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.
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.
Last reviewed by
Sara Connolly, MD. Review Date: December 2018