Baby-led weaning is a child-centered approach to feeding and transitioning from breastfeeding to a solid food diet. Allowing baby to set the pace — eat when hungry and stop when full — is a responsive feeding approach, one that has been positively associated with healthy eating and body weight.
If you choose to use a BLW approach to feeding your baby, follow these tips to ensure safety and success:
- Exclusively breast-feed your baby for the first six months.
- Continue breast milk (preferable) or formula for at least the second six months of life. No regular cow’s milk or milk alternatives until after a year of age, and then whole fat sources should be used until age two.
- Make sure baby shows developmental-readiness for solid food by sitting upright without props or assistance, reaching for food, or showing other signs of interest.
- Feed your baby the food your family eats (soft-cooked, well-cooked or cut into graspable pieces).
- Offer a variety of foods from all the food groups. Don’t rely on starchy foods like crackers, breads and cereals.
- Understand the unique and important nutrient needs of your baby, including iron, zinc, vitamin D, total fat, and DHA.
- Let baby regulate his or her eating.
- Watch for signs of choking.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, December 2018
- Baby-led weaning allows babies to set the pace of when they transition to a solid food diet.
- Baby-led weaning has proven to lead to healthy eating habits.
- BLW means exclusively breastfeeding your baby for their first 6 months of life.
- To practice BLW, be sure to feed your baby what your family eats.