Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
Purees take time to steam, cook, freeze and defrost. Why steam and puree on top of what you're making for the rest of the family for dinner? The idea of BLW is that baby shares in nutritious foods that you're already serving at the family table, at family meal times. And let's face it, pleading with baby to take another bite at every meal time does take a toll on your patience. BLW lets you focus on choosing and preparing the food, and lets baby focus on the feeding.
Letting baby lead respects their abilities
Giving your little one the autonomy to decide when they are hungry, how much to eat, and when they are full is simply respecting their agency. Despite their short time on this planet, they are whole human beings with enough knowledge to guide us on their needs. Cajoling baby into 'one more bite' is not only tiring for mum and dad, but is also telling baby that they don't know their own hunger.
Sensory development is fun!
All of the tastes, textures, smells and sights of food are there for your baby to explore with their little hands, mouth, tongue and teeth (or gums!). You'll also notice baby explore their food with elbows, faces and hair as well :) Not only is this beneficial for their sensory development but it also helps familiarise them with a variety of foods in all their forms. Allowing baby to lead the process lets fun into meal times.
Developing brave & healthy little taste buds
Introducing a wide variety of flavours and textures can set your little one up for life long health. Even though most, if not all, babies and toddlers will enter a 'fussy' phase (it's evolutionarily unavoidable!), most will return to the flavours that they were weaned upon. Given that most "processed baby and toddler foods lining supermarket shelves...have an excessive number of calories from simple sugars, and 12 percent of them have too much sodium", wouldn't you rather introduce them to whole, nutritious foods? And go spicy, go for the garlic, go for the broccoli - the name of the game is true variety!
Fighting the childhood obesity epidemic
Childhood obesity is serious stuff. Did you know that more than 20% of two to eleven year olds are considered obese? In the US, 300,000 childhood obesity deaths are recorded every year. Studies have shown that baby-led weaning leads to leaner kids. Starting children off with healthy food preferences gives them a lifetime benefit. Allowing little ones to dictate their own feeding - where they decide when they are hungry and when they are full - allows them to develop their own sense of appetite control.
Family meal time
Ultimately, as your wee one becomes accustomed to solids, they'll readily join in with family meal time. Because the family will be sharing the same food (for the most part), it means your little one will see meal time as an opportunity for social bonding, another healthy habit to build. They will also take cues from the rest of the family: table manners, conversation, eating habits and routines. So model your best :)