Can You Combine Baby Led Weaning And Purees?
Have you ever heard of baby led weaning?
Are you looking for the perfect way to wean your baby with minimal trouble for you and your child both?
Do you want to figure out the right way to combine the best of both worlds in terms of weaning your infant?
There are a lot of reasons why parents and caretakers might be interested in baby led weaning, and there are plenty of equally sound reasons why you might want to consider purees in your baby’s weaning diet, too.
Depending on the individual needs and preferences of you and your baby, you might feel at a loss for information. But don’t worry! That’s what we’re here for.
In this article, you’ll learn all about the basics of baby led weaning versus traditional weaning and the advantages and disadvantages of both. You’ll also find out if it’s possible to combine baby led weaning and purees successfully, and if so, what you can expect from a mixture of the two.
If you’ve ever had any questions about working with both of these weaning processes together, you’re in the right place. By the time you get finished reading through our crash course, you’ll be ready to put together the perfect weaning meal plan for you and your little one, no matter what your specific needs and desires might be.
Now, it’s time to get started learning about baby led weaning, traditional weaning, and the proper way to integrate both of them into your child’s eating experience.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
If you’ve looked into any parenting information in the past several years, you’ve probably come across the term “baby led weaning” somewhere along the way. But before we delve into figuring out whether you can combine baby led weaning and spoon feeding to get any positive results, it’s a good idea to make sure you know what really constitutes baby led experiences first.
Baby led weaning is, basically, the practice of giving your baby solid foods as early as possible while skipping the puree stage altogether. Generally, parents who practice this process provide their little ones with age-appropriate foods that have been mashed, cooked, cut into small pieces, or otherwise made safe for the baby to eat.
Babies are then allowed to work through the process of learning to eat along with the adults and older children at the table. They may take a while to figure it out, but they will eventually start gnawing on and eating the foods they’re ready for when the time comes.
Baby led weaning is sometimes controversial, but when practiced safely, it can be a great way to introduce your infant to new foods, whether you want to stick to purees or not.
How Does Baby Led Weaning Differ from Traditional Weaning?
There are a few things baby led weaning has in common with traditional weaning, and there are quite a few differences too. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important for you to choose the method that works best for you, your family, and especially for your baby.
Baby Led Basics
- With this method, you can choose to use purees or skip them completely. You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the new foods to introduce to your baby at each stage.
- You will need to be more cautious about what you feed your baby and take care to choose and prepare age-appropriate foods and meals.
- You should wait until at least 6 months of age to begin this process.
- Babies are able to join the whole family at the dinner table and get in on whatever everyone else is eating when you practice this process.
- This is the old-fashioned but tried-and-true method of weaning babies. They are introduced to purees and “baby food” first before they eventually move up to more solid foods.
- You can begin earlier than 6 months with this process in some instances.
- Babies are less likely to choke on small pieces of food when given purees and monitored with parental spoon feeding.
- Babies are likely to get used to eating from a utensil more quickly with this method.
As you can see, there are good reasons to try both variations of weaning methods. This is one reason why combining the two can be so beneficial for you and your child.
Baby Led Weaning and Spoon Feeding
In short, yes, it is possible to combine baby led weaning with spoon feeding and experience successful results. There are a few things you need to keep in mind if you’re going to work with both of these methods together, however, so pay attention to these tips to help you get started.
- It’s best to make your own purees at home. Why? Generally speaking, the jarred options aren’t quite as nutritious as what you might be able to make for yourself. You can also save a lot of money in the long run if you’ve got the time to spare to puree your baby’s own veggies and fruits. This can help you get into the habit of prepping your baby’s food before he or she is ready for more solids, too.
- To help your baby transition well to the pureed food stage, add a little breastmilk or formula to your homemade purees for a while. This can be a good starting point for baby led weaning experiences, because it will help convince your little one to try new foods that may have a similar taste to what he or she is used to.
- The best way to combine baby led weaning with spoon feeding is to offer your baby purees without intervening. This means you won’t actually be feeding your baby with a spoon, but he or she will still have a stage during which purees are the main source of nutrients. You can let the baby hold a baby-safe spoon during this time to help introduce the idea of utensils if you wish.
How can Purees Help Baby Led Weaning?
There are some great benefits to working with baby led weaning and purees at the same time. Depending on what you’re hoping to accomplish with your little one, this combination might be the perfect solution to help you achieve your goals. Here are just some of the ways incorporating purees into your meal plan can help improve your baby led weaning experience significantly.
- Using purees reduces the risk of gagging. Purees don’t trigger your baby’s sensitive gag reflex very easily, so you won’t see your child gagging or spitting up food as often.
- Purees also reduce the risk of choking. There aren’t really any lumps or big pieces you have to worry about your baby choking on with a puree. Even if he or she has a big mouthful of pureed foods, there aren’t a lot of risks associated with baby led weaning when purees are on the menu.
- You can better control the ingredients that go into purees. When you feed your baby a small portion of the family’s dinner, for example, it might be hard to turn it into an infant-friendly version of the meal everyone else is having. With a puree, you can control what goes into the food much more easily. When you’re trying to wean a very young infant, this can be particularly helpful.
- Purees can encourage fussy babies. Babies who aren’t very interested in feeding themselves after being on milk or formula for a long time may be more inclined to try purees on their own than they would be to chew on solid foods.
Can Both Options Together Speed Up Weaning?
You might feel as though using both baby led weaning and purees together could speed up the weaning process. After all, you’re using two styles at once, so doesn’t it stand to reason that you’d be able to wean your baby even faster if you go this route? Check out the information below to help you understand whether or not you can expect a quicker weaning time with your baby when you use a mix of these methods.
- Remember, first and foremost, that every baby is different. Individual infants may have vastly different experiences. Even if your older child was happy with baby led weaning, your new baby might not take to it very well, or might be completely repulsed by purees. Trial and error is the best way to figure out what works for everyone.
- Pureed foods don’t really speed up the weaning process, but they don’t usually slow it down either. They simply allow your baby a little more adjustment time before moving to lumpy mashed foods.
- There’s no real way to “speed up” weaning. Your baby will wean when he or she is ready to wean. The most important factor to keep in mind is patience.
Are there Disadvantages to Using Both Together?
Just like there are plenty of great benefits for baby led weaning when used in conjunction with purees, there are a handful of disadvantages to keep in mind, too. Read through this list and think about each one as you consider whether or not this is the right option for you. Remember that you don’t have to combine both of these methods if you feel the disadvantages aren’t worth it, and the choice is entirely up to what works best for you and your baby.
- It can be very messy to feed your baby purees without assistance. If you choose to feed purees and don’t want to deal with a very large mess at every meal, it might be best for you to stick to the more traditional spoon-fed weaning alternative than to allow your baby to feed him or herself such sloppy foods.
- Sometimes, babies can get used to the texture and have trouble transitioning to solids. Although most babies won’t have a lot of issue with moving from purees to solid foods, sometimes, they won’t be very interested in foods that have lumps, no matter how small those lumps might be. In this situation, they may stop wanting to feed themselves, and you may find yourself at a standstill when it comes to baby led weaning.
- Eating purees for too long may keep your baby from learning to enjoy mealtime with the whole family. If your main goal with baby led weaning is to have the whole family eat the same foods together, purees may be a detriment to this cause. You might prefer to stick solely to baby led foods in this situation.
Whether you choose to stick strictly to baby led weaning, work with purees and spoon feeding only, or combine the two, it’s important to make a decision that meshes well with your lifestyle, the way you’re raising your baby, and your child’s preferences too. Some children simply don’t take well to spoon feeding, while others never seem to progress with baby led weaning. In the end, it’s okay to try to more than one option to figure out what your family needs and what might not be beneficial for you.
No matter which option you choose, remember to consult with your family physician, pediatrician, or nutritionist before you offer any new foods to your baby. Talk with a trained professional who understands which foods are safe to offer to babies at every stage of the weaning process, and be sure you fully understand the right way to prepare each of these foods for maximum safety.
Baby led weaning doesn’t have to be a complicated process, and you don’t have to skip purees altogether if you don’t want to. Just remember to pay close attention to important safety measures, and don’t forget that you might have a mess on your hands when you let your baby practice eating with purees without your assistance.
With the right information to help you get started, you’ll be well on your way to a safe, happy, healthy baby led weaning experience in no time!