Should I use the BLW method to feed my baby? | Christy Prawira, MBA, M.A, BCBA from Blubridge Center| Kinderkloud

Should I use the BLW method to feed my baby?

baby lead weaning

Baby led weaning (BLW) is a method to introduce food to a baby by letting them eat finger food right from the start at around 6 months old. It was first introduced in 2005 by Gill Rapley, PhD, an author with extensive background in nursing. Since then, BLW has been very popular. Babies decide for themselves what food they want and how much they eat.
 

 

There are a lot of benefits from BLW

  1. It’s really easy to prepare. Basically you offer your baby any food that the parents eat (within reason) such as banana, pear, small chunk of steamed chicken, ect. As a busy parent you do not need to prepare food specially for the baby. 
  2. It lets them practice their motoric skills. Those little fingers are trained everyday to grab, pinch, and move food to their mouth. They also get the sensorial experience with different textures of food.  
  3. A study found that babies who used the BLW approach were more aware of when they are hungry and full. As they grew to be toddlers, they ate when they were hungry and not because there was food in front of them. This is a positive outcome because it reduces childhood obesity. 

 

On the other hand, the BLW method has raised concern from parents and pediatricians across the world as it is deemed unsafe. Since a large chunk of food is offered, it becomes a choking hazard. Moreover, there are concerns that babies are not getting enough iron and nutrients they need for normal growth because they are not eating enough. Therefore, many doctors suggest against BLW. 

 

So what is the best feeding method for my baby? Before answering the question, it is very important to look at the research holistically. 

  1. Watch for signs that babies are ready. 
    1. Are they able to sit with or without support?
    2. Can swallow food and not spit it up?
    3. Can they pick up food and put it in his mouth himself?
  2. If you decide to use the BLW approach, make sure to watch your baby for signs of choking. Remember that gagging or coughing is a natural reaction when they first start solids and it is very different from choking. It is very important to keep calm and let your baby explore. 
  3. Once they are ready, consider a mixed approach. If spoon-feeding is comfortable for you and baby, then start with that. Food puree can help parents feel more secure that babies are getting adequate nutrition. Then slowly alternate between BLW and spoon feeding.
  4. Making mealtime fun and not forcing babies to eat more when they reject food will help babies to enjoy the eating process.
  5. Don’t worry about your baby getting not enough nutrition because most of their nutrition will be from breastmilk or formula. 

Here are some BLW-appropriate starter foods:

  • Fruit: avocado, banana, oranges, steamed apples, steamed pears
  • Vegetables: potatoes,sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli (all steamed)
  • beans or peas, slightly mashed
  • ground beef, chicken, pork
  • ground nuts and seeds
  • Lentils, oatmeal, grains
  • salmon

Brown, A., & Lee, M. D. (2015). Early influences on child satiety‐responsiveness: the role of weaning style. Pediatric obesity, 10(1), 57-66.

 

World Health Organization. UNICEF. Global strategy on infant and young child feeding. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2002. http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/9241562218/en/

 

Rapley G. Baby-led weaning. In: Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture: Controversies and Challenges (V Hall Moran, F Dykes eds). London: Quay Books. 2005;275–98.

 

Baby-Lead Weaning, Eating, 6-12 months

Baby 6 Months - 18 Months / Bayi 6 - 18 Bulan / General Health / Kesehatan Umum / Health / Kesehatan / Should I use the BLW method to feed my baby?

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