How to mix spoon and baby-led weaning
What you need to know about combining spoon and baby-led weaning
Some mums worry their baby might choke if they offer finger foods so can tend to shy away from baby-led weaning. It’s true that with spoon-fed weaning you can control the amount of food your baby is putting into their mouth and so may well reduce any chance of choking. But it is important to offer finger foods as well so that your baby learns about foods by seeing them and touching them.
Mixing spoon-fed waning with baby-led weaning (BLW) needn’t be confusing and what’s especially good is that instead of having to spoon feed your baby before the rest of the family eats, you can include your baby at the family meal and give them some finger foods to play with and try.
If you feel that a mixed approach is the best route for you these tips can help you to make the mixed approach to solids work for your baby:
- It is OK to introduce finger foods at any point even after you have started your baby on purees.
- Keep the balance between spoon-feeding and finger food equal at mealtimes and give some finger foods as well as food that can be given from a spoon. Although some babies may be confused if finger foods and purees are fed simultaneously – so try serving purees and finger foods as different courses of the same meal.
- Give finger foods that pass the “squish” test when you press them between your fingers.
- Try seeing if your baby wants to grab and use the spoon to feed themselves - foods like porridge, mashed potato and fromage frais will stick to a spoon so you can hand to your baby.
- Try to reduce spoon-feeding and increase finger foods from seven months to eight months.
- Be prepared that older babies who have not had much previous experience with finger foods may gag more initially.
- As your baby gets older help them learn to self-feed in a relaxed way by giving finger foods outside of mealtimes when they’re not hungry and less likely to get displeased whilst learning.
Whichever route you choose introducing food to your baby should be an enjoyable stage of their development for all of you - helping your baby to enjoy a variety of foods and build self-feeding skills are the priorities.