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Baby-led weaning: The theory and evidence behind the approach



Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an approach to the introduction of solid foods that, although not new, has gained popularity rapidly since it was given this name. While there is currently little direct evidence to justify the approach, there exists a range of research that provides support for the principles that underpin it, namely the developmental readiness of infants to feed themselves using their hands, and their innate ability to respond appropriately to both appetite and satiety. In its practical application, BLW is in line with current weaning recommendations and there is tentative evidence that suggests it may lead to positive health outcomes. It is therefore something that health visitors should be prepared to discuss with parents.
Baby-led Weaning: The theory and evidence behind the
Gill Rapley
This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in the Journal
of Health Visiting in March 2015, copyright © MA Healthcare, after peer review and technical editing by the
publisher. To access the final edited and published work see [].
Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an approach to the introduction of solid foods that, while not
new, has gained rapidly in popularity since it was given this name. While there is, thus far,
little direct evidence to justify it, there exists a range of research that provides support for the
principles that underpin it, namely the developmental readiness of infants to feed themselves
using their hands and their innate ability to respond appropriately to both appetite and
satiety. In its practical application BLW is in line with current recommendations and there is
tentative evidence that suggests it may lead to positive health outcomes. It is therefore
something that health visitors should be prepared to discuss with parents.
Key Words
Weaning; finger foods; self-feeding; baby-led; complementary feeding; solid foods
Key Points
Baby-led weaning is an approach, not a method.
Baby-led weaning is not new. It was being implemented by many parents long before it had
a name.
Baby-led weaning respects an infant’s natural abilities and instincts in relation to self-feeding
and appetite regulation.
The practical aspects of baby-led weaning are in line with the current UK recommendations
for introducing solid foods.
There is some evidence that baby-led weaning may lead to positive health outcomes.
Most parents will find themselves discussing their baby’s introduction to solid foods with their
health visitor at some point, whether at their own instigation or the health visitor’s.
Nowadays, it is likely that baby-led weaning (BLW) will feature in that discussion, since many
parents have heard of it and are either following it or contemplating doing so. Anecdotally,
though, it seems that not all health professionals feel equipped to talk about BLW, while a
few Trusts are advising their staff to avoid the topic completely, on the grounds that it is not
‘evidence based’. This article explains what BLW is, what the evidence is that supports it,
and why it should form part of routine discussions about weaning.
What is baby-led weaning?
First and foremost, baby-led weaning is an overarching approach to the introduction of solid
foods, not merely a method of feeding. It incorporates several practical elements but is built
on an underpinning ethos of respect for the baby and a belief that his instincts are reliable.
On a purely practical level BLW differs very little from the current guidance for parents
published by the UK Departments of Health (NHS UK, 2014). In this sense, in the 12 years
since BLW first began to be talked about, it has become mainstream. What sets it apart from
the simple practice of using self-feeding and finger foods as a method for introducing solid
foods is the underlying trust that is accorded to the baby.
Baby-led weaning is firmly rooted in the overall normal development of infants (Rapley,
2013). Thus, the introduction of solid foods from six months is appropriate not only because
exclusive breastfeeding until then has been shown to lead to optimal health outcomes
(Kramer and Kakuma, 2012), and because of the normal developmental readiness at this
age of the gut, oral motor functions and immune system to extend the diet beyond breastmilk
(Naylor and Morrow, 2001), but also because it is at about six months that infants naturally
begin to want, and become able, to investigate their environment using their hands and their
mouths. Sharing meals is an essential aspect of BLW, freeing parents up to act as role
models for food choices and mealtime behaviour. In addition, shared mealtimes help babies
to learn which foods are safe, allow them to begin using cutlery and cups through imitation
as and when they are ready, and promote the development of speech and language.
Baby-led weaning recognises the fact that healthy, term babies are capable of feeding
themselves from the moment they are born and that feeding is something they do, rather
than something that is done to them. At the point of birth, when they are at their most
vulnerable, babies know how to feed, when to feed, how fast to feed and how much
breastmilk to take, and they will demonstrate this if they are given the opportunity. There is
no logical reason why these innate abilities, to obtain nourishment and regulate intake,
should desert the infant at the point where he or she begins to need other foods. Thus, in the
same way that, given the right circumstances, newborn infants are capable of locating the
breast, attaching and feeding themselves (Widström et al, 2011), so infants of around six
months, given the opportunity to reach out and grab food, will naturally begin to pick it up
and take it to their mouths (Rapley, 2003).
When a decision to allow the infant access to solid foods is made by the infant’s carers,
whether at four months, six months or some other age, the ‘baby-ledness’ of that transition is
immediately compromised to some extent, in that the infant’s first contact with solid food
happens at a point in time chosen by someone else. When, in addition, spoon feeding is
used, the opportunity for the exercise of autonomy by the infant is significantly reduced.
However responsive the carer, spoon feeding can never be entirely baby-led because the
baby is not in charge of what goes on the spoon. He is able to decide whether or not to
accept it a yes/no decision but is prevented from choosing between options. This is even
more true if the food is offered as a mashed or puréed all-in-one meal, when the ratios of the
various elements and nutrients are pre-determined. Spoon feeding, then, is something
done to a baby: he can either accept or refuse it, and he may be able to influence its pace,
but he cannot otherwise direct it. In addition, the need to spoon feed the infant makes it
difficult for the parent to eat at their own pace alongside their child, thereby reducing the
potential for role-modelling of normal eating behaviour.
Breastfeeding infants have been shown to adapt more readily than formula-fed infants to a
mixed diet (Cooke and Fildes, 2011), possibly because the varying flavour of breastmilk
prepares the infant for those he will encounter during weaning (Mennella, 1995). In addition,
the action of breastfeeding exercises and adapts the oral cavity for chewing (Neiva et al,
2003; Viggiano et al, 2004). However, there is so far no evidence to suggest that formula-fed
infants cannot feed themselves with solid foods from six months, nor that they are reluctant
to do so. There is, however, some evidence to suggest that mothers who formula feed may
find it harder than those who breastfeed to allow their infant the degree of control that BLW
entails (Brown and Lee, 2011).
How close is baby-led weaning to current guidelines?
The principle of developmental readiness underpins both BLW and the current UK infant
feeding guidelines. Both the practical elements of BLW and the recommendations available
to parents (NHS UK) support the idea that:
Solid foods are not normally needed before six months
Babies should be included in family mealtimes
Babies should sit upright to eat, and not be left alone with food
Babies can be encouraged to handle food and feed themselves as soon as they
show an interest in doing so
Some mess is to be expected
Spoon feeding, and puréed or mashed foods, are not essential
Babies should not be encouraged to continue eating when they have indicated that
they have had enough
Certain foods are not suitable for babies and should be avoided, or kept to a
minimum for example, raw eggs, salt and sugar.
The Start4Life leaflet, Introducing Solid Foods (DH, 2011) tells the reader that babies “often
like to start eating [soft cooked vegetables and soft fresh fruit] by having them as finger
foods” (p.5) and advises that they “can feed themselves using their own fingers, as soon as
they show an interest” (p.9). There is no requirement to implement a period of spoon feeding
before or alongside self-feeding. On the contrary, the sense is that, having established that
their infant is ready for solid foods, the parents should take their cue from him. This is
reinforced by the fact that all the illustrations are of babies feeding themselves, either with
their fingers or with a spoon, rather than, as in the past, of infants being spoon fed by an
adult. There is therefore no conflict between the current recommendations and the practical
elements of BLW.
The key difference between the NHS guidelines and BLW is one of degree. Baby-led
weaning trusts the infant to know what he needs and to be able to choose for himself what
and when to eat, as well as how fast and how much. In addition, while Rapley and Murkett
(2008) endorse the six-month recommendation in order to discourage an inappropriately
early start, the theory behind BLW does not require there to be a stated minimum age for
starting solids, since the infant’s own development will prevent it from happening until the
appropriate point of readiness is reached. Providing the opportunity to eat, but leaving the
decision to the baby, means that expansion of the diet occurs at the right time for each
infant, whether that be at exactly 26 weeks, slightly before this, or a few weeks after. In
being explicit about the importance of handing over the decision-making to the infant, within
the context of safe practice and the availability of nutritious food, BLW therefore goes one
step further than the current guidelines. It is worth noting that ‘delaying’ the introduction of
solid foods until the infant takes the initiative and starts to help himself is far from being a
new idea, with plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that it has long been the norm in
larger families; the new feature is the name.
The evidence that supports a self-feeding approach
There is little direct evidence to support either the practical elements of BLW or, indeed, the
current UK recommendations as a package. Early proponents of BLW (Rapley, 2006;
Rapley and Murkett, 2008) pointed out that the shift to six months as a minimum age for the
introduction of solid foods, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO,
2003), required a re-assessment of the approach to be taken, in view of the different skills
and abilities of a six-month-old as compared with a four-month-old. Since then, Wright et al
(2011) have looked at when infants commonly begin to reach out for food and concluded
that self-feeding from six months onwards is probably feasible for the majority, particularly if
this is encouraged by the parents. Cameron et al (2012) also concluded that such an
approach is workable, while Townsend and Pitchford (2012) and Brown and Lee (2013)
found early evidence of positive health outcomes related to BLW. This research is valuable
but it is slim. However, lack of evidence for something is not the same as the existence of
evidence against it. Clearly it would not be acceptable to suggest to parents that they follow
an approach that has been shown to be harmful, but this is not the case here, since there is
plenty of indirect evidence to enable us to feel confident to recommend self-feeding from six
We have known for a long time that six-month-old babies can reach out and grasp things
and take them to their mouths (Sheridan, 1973), and that chewing skills also emerge at
about this age (Illingworth and Lister, 1964). The result is that finger foods have, for many
years, been recommended from six months onwards, alongside puréed and mashed foods.
What has happened more recently is that our understanding of the readiness of the infant’s
gut and immune system for solid foods (Naylor and Morrow, 2001), and of the capability of
breastmilk to provide all the nutrition needed until this point (Kramer and Kramer, 2012), has
caught up with this existing knowledge. We now know that solid foods are not needed at four
or even five months, and that the quantity required at or soon after six months is almost
negligible certainly not the three meals a day which used to be expected (Krebs, 2000).
All we need to do is to join up the dots and realise that, for babies who are beginning solid
foods at six months, the need for puréed foods and spoon feeding has been bypassed and
they can move directly from breast- or bottle feeding to self-feeding.
More research is clearly needed but it is salutary to note that there is in fact no evidence to
support the spoon feeding of infants; it is simply that spoon feeding goes hand in hand with
the use of puréed foods. Both are necessary if babies who can neither get food to their
mouths themselves, nor chew it, are to be offered non-liquid foods. The combination of
puréed foods and spoon feeding thus became custom and practice over the decades during
which we believed that infants younger than six months needed more than just breastmilk or
infant formula. Similarly, clearing of a spoon with the top lip is often presented, in the
research literature, as a key feeding skill that infants must master. In fact, unless they are to
be spoon fed, it is not a skill they need to acquire until they begin to use cutlery themselves
commonly from about ten months. Most infants who begin solid foods at around six months
are sufficiently skilled not to need purées, or even mashed foods, nor, to be fed by someone
else. Indeed, the use of unnecessarily soft foods in the second half of the first year may
delay the move to chewable foods and make later feeding difficulties more likely (Northstone
et al, 2001). Infants will spontaneously learn to use both spoons and forks, and later knives,
when it is developmentally appropriate for them to do so, in the context of autonomous
Common concerns about self-feeding and BLW
The four biggest and most common concerns about allowing babies to feed themselves are:
Will they get enough to eat?’, Will they eat the right foods?’, ‘Won’t they choke? and Are
there any babies for whom self-feeding is inappropriate?The answers to these questions
should reassure us as to the wisdom of using a self-feeding approach.
Will they get enough to eat?
It is interesting that, at a time when one of our biggest public health challenges is obesity,
with childhood obesity highlighted as a key concern, we should be worried about whether
babies will get enough to eat if left to decide this for themselves. Normal, healthy children do
not knowingly starve themselves and, as we have seen, breastfed babies are able to
regulate their own intake. Indeed, the evidence suggests that we should be more concerned
about the risk of overeating for infants who are not allowed to exercise natural appetite
control (Li et al, 2012, 2014). Brown and Lee (2012) have shown that breastfeeding
promotes later satiety responsiveness and that allowing infants to feed themselves with solid
foods may have a similar effect, thereby potentially reducing the risk of obesity in childhood
(Brown and Lee, 2013). Conversely, both bottle feeding and spoon feeding are known to
have the potential to override infants’ natural appetite control (Aboud et al, 2009; Li et al,
2010). It is worth noting, too, that the addition of water to puréed foods, which is necessary
to achieve the required consistency, means that the infant needs to consume greater
volumes to achieve the same intake of energy and nutrients than he does when eating the
food in a graspable form. It would seem, then, that a biological pathway, in which self-
feeding at the breast is followed by self-feeding with solid foods, may be one way to reduce
the risk of habitual overeating.
Trusting the infant to know his own appetite is probably the most difficult aspect of BLW, for
both parents and health professionals. With a six-month start and a self-feeding approach,
intake of solid foods will usually be very small for the first few months and it can be tempting
to ‘top up’ with a few spoonfuls of puréed or mashed foods, just so everyone is reassured
that the baby has eaten something. But this assumes we know better than he does what and
how much he needs, and there is no evidence that this is the case. Insistence on combining
spoon feeding and self-feeding also ignores the fact that many parents turn to BLW precisely
because, at six months, their infant will not accept a spoon (Arden and Abbott, 2014). It also
reflects the emphasis, in previous decades, on replacing breastmilk or formula as quickly as
possible, rather than allowing it to remain the infant’s main source of nourishment until at
least the first birthday. Thinking of shared mealtimes as play and learning opportunities, and
ensuring that milk feeds continue to be available on demand, should allay fears about the
infant’s intake. The baby himself will manage the changeover, reducing his milk feeds
gradually from about nine months, as his intake of solid food increases.
Will they eat the right foods?
There is no evidence that unhealthy eating habits occur spontaneously; rather, it seems
likely they are induced by coercive or indulgent parenting practices (Faith et al, 2004; Patrick
et al, 2005). Indeed, provided a range of healthy foods is offered, there is good reason to
believe that self-feeding infants will choose a balanced diet (Strauss, 2006) and that they will
develop longer-term healthy eating habits into the bargain (Townsend and Pitchford, 2012).
Another advantage of BLW is the opportunity it provides for infants to learn to recognise
‘real’ food. Puréeing alters not only the appearance and texture of food but potentially also
its flavour (Waldron et al, 2003), meaning that an infant’s apparent liking for a food may not
extend to the same food offered in a different format later. Commercially produced weaning
foods are more different still from that which the child will eventually be expected to eat, and
may lack nutritional value (Garcia et al, 2013).
Of course, much depends on the nature and balance of the foods offered. For the
autonomous choices proposed in BLW to be reliable, nutritious foods must be offered and
unhealthy foods kept to a minimum. In addition, it is important that babies and children are
not influenced to prefer certain foods by emotional weighting that suggests some foods are
more desirable than others (Batsell et al, 2002; Fisher et al, 2002; Birch et al, 2003; Wardle
et al, 2003; Jansen et al, 2008; Scaglioni et al, 2008; DiSantis et al, 2011). On the surface,
this suggests that encouragement of self-feeding may not be appropriate for some families.
However, it is worth noting that anecdotal evidence indicates that many parents are
prompted to improve their own diet when contemplating following BLW, and reminding
ourselves that all children are likely, at some point, to end up eating similar food to their
parents. The start of weaning may therefore be an ideal time to educate and support parents
to adopt healthy eating practices for the whole family.
Won’t they choke?
Infants develop the ability to move chewed food to the back of their mouth for swallowing
only after they have learned to chew (Naylor, 2001). Prior to this, chewed food normally falls
forward, out of the mouth. This means that, provided the infant is sitting upright, his airway is
not at any more risk than an adult’s would be. In addition, infants of around six months
commonly gag readily on pieces of food when they start self-feeding, because their gag
reflex is triggered relatively far forward on the tongue (Naylor, 2001). This may serve to help
them learn how to keep food at the front of their mouth until they are ready to swallow it. The
risk of inhalation of food is also less when a biting action is used to take in the food, as
compared with the sucking action often used by infants when presented with a spoon
(Wickenden, 2000). Finally, choking is less likely when the individual is able to concentrate
on eating, to control what goes into his mouth, and to co-ordinate this with his breathing
(Delaney and Arvedson, 2008). It is interesting to consider that tipping infants back, offering
them food from a spoon, and distracting them with games of ‘aeroplanes’ have all formed
part of what has long been accepted as the ‘normal’ way of feeding a young baby. And yet
these practices have the potential to lead to choking because they override or bypass the
natural constraints that exist when an individual adult, child or infant feeds himself.
Are there any babies for whom self-feeding is inappropriate?
Baby-led weaning relies on an individual infant’s development his actual age is
irrelevant. Babies whose development is delayed, or who have disabilities, tend to start
feeding themselves later and progress more slowly than other babies (Wright et al, 2011),
and some may never be able to feed themselves independently. To varying degrees, the
ability of these infants to feed themselves may therefore not keep pace with their need for
additional nutrients. This does not mean that self-feeding is out of the question, simply that
total reliance on this approach may not be appropriate. Indeed, it is all too easy for babies
with special needs to miss out on normal experiences and learning opportunities, simply
because they have been given a label. For example, it has been pointed out (personal
communication from speech and language therapists) that infants with Downs syndrome are
commonly spoon fed to a much greater degree, and for longer, than necessary and
consequently miss out on the opportunity to maximise the development of their fine motor
and chewing skills through early experience with ‘real’ food.
For infants who have a delay or disability, there is no reason why spoon and even tube
feeding cannot precede or be used in parallel with self-feeding, as a support for independent
eating rather than a replacement for it. Babies born preterm but whose developmental
trajectory is normal may, on the other hand, simply be able to continue with breastmilk or
formula, with additional nutrients given as supplements, until they progress naturally to self-
feeding when they reach the relevant gestational age. The current guidance from Bliss
allows for this, suggesting as it does that weaning should commence sometime between five
and eight months (Bliss, 2011).
Why be informed about baby-led weaning?
There are several reasons why health visitors should know about baby-led weaning. The first
is that many parents are following this approach and they will be forced to turn to the Internet
and social media for information and answers to their questions if their HV is not able or
prepared to help them. This is especially undesirable in the current climate of
commissioning. It is therefore important that health visitors are able and willing to offer
information about the practicalities of BLW, in order that parents can implement it safely. For
example, the baby must be able to support his head and trunk independently, and to be
sitting upright to eat. Food should be offered in sizes and shapes that match the infant’s
abilities, while also encouraging skill development. Thus, sticks or strips of food are
appropriate at the start, with a gradual progression during the early weeks to food that can
be grasped in handfuls (such as minced meat and rice) and then to foods that demand a
pincer grip or the use of a spoon or fork all led by the baby. It is important, too, for health
visitors to be ready to discuss with parents ways in which meals can be adapted to adhere to
the current recommendations for home-cooked weaning foods (no added salt or sugar, no
‘junk’ food, peanuts, honey, etc.), so that food and mealtimes can be shared by the whole
A second reason why health visitors need to inform themselves about baby-led weaning is
that BLW is the shorthand term used by many parents nowadays to refer to babies feeding
themselves with their fingers. Many do not realise that finger feeding from six months is
‘allowed’ within the current NHS guidelines, and this can lead to confusion about how and
when it is appropriate to introduce their baby to this method of eating. Such confusion also
leads to crossed wires when parents are discussing their plans for ‘doing’ weaning: a
combination of self-feeding and spoon feeding, which are both methods, is possible but a
combination of BLW and spoon feeding is not, since, as approaches, the two are
A third reason why BLW is worthy of discussion is that the purpose of introducing solid foods
from six months is not to replace breastmilk (or formula) but to complement it, at least until
the first birthday (NHS UK, 2014) and preferably for longer (WHO, 2003). Since self-feeding
with the fingers is rarely possible before around six months, BLW necessarily implies a later
start to weaning; indeed, it has been shown to be a good predictor of adherence to the six-
month ‘rule’ (Moore et al, 2014). Allowing the infant to choose when weaning starts and to
direct the pace from then on helps to ensure that milk feeds are not reduced too rapidly.
Finally, as Wright et al (2011) acknowledged four years ago, BLW “is already widely used”
and “there have as yet been no case reports of adverse outcomes” (p.32), while “feeding
children purées is not without its problems” (ibid.). It is BLW’s potential to help parents avoid
some of the misery that is so commonly associated with getting babies and children to eat
that makes it an important part of all discussions about weaning.
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... The way in which solid foods are introduced to a baby may also impact on nutritional intake and future health outcomes. Baby-led weaning describes an approach to weaning which hands some control of feeding over to the baby (Rapley, 2015). This thesis includes papers which explore the differences in nutritional intake between babies following baby-led and traditional weaning (Pearce and Langley-Evans, 2021), what baby-led weaning means to parents (Pearce and Rundle, n.d) and the extent to which parents adhere to characteristics of baby-led weaning (Pearce and Langley-Evans, 2021). ...
... Another study found that 56% of babies could reach for food before age 6 months and 40% first ate finger foods before 6 months (Wright et al., 2011). Despite the lack of a large evidence base or longitudinal studies lasting more than 1-2 years, it is widely accepted that BLW has several health benefits for the offspring, including satiety responsiveness, greater acceptance of a range of foods, less pickiness, increased dietary diversity, prevention of obesity, improved mealtime behaviour, increased dexterity and promoting speech and language development Rapley, 2015). Importantly, it is suggested that BLW allows the baby to decide what and how much they eat which removes parental control and allows the baby to regulate intake which could improve satiety responsiveness and promote a healthier long-term relationship with food (Birch and Fisher, 1998;Birch and Fisher, 2000;Brown and Lee, 2011a;Brown, 2017;Rapley, 2015;Savage et al., 2007). ...
... Despite the lack of a large evidence base or longitudinal studies lasting more than 1-2 years, it is widely accepted that BLW has several health benefits for the offspring, including satiety responsiveness, greater acceptance of a range of foods, less pickiness, increased dietary diversity, prevention of obesity, improved mealtime behaviour, increased dexterity and promoting speech and language development Rapley, 2015). Importantly, it is suggested that BLW allows the baby to decide what and how much they eat which removes parental control and allows the baby to regulate intake which could improve satiety responsiveness and promote a healthier long-term relationship with food (Birch and Fisher, 1998;Birch and Fisher, 2000;Brown and Lee, 2011a;Brown, 2017;Rapley, 2015;Savage et al., 2007). Infancy and early childhood are key in the development of children's eating habits (Birch and Fisher, 1998). ...
Nutritional exposures during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood can impact on both the short-term and long-term health outcomes of children. Pregnancy has often been described as a ‘teachable moment’, where women may have increased motivation to change their dietary and other health behaviours. Other teachable moments exist whenever families make choices around nutrition, such as breast or formula feeding, the introduction of solid foods and what to eat at home or at school. This thesis considers whether the promotion of healthy eating habits and adherence to dietary guidelines during these teachable moments, have the potential to improve the health outcomes of women and children. The eight papers included in the thesis represent an original contribution to knowledge. The two papers which explored women’s feelings about their weight, diet, nutrition, and physical activity (PA) during pregnancy, found that weight and lifestyle factors were often problematised without offering constructive solutions. Offering personalised advice, re-framed positively to focus on nutrients for maternal and foetal health, may help to address this. A service evaluation of a pregnancy weight management intervention found that where interventions are tailored and delivered by trusted health professionals, success can be achieved. Two systematic reviews found some limited evidence that very early introduction of solid foods (≤ 4 months) and high intakes of protein in infancy may contribute to overweight and obesity risk later in childhood. This suggests there is a need for continued promotion and support for families to meet recommendations to breastfeed and introduce solids from 6 months of age. Two further papers explored baby-led weaning (BLW) and found understanding of and adherence to the characteristics of BLW varied considerably amongst parents reporting using the method. Younger (6-8 months) infants following BLW had lower intakes of key nutrients, but differences disappeared by 9-12 months. Milk feeding may play a role in observed differences. A final paper explored why some families choose not to take universal infant free school meals. This appeared to be because the child rejected the food or due to concerns over what/how much the child ate and the quality of the meals provided. Health promotion activity should focus on the long-term healthy eating habits of women as the gatekeepers of the family diet, whilst recognising the challenges that women face during and following pregnancy.
... Bebekler dört aylıkken ek gıdaya başladıklarında, kendilerini besleyemeyecek kadar küçük oldukları için gıdaların püre şeklinde ve kaşıkla verilmesi gerekiyordu. Bununla birlikte Bebek Liderliğinde Beslenme (BLW) savunucuları, altı aylık bebeklerin gelişimsel olarak daha iyi olduğunu, parmaklarını ve ellerini kullanarak çevrelerini keşfetmek istediklerini, bu nedenle başka biri tarafından beslemeye ihtiyaç olmadığını ve aynı zamanda gıdaların püre şeklinde sunulmasına gerek olmadığını öne sürmüşlerdir (Cameron 2012, Rapley 2015. ...
... Bu sayede bebek sosyal etkileşim sağlamakta, besinler hakkında bilgi edinmekte ve özerklik duygusu kazanmaktadır. Bebek hangi besini, hangi miktarda ve hangi hızda yiyeceğine kendisi karar vermektedir (Rapley 2015, Rapley 2018. ...
... (DIEZ-GARCIA, 2003;POULAIN, 2013) "Mudanças" dietéticas e culinárias assumem significados distintos para as mães cibernéticas. Além da proposta hoje denominada "tradicional", as orientações indicam métodos de introdução de alimentos e utensílios em duas novas classificações sobre oferta alimentos: o Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) (RAPLEY, 2015), e a "introdução alimentar participativa", 2 que mistura BLW 3 e tradicional. (PADOVANI, 2014) As negociações no cotidiano do consumo alimentar dos filhos pequenos objetificam-se em comidas, utensílios e corte dos alimentos, interesses e disposições para o que seriam traços distintivos de uma "boa mãe". ...
A coletânea destaca práticas alimentares por meio das quais emergem múltiplos imaginários e consumos que traduzem a diversidade de olhares, identidades e pertencimentos à vida urbanizada. O livro traz ainda análises de fenômenos comunicativos e suas representações a partir de miradas críticas em torno de temas diversos e suas múltiplas interfaces buscando trazer à luz convergências, mas também tensões, disputas e resistências sociais envolvendo diferentes saberes acerca da comida, da comensalidade e das subjetividades.
... Previously reported trends for the increasing number of caregivers following BLW [52] did not appear to influence food textures or feeding methods in the current study. Most infants consumed puréed foods when solids were introduced and were spoon-fed by an adult. ...
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Infant feeding guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations to support optimal infant health, growth, and development, and exploring adherence to guidelines is a useful way of assessing diet quality. The aim of this study was to determine adherence to the recently updated Ministry of Health “Healthy Eating Guidelines for New Zealand Babies and Toddlers (0–2 years old)”. Data were obtained from First Foods New Zealand, a multicentre observational study of 625 infants aged 7.0–10.0 months. Caregivers completed two 24-h diet recalls and a demographic and feeding questionnaire. Nearly all caregivers (97.9%) initiated breastfeeding, 37.8% exclusively breastfed to around six months of age, and 66.2% were currently breastfeeding (mean age 8.4 months). Most caregivers met recommendations for solid food introduction, including appropriate age (75.4%), iron-rich foods (88.3%), puréed textures (80.3%), and spoon-feeding (74.1%). Infants consumed vegetables (63.2%) and fruit (53.9%) more frequently than grain foods (49.5%), milk and milk products (38.6%), and meat and protein-rich foods (31.8%). Most caregivers avoided inappropriate beverages (93.9%) and adding salt (76.5%) and sugar (90.6%). Our findings indicated that while most infants met the recommendations for the introduction of appropriate solid foods, the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding could be improved, indicating that New Zealand families may need more support.
... Furthermore, a study conducted in Spain also demonstrated an increase in the percentage of women who reported using baby-led weaning as their infants' age advanced [30]. It is evident that, as infants develop, their sitting posture becomes increasingly stable, their ability to accurately reach and transport food to their mouths improves, and their chewing and swallowing become safer, resulting in a transition from consuming porridge or purées with a spoon to consuming food in pieces, strips, or sticks [31,32]. This shift in eating habits leads to a more efficient and less anxiety-inducing eating experience [33]. ...
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An exploratory study was undertaken to examine the prevalence of infants’ feeding patterns in Beijing, China, as well as the factors linked to infants’ self-feeding proportion during the introduction of complementary foods, and the impact of professional feeding guidance on this proportion. A total of 122 families with infants aged 6–11 months from Beijing were included in the study. A descriptive analysis was employed to assess the prevalence of infants’ feeding patterns, while generalized linear model analysis was utilized to investigate the factors associated with these patterns. All families were provided with comprehensive and personalized professional guidance regarding the introduction of complementary foods for infants. However, 64 families were lost to follow-up, leaving 58 families who were re-evaluated and queried after one month. To exclude the influence of infants aging, both the 64 families prior to receiving feeding guidance, and the 58 families after receiving feeding guidance, were included in the analysis. The families with infants aged 6–8 months and 9–11 months were compared separately based on the presence or absence of feeding guidance. Statistical tests, including the Wilcoxon rank-sum test and χ2 test, were conducted to assess any significant differences. The study revealed that the proportion of infants engaging in self-feeding was found to be remarkably low (10% [0%, 40%]). Furthermore, a significant positive association was observed between the proportion of infants engaging in self-feeding and their age (p < 0.001). Notably, after receiving professional feeding guidance, the proportion of infants engaging in self-feeding significantly increased (from 1% [0%, 20%] to 30% [10%, 50%], p < 0.001 for infants aged 6–8 months; from 20% [10%, 50%] to 40% [30%, 50%], p < 0.001 for infants aged 9–11 months). These findings contribute valuable insights for improving postnatal care practices during the introduction of complementary foods for infants.
... [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] The risk of choking is often a concern among parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. 4,6,7,[10][11][12][13][14] Unlike gagging (or nausea or gag reflex), which helps to protect the airways during the swallowing process, 15 choking is a serious event in which the airway is partially or completely obstructed by a foreign body, making it impossible for the children to resolve it on their own, requiring choking maneuvers or medical assistance. ...
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Objective: Compare the occurrence of choking and gagging in infants subjected to three complementary feeding (CF) methods. Methods: Randomized clinical trial with mother-infant pairs, allocated according to the following methods of CF: a) Parent-Led Weaning (PLW) - group control, b) Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS (BLISS), and c) mixed (initially BLISS and if the infant presents a lack of interest or dissatisfaction, PLW), with the last two methods guided by the infant. Mothers received nutritional intervention on CF and prevention of choking and gagging according to the method at 5.5 months of age and remained in follow-up until 12 months. Frequencies of choking and gagging were collected by questionnaire at nine and 12 months. The comparison between groups was performed using the analysis of variance test (p < 0.05). Results: 130 infants were followed, and 34 (26.2%) children presented choking between six and 12 months of age, 13 (30.2%) in PLW, 10 (22.2%) BLISS, and 11 (26.2%) mixed method, no significative difference between methods (p > 0.05). The choking was caused mainly by the semi-solid/solid consistency. Moreover, 100 (80%) infants aged from six to 12 months presented gagging and their characteristics were not statistically different among groups (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Infants following a baby-led feeding method that includes advice on minimizing choking risk do not seem more likely to choke than infants following traditional feeding practice that includes advice on minimizing choking risk.
... Based on the physiological and neurological maturity of children at six months, new methods for introducing complementary foods (CF) have been proposed, suggesting that the gradual transition of textures may not be necessary 4 . Among the new methods, the widest spreads probably are the Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) proposed in 2008 by author Gill Rapley in the book Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food 5 , and the Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS (BLISS) proposed in 2015 by a group of New Zealand researchers 6 . ...
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Background Inadequate nutrient intake is a common problem in the introduction of complementary feeding (CF), which can impair healthy infant growth. Methods To analyze nutrient intake in infants submitted to three different CF methods, it was conducted a randomized clinical trial comparing complementary feeding methods in mother-infant pairs. The mothers received at 5.5 months of the child an intervention on one of three distinct CF methods: (A) strict Parent-Led Weaning (PLW); (B) strict Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS (BLISS); and (C) a mixed method. The pairs were followed up at nine months, and 12–17 months of age. Food consumption was assessed by a 24-h dietary recall at nine and 12–17 months. Quantile regression was used to estimate the differences between the groups in nutrient intake. The research was approved by the Ethics Committee. Results A total of 127 infants were evaluated at nine months and 113 at 12–17 months. Mostly, PLW, BLISS, and mixed CF methods provided similar amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients. At nine months, infants randomized to the Mixed method had higher vitamin B9 intake compared to the other methods (p = 0.049). Infants fed by mixed method consumed significantly fewer carbohydrates (p = 0.033) and less total fiber (p < 0.001) at 12 and 17 months. Conclusions Infants following PLW, BLISS, or mixed showed predominantly similar amounts of nutrient intake. Trial registration The trial was registered in the Brazilian Registry of Clinical Trials (ReBEC) with identifier [RBR-229scm U1111-1226-9516], []. The full data of the first registration was on 24/09/2019.
... This knowledge can be translated into guidance for infant-feeding personnel and for mothers themselves in terms of their management and decisionmaking surrounding bottle refusal by breastfed babies. Crucially, this study also adds to the evidence that babies are active participants in infant feeding, and that this is 'something they do, rather than something that is done to them' (Rapley, 2015). ...
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Bottle refusal by breastfed babies is a scenario that has received surprisingly little attention in the literature, given the number of mothers who appear to be experiencing it globally and the subsequent negative impact it can have. In line with this, we undertook a study to explore mothers' views on why their breastfed baby refuses to bottle feed. A parallel, two-stage, exploratory qualitative design was employed using 30 semi-structured interviews and 597 online forum posts. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis, and a biopsychosocial model was applied resulting in four overarching themes being identified: 'Breastfeeding is the answer to everything….' 'Bottle feeding: an alien concept… 'Babies are individuals' and 'Find the right bottle and don't delay'. The psychological benefits of breastfeeding, not inherent in bottle feeding, appeared to underpin some mothers' views on their baby's refusal. Other mothers explained refusal as being down to a baby's biological expectation to be fed by the breast; therefore, bottle feeding was not a normal concept to them. A baby's individual personality and temperament were also suggested as contributing to the scenario and refusal was linked to babies disliking a certain brand of bottle and being introduced to it 'too late'. This study's findings point to a complex, multifactorial picture underpinning bottle refusal by breastfed babies, which transcends physical, psychological and biological concepts, and is influenced by socio-cultural norms surrounding infant feeding. Recognition of these contributing factors is needed to aid those supporting mothers experiencing the scenario and, importantly, to underpin mothers' decision-making around managing it.
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Background: Evidence suggests an association of breastfeeding with a maternal feeding style (MFS) that is less controlling than formula feeding, which, in turn, may improve a child's self-regulation of eating. This study examines associations of bottle-feeding practices during infancy with MFS and children's eating behavior (CEB) at 6 years old. Methods: We linked data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II to the Year 6 Follow-Up, which include 8 MFS and CEB measures adapted from previous validated instruments. Bottle-feeding practices during the first 6 months estimated by using the Infant Feeding Practices Study II were bottle-feeding intensity (BFI), mother's encouragement of infant to finish milk in the bottle, and infant finishing all milk in the bottle. Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for associations of bottle-feeding practices with MFS and CEB at 6 years old were calculated by using multivariable logistic regressions controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and other feeding practices (N = 1117). Results: Frequent bottle emptying encouraged by mothers during infancy increased odds of mothers encouraging their child to eat all the food on their plate (aOR: 2.37; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.65-3.41] and making sure their child eats enough (aOR: 1.62; 95% CI: 1.14-2.31) and of children eating all the food on their plate at 6 years old (aOR: 2.01; 95% CI: 1.05-3.83). High BFI during early infancy also increased the odds of mothers being especially careful to ensure their 6-year-old eats enough. Conclusions: Bottle-feeding practices during infancy may have long-term effects on MFS and CEB. Frequent bottle emptying encouraged by mothers and/or high BFI during early infancy increased the likelihood of mothers pressuring their 6-year-old child to eat and children's low satiety responsiveness.
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Nutrition during infancy may have a long-term impact upon weight gain and eating style. How infants are introduced to solid foods may be important. Traditionally, infants are introduced to solid foods via spoon-feeding of purees. However, baby-led weaning advocates allowing infants to self-feed foods in their whole form. Advocates suggest this may promote healthy eating styles, but evidence is sparse. The aim of the current study was to compare child eating behaviour at 18-24 months between infants weaned using a traditional weaning approach and those weaned using a baby-led weaning style. Two hundred ninety-eight mothers with an infant aged 18-24 months completed a longitudinal, self-report questionnaire. In Phase One, mothers with an infant aged 6-12 months reported breastfeeding duration, timing of solid foods, weaning style (baby-led or standard) and maternal control, measured using the Child Feeding Questionnaire. At 18-24 months, post-partum mothers completed a follow-up questionnaire examining child eating style (satiety-responsiveness, food-responsiveness, fussiness, enjoyment of food) and reported child weight. Infants weaned using a baby-led approach were significantly more satiety-responsive and less likely to be overweight compared with those weaned using a standard approach. This was independent of breastfeeding duration, timing of introduction to complementary foods and maternal control. A baby-led weaning approach may encourage greater satiety-responsiveness and healthy weight-gain trajectories in infants. However, the limitations of a self-report correlational study are noted. Further research using randomized controlled trial is needed.
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Health professionals are frequently asked to advise on aspects of complementary feeding. This study aimed to describe the types of commercial infant foods available in the UK and provide an overview of their taste, texture and nutritional content in terms of energy, protein, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, iron, sodium and calcium. All infant foods produced by four main UK manufacturers and two more specialist suppliers were identified during October 2010-February 2011. Nutritional information for each product was collected from manufacturers' websites, products in store and via direct email enquiry. Of the 479 products identified in this study 364 (79%) were ready-made spoonable foods; 44% (201) were aimed at infants from 4 months, and 65% of these were sweet foods. The mean (SD) energy content of ready-made spoonable foods was 282 (59) kJ per 100 g, almost identical to breast milk (283(16) kJ per 100 g). Similar spoonable family foods were more nutrient dense than commercial foods. Commercial finger foods were more energy dense, but had very high sugar content. The UK infant food market mainly supplies sweet, soft, spoonable foods targeted from age 4 months. The majority of products had energy content similar to breast milk and would not serve the intended purpose of enhancing the nutrient density and diversity of taste and texture in infants' diets.
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This review of the developmental readiness of normal, full-term infants to progress from exclusive breastfeeding to the introduction of complementary foods is the result of the international debate regarding the best age to introduce complementary foods into the diet of the breastfed human infant. After a list of definitions, four papers focus on: "Immune System Development in Relation to the Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding" (Armond S. Goldman); "Gastrointestinal Development in Relation to the Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding" (W. Allan Walker); "Infant Oral Motor Development in Relation to the Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding" (Audrey J. Naylor, Sarah Danner, and Sandra Lang); and "Maternal Reproductive and Lactational Physiology in Relation to the Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding" (Alan S. McNeilly). (SM)
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Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) is an alternative method for introducing complementary foods to infants in which the infant feeds themselves hand-held foods instead of being spoon-fed by an adult. The BLW infant also shares family food and mealtimes and is offered milk (ideally breast milk) on demand until they self-wean. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many parents are choosing this method instead of conventional spoon-feeding of purées. Observational studies suggest that BLW may encourage improved eating patterns and lead to a healthier body weight, although it is not yet clear whether these associations are causal. This review evaluates the literature with respect to the prerequisites for BLW, which we have defined as beginning complementary foods at six months (for safety reasons), and exclusive breastfeeding to six months (to align with WHO infant feeding guidelines); the gross and oral motor skills required for successful and safe self-feeding of whole foods from six months; and the practicalities of family meals and continued breastfeeding on demand. Baby-Led Weaning will not suit all infants and families, but it is probably achievable for most. However, ultimately, the feasibility of BLW as an approach to infant feeding can only be determined in a randomized controlled trial. Given the popularity of BLW amongst parents, such a study is urgently needed.
Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an approach to introducing solid foods that relies on the presence of self-feeding skills and is increasing in popularity in the UK and New Zealand. This study aimed to investigate the reported experiences and feelings of mothers using a BLW approach in order to better understand the experiences of the mother and infant, the benefits and challenges of the approach, and the beliefs that underpin these experiences. Fifteen UK mothers were interviewed over the course of a series of five emails using a semi-structured approach. The email transcripts were anonymised and analysed using thematic analysis. There were four main themes identified from the analysis: (1) trusting the child; (2) parental control and responsibility; (3) precious milk; and (4) renegotiating BLW. The themes identified reflect a range of ideals and pressures that this group of mothers tried to negotiate in order to provide their infants with a positive and healthy introduction to solid foods. One of the key issues of potential concern is the timing at which some of the children ingested complementary foods. Although complementary foods were made available to the infants at 6 months of age, in many cases they were not ingested until much later. These findings have potentially important implications for mother's decision-making, health professional policy and practice, and future research.