What is baby-led weaning? Is baby-led weaning recommended? - Play Nourish Thrive

What is baby-led weaning? Is baby-led weaning recommended?

What is baby-led weaning?

Is baby-led weaning safe?

Is baby-led weaning better than spoon-feeding?

Congrats, your baby is 6 months old! It is now time to begin solids.(1) You might be asking yourself the above questions! But what is the deal with baby-led weaning (BLW)?! 🤷‍♀️

In traditional weaning, babies are introduced to solid foods through a caregiver spoon-feeding them purees.(2) BLW is an alternative to spoon-feeding, where from the start, babies are offered baby-fist sized pieces of food to decide for themselves what, how much, & how quickly to eat.(3)

What does the research say about BLW? 📊

BLW research is still in its infancy, but I will summarise the findings from the best available research we have: the latest systematic review.(4)

Choking: No difference between BLW and traditional feeding. In one small BLW study there was a relatively high rate of reported choking (30%), from apples.

Growth: There was some evidence that BLW babies were lower weight & consumed more total & saturated fat. A larger study however showed no difference between groups.

Iron intake: No difference between the groups. Of note however, none of the participants were able to reach the WHO recommendation for iron intake.

Fussiness & satiety-responsive: One study found that BLW children were significantly less fussy and more satiety-responsive at 18-24 months. However, it was not possible to tease out how other familial factors may have contributed to this.

Diet quality: It is argued that BLW may result in a lower diet quality simply because baby’s are eating the same as their parents. Further research is required.

So purely based on the best available research we have to date (which for most part is low quality), there is little difference in outcomes for either approach.

I am however keen to hear the perspective of those with clinical expertise, as the research is currently trailing behind. Jump back to my evidence-based practice post to see how your preferences as a parent fit within all this too!👍

For those wanting to try BLW, I’ll be posting some practical advice based on research next. In the meantime, I have tagged some excellent pages to help you with your baby’s feeding journey.

What approach did you adopt? What was your experience?

Baby-led weaning. Is it a better approach?What is baby-led weaning? Is baby-led weaning better than traditional spoon-feeding? More satiety-responsiveness & reduced fussiness for BLW at 18-24 mnths. No other significant difference in outcomes* *Research quality is low & it is unclear the impact of familial factors on findings. There are concerns w/ safety & nutrient deficiency for BLW. Recent studies indicate that these concerns could be overcome by parents taking practical measures.  Source: D'Auria et al. 2018. Ital J PediatrWhat is baby-led weaning (BLW)? Is baby-led weaning better than spoon-feeding? Is baby-led weaning safe? The most important thing that parents can do is to try their best and introduce solids in a way that is more appropriate for their family, rather than stressing about a specific method, as research suggests might make only a very small difference.  Dr Sophia Komninou Infant & Child Public Health Lecturer

Regardless of whether you use a BLW, traditional spoon-feeding, or mixed approach to feeding, we have got you covered with our beautiful dinnerware range from Mushie.🌿 This range was carefully selected for its quality, durability and function.👌 It includes a Silicone Suction Plate and Bib, as well as a Fork and Spoon Set, and Open Cup.


1. WHO. 2002. Global strategy on infant and young child feeding
2. Brown et al. 2017. Curr Nutr Rep
3. Rapley. 2011. Community Pract
4. D'Auria E, et al. 2018. Ital J Pediatr

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