Baby-led weaning or Purée-feeding?
Do we have to chose between baby-led weaning and purée-feeding?
Well, is the dogma real?
Numerous ongoing discussions are taking place, be it in parks or chats or social media apps, about how parents are often confused when introducing feeds to their infants, debating between Infant-led weaning and purée-feeding, forgetting the goal here. Their focus and priority should always be to raise them into competent eaters and meet their nutritional needs.
As a nutritionist, I highly recommend the combination of both methods. Baby-led weaning helps in the development of motor skills as pieces of whole foods of safe texture and size are offered to the babies. This option is often convenient for families who would rather serve their babies the meals they have already prepared for everyone in their household instead of cooking a separate meal for them.
Whilst puréed food strengthens the connection between the baby and their family by introducing new flavours and tastes, it minimizes the meal preparation process.
Benefits are higher when both methods are implemented together. There are lot of myths around this topic such as weaning-led babies not being able to handle purées or that offering pieces of food becomes dangerous to purées-fed babies. Current research does not show any difference in both approaches' outcomes, as only utilizing a responsive feeding approach and introducing a variety of healthy flavours to the nourishing baby should be stressed upon!
Different elements of both approaches work at different times: seeing a baby enjoying their meal on their own during the family gathering means their parents get to relax and enjoy their time with them.
If you are trying to incorporate a particular flavour in your baby’s diet, introducing it with a spoon and in a purée form is a great way to ensure that your baby is meeting their nutritional requirements.
Paying attention to your baby’s cues, specifically of their likes and dislikes, is essential as both methods can be utilized in same meal. Every baby is different, some might enjoy using a spoon whilst some might just sit back and would want you to feed them! It is truly important to trust our baby’s leads to make them competent and intuitive eaters instead of pushing a certain feeding method upon them.