Guest Author: Dr Kyla Smith, Accredited Practising Dietitian | PAEDIATRIC NUTRITION
WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE?!
This is one of the MOST COMMON questions I get, but also the one of the biggest areas of confusion.
Traditional purée feeding involves feeding your baby with a spoon. Most commonly you start with silky smooth purée, progress to thicker purée, then mashed foods then lumpy food then finger food. This works for some babies but not definitely not all babies.
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is a way of feeding babies that doesn’t involve purées at all. Instead, you start with large pieces of soft food for your baby to practice eating. The BLW recommendations suggest starting only from 6 months of age when babies have the skills to manage soft finger foods. It often takes a while for your baby to develop self-feeding skills, and it can be difficult for them to get enough iron from finger foods at the start.
BLW is a relatively new approach, but in recent years it’s become a bit of a cult where spoons are BANNED. This is really unnecessary!
My approach is about following your baby’s cues from the start. Technically this is a mixed feeding approach. I suggest offering a combination of spoon food and finger food from the start of solids. Spoon food is a great way to offer your baby foods high in iron in a form they can easily swallow. I recommend pureeing meats, fish, beans and lentils from the beginning. Most high iron finger foods aren’t really suitable for babies to actually eat much of so it’s difficult for them to get enough iron. Finger food is a great way to teach your baby self-feeding, which is our ultimate aim. Lots of babies love to be independent from the start, so including finger foods along with puree can help them feel in charge. It really is the best of both worlds.
If you’ve only ever offered purée, then you can absolutely start to add in finger foods as soon as you like. Just choose appropriate textures. I talk all about this as part of my Baby Mealtimes Subscription.
Lots of babies go through a phase at about 9-10 months where they start to refuse the spoon. If they’ve practiced with finger foods from the start, then they’re much better equipped to be ready to feed themselves. It makes your life much easier too!
Here’s the last thing. Some babies love to be spoon fed. Others HATE it. Do what works for your baby! There is no one rule about how to do it!
About the Author
Dr Kyla is a paediatric dietitian specialising in feeding babies. She started Baby Mealtimes after having her first baby and realising that parents were so confused about how to feed their babies when starting them off on food. She wants to help you enjoy this stage with your baby and teach you the skills of stress-free feeding so that you can have the confidence to teach your baby to love their food. Her website subscription www.babymealtimes.com.au is your one stop shop for everything to do with feeding your baby.