mom feeding baby: what's the difference between spoon feeding and baby led weaning

Introducing your baby to their first solid food at around six months is such an exciting time for parents – and baby! And one of the first big baby weaning-related decisions you’ll have to make is between spoon feeding or baby-led weaning. So, what’s the difference between spoon feeding and baby-led weaning?

Your baby weaning options

What is spoon feeding?

As the name suggests, if you opt to spoon feed your little one, you’ll be serving up pureed fruit and vegetables and feeding them with a baby-safe spoon. With this weaning method, babies are first introduced to smooth purees and then progress on to textured foods and finally on to proper solids. Common first foods include pureed apple or pear, butternut or carrot. As your baby becomes more comfortable with eating solids and practicing chewing (or ‘gumming’ if they don’t yet have teeth) their food, you can start mixing different textures and flavours together to make their meals more interesting.

What is baby-led weaning?

If you choose to exclusively adopt baby-led weaning, you’ll skip the purees and let them get used to chewing bigger pieces of food from the start. With this approach, baby is in charge of what – and how much – they eat, from a selection of finger foods that you place in front of them. Think soft boiled or steamed sticks (they should be big enough for baby to grasp comfortably) of carrots, sweet potato or avocado. They’ll also have to pick up the morsels and transfer them to their mouths by themselves, giving them a chance to practice their hand-eye coordination and the pincer grip. Baby-led weaning allows a child to experiment with the textures of the different foods you’re serving so prepare yourself for a mess!mom feeding weaning baby: what's the difference between spoon feeding and baby led weaning

Can you do both spoon feeding and baby-led weaning?

Yes, you can! Both feeding approaches have their positives and there’s no reason you can’t do a combination of spoon feeding and baby-led weaning. If you’re short of time you can spoon-feed your little one puree and, when you have more time, let them feed themselves. Consider spoon feeding your child breakfast and lunch and try baby-led weaning for suppers when the family is seated around the table together – it will also give you a chance to eat as your hands will be free. The added bonus of nighttime baby-led weaning feeds is that you can pop your child in the bath afterwards!

This article was originally commissioned by Squish

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