Are you familiar with baby led weaning (BLW)? This method was first popularized in the UK and is now widely practiced in other countries, including Indonesia. Before implementing BLW, pay attention to the important things about the method.
Baby led weaning is a method of introducing complementary feeding (MPASI) by allowing children to choose and eat all their own food without being fed. The type of food given in this method is not in the form of soft foods such as puree or porridge, but solid food that has been cut into pieces.
You can apply BLW when your little one reaches the age of being able to consume solid food, which is at the age of 6-9 months.
Weighing the Advantages and Disadvantages Baby Led Weaning
Maybe many parents are not aware that they have applied the BLW method to their children. This usually occurs in the second or subsequent children. When he sees how his brother or other family members eat, he will imitate and try to take food from the plate and then feed it into his mouth.
Applying the BLW method to your little one can actually have a good impact on their growth and development, Bun. The following are some of the benefits that your little one can get from this method: baby led weaning:
1. Helping children recognize the taste and texture of food
In applying the BLW method, food is served in solid and larger form. This will allow your little one to recognize the texture because it is easy to grip. In addition, this method also introduces your little one to the various tastes, colors, and aromas of the food he consumes.
2. Supports children's motor development
Applying the BLW method can support the child's motor development, you know, Bun. This method can be a means for your little one to train hand-eye coordination, as well as chewing and grasping skills.
3. Make children enjoy the food they eat
Teaching your little one this method allows him to enjoy the food he eats without being forced to open his mouth. In addition, your little one can also be introduced to many types of food.
4. Prevent childhood obesity
A study shows that BLW will make children prefer and choose healthier foods. This will make the child's growth and development more optimal and avoid obesity in childhood.
In addition, your little one can also get used to stopping eating when he feels full or is not interested in his food. Later in life, this can prevent him from overeating.
Although it has benefits for children's growth and development, BLW is also not free from shortcomings. Some of the disadvantages of the BLW method that you need to know are:
- There is a risk of choking a child due to the varying sizes of food textures
- Triggers the gag reflex
- The process of eating becomes messy
- Risk of causing nutritional deficiencies if food choices are limited or the child is very picky
Tips for Applying the Method Baby Led Weaning
Feeding children with the BLW method should not be careless, Bun. So that your little one can benefit from applying this method, here are some tips you can do:
1. Make sure your child is ready to eat on their own
Before applying the BLW method to your little one, make sure he is able to sit in a chair, straighten his chest and head, take his own food, and is able to chew and bite food.
2. Start with soft foods
Introduce soft foods in the early stages of this method, such as cut fruit, egg yolks, fish cut into small pieces, tender shredded meat, cereals, pasta, and steamed vegetables. This will make it easier for your little one to chew and swallow food.
Avoid giving foods that are at risk of choking children, such as hard fruits or vegetables, popcorn, nuts, whole grapes, raisins, and wide strips of sausage or bacon.
3. Adjust the size of the food
Make sure you serve food that fits your little one's grip, okay? Give food that has been cut lengthwise or commonly called finger food, so your little one can hold it and put it in the mouth easily.
4. Provide nutritious food
Not only paying attention to the texture and size, the nutritional content in the food that is given to your little one should also not go unnoticed, right, Bun. Make sure you provide healthy foods that are high in nutrition so that their growth and development remains optimal and their immune system remains good.
Also provide a wide variety of food to avoid the risk of nutritional deficiencies if he tends to be picky about his food. In addition, avoid giving food with added coloring, foods high in sugar and salt, and fast food.
5. Keep breastfeeding regularly
Even if you can eat with BLW, breastfeeding or formula milk should be continued. The reason is, the biggest source of nutrition for children aged 10-12 months comes from here. Breastfeeding can be done between meals.
When applying the method baby led weaning for your little one, let him sit in a special dining chair for babies to get used to eating in place. In addition, it is important to always supervise your little one while eating to prevent unwanted things.
Applying the BLW method can indeed bring benefits. But remember, not all children can fit in this way. Some children may be more susceptible to malnutrition and choking with this method, especially if the child has special needs or was born prematurely.
Therefore, don't hesitate to consult with your doctor about whether it's okay or not baby led weaning applied, yes, Bun. If possible, also ask how to apply the BLW method that is safe and in accordance with the health condition of your little one.