When it comes to infant and baby feeding, there is not one right way to go about things. Many new parents might think that baby foods from a jar are the default option, and that some people instead make their own purees. Those who practice baby-led weaning don't use any puree jars at all, and let their baby take the lead. What is baby-led weaning exactly, and how does it work?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I knew that we'd be exclusively breastfeeding for six months, unless of course there were breastfeeding complications for whatever reason. While I was looking into preparing for breastfeeding and infant feeding during that pregnancy, I came across baby-led weaning on the internet. Baby-led weaning is essentially presenting your baby with whole chunks of appropriate foods when they are developmentally ready, at around six months, and letting them do the rest. Baby-led weaning may sound like a new development and a bit of a fad when you first hear about it, but of course it's exactly how people have been introducing solid foods to their babies for centuries.
My husband and I never made any purees and instead started with bits of food which were soft and could be eaten by the baby if they were interested, like the child in the picture above. Bananas, avocado, cucumber, rice and sweet potato were some of the foods we first started with. At first, our kids just played with their food and explored its structure, smell, and sometimes taste. They started eating more solids as they became ready, and always self-fed.
Baby-led weaning is messy, but was highly successful for us. As solid foods started becoming a larger part of the kids' diet, they also started nursing less often. Baby-led weaning is not for everyone, but for some is a great way to introduce a baby to solid foods at the time they are ready for it! Also see new study warns against early solids for babies.