تعليم الفوركس اسهم تداول Do we need a new approach to weaning? Many parents and experts believe that in fact we do. Phoebe Doyle looks at the technique claiming to help thousands of desperate parents.
source link Official guidelines recommend that babies are weaned at the around 6 month mark. For decades this much anticipated transitional phase onto solid food has seen parents spending long hours meticulously following recipes and blending specially prepared concoctions relentlessly. Recent years have seen a somewhat welcome relief in the form of a new approach known as Baby Led Weaning, or BLW. In brief this alternative method encourages parents to offer finger foods, whole chunks of solids, in place of spoon-fed purees. The belief that babies prefer autonomy and control when it comes to their eating is at the heart of the approach and supporters believe that allowing them to play with, explore and chew on food, in their own time leads ultimately to more relaxed, stress-free mealtimes and happy healthy babies.
The pioneer Gill Rapley a former midwife, says that at the centre of her technique is fun. In her hit book Baby Led Weaning she urges parents to “think of mealtimes as playtimes in the beginning. They are for learning and experimenting – not necessarily eating”. Parents are hard-wired to want to feed their babies but as the baby should still be having milk feeds on-demand, Rapley believes there is no rush. She insists that instead of “giving babies food” we should be “offering by placing suitable pieces on the table-top or high-chair, letting them decide what to do with it”.
Parents who’ve had problems with spoon-feeding are keen to tell others of their positive experiences with this more relaxed, baby-led pathway to weaning. Entire online forums have been dedicated to praising the work of Rapley, grateful for the relief her message has offered them. On parenting sites you’ll read ardent enthusiasts proclaim “this is so cool, it’s like a light bulb has gone on in my son’s head to tell him food is fun!” and “I couldn’t believe how well he has taken to it” and interestingly “she is already more adventurous than my 4 year old who was spoon fed and I’m delighted”.
What about the risk of choking?
Need more convincing? You’re not alone. Parents are usually fairly terrified when it comes to weaning and not least about the prospect of their baby choking. Sarah, first- time Mum to 7 month old Jack expresses this common fear “he only has one tooth, he would choke on proper food”. Yet proponents are keen to put this fear to bed; “ babies have an instinctive tongue reflex that moves food around and pushes it forward” explains Victoria Percival, a Parent Peer Support Worker who helps parents learn the fundamentals of BLW. She says the first step is learning to recognise the signs that baby is telling you they are ready for weaning. So what are the signs? “Both sitting un-supported and grabbing things are clear signals that baby is telling you they are ready for food”. Victoria encourages parents to give complete control over to their baby, letting them touch and play with their food without any pressure to eat. Proponents believe adopting this relaxed ambience at mealtimes should actually lead to a decreased risk of choking and that putting food into a baby’s mouth could potentially cause more harm. Victoria says its important too to “know the difference between choking and gagging; gagging is noisy, a natural reaction, whereas choking is actually silent”. Rapley consoles parents worried about this in her book; “the coughing and spluttering that look and sound so alarming are actually signs that baby is dealing with the problem”.
BLW differs in numerous ways from the more regimented approaches to weaning of the past. Many food experts have previously discouraged parents from allowing children to eat from their plates yet in BLW this once forbidden act is actively encouraged. Parents often joke about how their baby will more happily eat their food rather than their own, and it appears that this popular anecdote has backing from science. Scientists claim that babies instinctively know that what their parents are eating must be safe and won’t cause harm.
With this natural instinct to want to eat their parent’s food comes another of the main principles of BLW, that being that babies should whenever possible be eating alongside the rest of the family. With 21st century living this is often easier said than done. Parents that are time-poor often resort to frantically feeding their baby, putting them to bed and then collapsing later with a ready meal and glass of chardonnay for themselves. Yet experts believe babies learn vital skills from eating together, such as turn-taking, conversation and table-manners.
Just one more thing to worry about?
For those who were on their first innings of raising babies some time ago you’d be forgiven for thinking this could be just another fad, and one more thing for parents (and grandparents!) to worry about.
Indeed a great deal of criticism of BLW centres around the suspicion that it’s becoming an extra on the long list of things to be done in order to become a ‘perfect parent’. This metaphorical list already includes breastfeeding, getting your baby to sleep through the night, keeping your relationship ‘alive’, and getting into shape post-pregnancy. These challenges can feel like mountains to climb during those difficult early months of parenthood. For some BLW is seen as an unwelcome gate-crasher to these impossibly tiresome tasks. Victoria reassures parents by telling them “babies are all different, BLW is just another option to try”.
The World Health Organisation now recommend that purees and mashed food be offered alongside solid finger foods. Even wholehearted supporters of BLW acknowledge that mixing traditional purees with finger foods can be a way of ensuring that baby is getting a full range of foods and textures to meet their nutritional needs.
So gone are the days when the term ‘baby food’ need only conjure up images of pureed vegetables, cooked to a pulp, or worst still processed jars of mush. The BLW method offers a new choice for parents and one that may result in children that are more open to new tastes and textures, educated in how to eat with others and ones that develop a lifelong love of food.
Great Finger Foods
- Ripe Pear
- Ripe avocado
- Ripe melon
- Well-cooked Pasta
- Sticky Rice
- Roast Vegetables
- Steamed broccoli
- Steamed asparagus
- Baby sweetcorn
- Roast Chicken
- Grated Cheese
- Egg (well-cooked)
3 Books To Get You Started
- Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley
- Finger Foods For Babies and Toddlers by Jennie Maizels
- Top 100 Finger Foods by Anabel Karmel