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Baby Led Weaning

With Sharleen Poole

Baby Led Weaning

Baby lead weaning is a hot topic at the moment and over the past few years working with families; I have seen an increase in the use of this style of solid food feeding.  There is no right or wrong way to doing things but I do feel parents do need to be aware of a few pointers to make sure it is the right 'style' for their baby.

Travelling around the world, I soon started to see that the good old-fashioned mashed food was not a standard practice in every country.  A lot of the Asian countries that I worked in did a mixture of solid food feeding styles but most babies were fed food from their mother's plate, simple, plain and pre-chewed food for small babies (the mother would chew first and then feed the baby this 'mashed' mouthful) and then small portions for the older babies. Accordingly, I adapted the advice I give parents.

 I think it is important to look at your individual baby and lifestyle. I have observed that often visual and inquisitive babies who get easily distracted will often not eat enough throughout the day and then wake hungry in the night.
Now this is OK when they are small babies but as time goes on this can be very detrimental for the family as parents get tired and older babies and toddlers do too, resulting in poor behaviour and unnecessary habits.

The Baby Whisperer's tips:
- Use a combination of both, offering finger food that is size appropriate for their age and that is not likely to be choked on.
- Watch your baby while they are eating, don't walk away so you know they are safe with chunks.
- From the very beginning, once your baby can hold food in their hands and take it to their mouths, let them feed themselves and be patient, letting them feed themselves but offer help if they need it.
- If they are throwing more on the floor or are easily distracted, use spoon-feeding and self-feeding combined.
- Make interesting food that has flavour and that is not too plain, this helps babies to enjoy food - just like us.  You can get great books that help you with meal ideas.
- Cook a little extra if you do not eat at the same time as your baby or toddler and so you can offer them this the next day.
- Some ideas for food that are great and safe are:  kumara or potato fingers (baked or steamed), rice balls, vegetable balls, green beans, broccoli, carrots steamed (just watch they don't bite off chunks), cauliflower, pear, melon, homemade fish and chicken fingers and mince balls - WITH ALL OF THESE CHECK FOR AGE APPROPRIATE INTRODUCTION.

Where to go for further info:
Sharlene Poole - Little Miracles

Baby led weaning information - Look at your library or online as there is plenty of information available.

For meal ideas:
Wholefood for Children - Jude Blereau
The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner - Annabel Karmel

(Broadcast: 4 December 2012)