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Originally posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 by Julia Jones of Newborn Mothers. Reprinted with permission
Julia works with pregnant women who want to find peace and joy in motherhood. She is an Ayurvedic postnatal doula, recipe book author and creator of a weekly free pregnancy podcast. Click her to listen to her free podcasts.
Weaning is a slightly confusing word. It is used to describe the process of introducing a baby mammal to its adult diet, whilst slowly and gradually withdrawing the supply of breast milk. Baby led weaning can mean either allowing your baby to eat solid foods in their own time, or allowing them to relinquish breast milk in their own time.
In this case I'm talking about how and when to introduce solids. And baby led weaning is a super simple method of doing this.
Gill Rapley is a health visitor in the UK, which is the equivalent of our child health nurses in Australia. She coined the term baby-led weaning and popularised it in her book, written with Tracey Murkett, called Baby-Led Weaning.
“As a health visitor for over 20 years she encountered many families who were experiencing problems feeding their babies; many babies resisted being spoonfed or would only accept a very limited number of foods. Some parents had resorted to force-feeding in an effort to get their children to eat. Choking and gagging on lumpy meals was common. Mealtimes were extremely stressful for both the parents and their babies.
“Gill suspected that the babies were resisting what was being done to them rather that the food itself. The simple suggestion of waiting a bit longer (if the baby was under six months) or letting the baby have a go himself (if he was older) seemed to make a huge difference, both to babies behaviour and the parents stress levels. “
“So she did a study, and at the same time in 2003 research shows that solids should be introduced at 6 months.”
Baby-led weaning simply means allowing your baby to feed themselves with finger foods and any normal, home-cooked, family food from the age that show signs of readiness. I suspect this method has much in common with how mothers around the world would have fed their babies for many generations.
Offering your baby some of your home-cooked food is the best way to start. There are so many advantages to this method of weaning.
For more information on baby led weaning please click here to download my guide to Ayurveda and Baby Led Weaning. Or if you live in Perth, Western Australia, click to here to see if my live workshop on Ayurveda and Baby Led Weaning is open for bookings.