Thinking about if baby led weaning is right for you and your baby? Check out these benefits of baby led weaning for your baby, you, and your family!
Benefits of BLW
More and more we are hearing people talk about baby led weaning! What is baby led weaning exactly? It is basically introducing your baby to solids when they are ready and on their schedule.
Baby led weaning teaches young babies to understand when they are full and has so many health benefits as well as many other benefits.
Of course before beginning baby led weaning you may wonder how to start baby led weaning and be looking for baby led weaning tips to help you and baby succeed. Thankfully in our baby led weaning series we cover everything you need to know about baby led weaning!
Today we are covering the many benefits of baby led weaning!
Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
When your baby is ready to try out solid food, there are a lot of approaches to take and one non-traditional approach that is becoming increasingly more popular which is baby led Weaning or BLW for short. BLW is just what it sounds like: letting the baby take the lead! If you are looking for more information on how baby led weaning works, visit our Why Baby Led Weaning post for a complete guide on baby led weaning!
There are benefits of baby led weaning for the baby and for you as a parent too!
Instead of purees, your baby will have the opportunity to eat more adult-like food and be in charge of how, what, and how much they choose to eat.
The benefits of baby led weaning include allowing the baby to advance in several developmental ways and becoming an independent eater at a much earlier age.
It’s no surprise that baby led weaning is gaining support with parents. The advantages of BLW are what every parent hopes for in their little one!
Advantages of BLW for your baby’s development
Developmentally, BLW is a great idea! Here are some of the advantages of BLW regarding your sweet baby’s growing body and mind.
Supports hand-eye coordination development
What better motivation is there for babies to practice hand-eye coordination than yummy food?
With a helping of safely-prepared healthy food in front of them, your baby can use their fingers and hand movements that they are working on to explore their plate.
BLW encourages babies to build those important skills so that they can get as much food into their mouths as they want. Of course, babies do love to use baby safe forks and spoons so we have rounded up the best baby led weaning utensils to help you find the ones that are right for you!
Since your baby is in control instead of mom or dad, you can expect lots of spills so be prepared with BLW bibs, which are specifically designed for babies learning to feed themselves. But with all that practice, you will start to see signs of their hand-eye coordination developing!
Supports autonomy and independence
BLW can do wonders for your baby’s developing independence. There are so many things that leave a baby dependent on their parents, but eating doesn’t always have to be one of them!
Babies want to be independent just like adults are. It feels good to be able to do something on your own and accomplish it! They have the capabilities to do so many amazing things if we give them the chance to try.
So letting them feed themselves is a great way to help them gain this independence.
Allows baby to use curiosity and exploration
There are a lot of “no”s in a baby’s life, but BLW is something that can be a safe and healthy “yes” for your baby to use curiosity and exploration that we know they all have!
Everything is new to a little one, including food. Every new food means a new texture, flavor, color, shape and more! One of the benefits of baby led weaning is that mealtime will become a testing ground for your baby to see how they can manipulate, throw, smell, and of course, taste their food.
Through curiosity and exploration is how babies learn and grow. This is done mainly through play. With all the exploration they are going to do with foods, they are going to be learning so much! You may notice more playing than eating at first and that is ok!
Promotes healthy weight gain
Because baby led weaning allows babies to stop eating when they are full rather than being forced to finish a jar of food, it helps promote a healthy level and rate of weight gain.
If a baby is learning from their own body’s cues, they should be eating the perfect amount of food that their body needs. Their brains are powerful! While traditional spoon feeding can lead to more excess weight gain, eating that perfect portion of food should put your baby on the right track!
There’s nothing better than a happy confident baby that has mastered a new skill. When your baby is learning to feed himself, he will gain important confidence in his ability to learn new things!
This doesn’t just mean that BLW babies have pride in their ability to eat… it means that they have the confidence to keep trying new things because they know they can learn and grow.
With such a little growing mind, everything is new and realizing how capable they are will change your sweet babies whole world. Boosting confidence is a great advantage of BLW!
Advantages of BLW for family relationships
Not only are there so many advantages of baby led weaning for your baby, but it also is great for the whole family. Here are some of the advantages of BLW for family relationships.
Encourages family mealtime
Since your baby will be eating just about anything, they can join the family for meal times!
This is great for your baby and great for your family. Being together for a meal is a great chance to build family togetherness. With BLW, your baby can be a part of that special family time. Not to mention all the health benefits that have been found about eating together as a family!
One added benefit of having your baby up to the table is that it is a great opportunity to model behaviors. They are always observing and will be able to learn from the family talking, eating, laughing, and being together!
Not only will BLW help your baby trust their abilities, but it will also help develop their trust in you!
Allowing a baby to make their own choices in regards to what, how, and the amount they eat will become a sense of security to them. BLW allows them to build trust that you will be there to help them as they learn and navigate through meal times. They will learn to trust you to give them something new, or allow them to say no to food.
That trust should prove very helpful as you are giving your baby new foods to try. Knowing that you can say no to certain foods and mom or dad won’t be upset is such a comfort!
Older siblings can be a part of the feeding process
Older siblings always want chances to help out with your baby, but that can be hard with traditional feeding approaches.
Siblings can help with every step of baby led weaning. They can assist in preparing the food, give it to your baby, and be an extra set of eyes while the baby eats.
Letting siblings help out with baby tasks is a great way to help them feel appreciated and needed during a busy time of your family’s life. This is why allowing older siblings to be a part of the feeding process can help build family relationships.
Pros of BLW
Can you believe there are even more pros of baby led weaning with your little one? Check out these advantages of BLW!
Gives mom and dad some extra time
Could you use a bit of extra time during your day? Since BLW means the baby is doing the feeding, your hands will be free to get some other things done! Like maybe eat at the same time as everyone else (and perhaps your food might even be the right temperature!)
Of course, you should always be close to your baby while they are eating so you can supervise them. However, since you are not spooning food into their mouths, you can take that moment to eat your meal, make a grocery list, meal plan, or do any number of things that get pushed to the side!
You are also saving time because you aren’t preparing two separate meals for the family and your baby! Hopefully, you can all eat together as a family and you only have to do one meal prep.
A reason many parents look into BLW is that baby food can be so expensive. Luckily for you, BLW means cutting out the traditional cost of baby foods which saves you money in your food budget.
Having an extra mini portion at mealtime is far more cost-effective than buying jarred baby foods or packed baby snacks. A baby who is eating 2-3 solid meals a day can add potentially 5-10 dollars to your grocery list per day.
If you choose to try baby led weaning much of what your baby is eating is what you have on hand or what your family is eating anyways! Even if you make your baby separate meals, it will likely be more cost-effective than the packaged alternative.
Introduces a larger variety of flavors, and textures.
Perhaps one of the most impressive benefits is BLW is early introduction of a large variety of flavors, textures, smells, and more!
Babies who are eating jarred baby food, or even homemade purees are only getting one low-difficulty texture, and likely a small selection of more bland tastes. With BLW, the options are endless! As long as it’s safe, your baby can try it!
Introducing these new things early will promote a far less picky eater in the future! If all you had eaten was carrot puree I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to try something new.
Encourages eating fresh foods
BLW means real, whole, fresh, healthy foods! Not that packaged foods are necessarily unhealthy, but they have their share of preservatives and differences in nutrients!
A parent who chooses to follow BLW will be able to hand-select everything that their baby eats. They will be able to have the freshest foods fit for a fresh baby!
Baby led weaning is fun!
Baby led weaning can be fun, but it can also be messy!
I love BLW because it was way easier than trying to force-feed my baby pureed spinach from a jar which 99% of the time I ended up wearing!
Seeing your baby learn and grow is an amazing thing.
As long as you’re okay with some adorable messes, you will fall in love with baby led weaning!
What advantages of Baby Led Weaning are you most excited about? Share in the comments!
Are you in the Market for Great Baby Led Weaning Products? Check these Baby Led Weaning Products Out!
There are more great articles in our baby led weaning series! Check out these BLW posts:
Be sure to save the benefits to BLW to Pinterest so you can find them easily!
Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!