Purees vs. Baby Led Weaning

baby food, baby led weaning, puree, purees, solid food

Purees vs. Baby Led Weaning

There are so many different milestones that babies reach during their first few formative months of life. One of the biggest changes that little ones go through is the transition from liquids to solid foods.

This process can sometimes involve a lot of back and forth and guesswork as parents try to figure out what foods their babies like and teach them how to start eating real food. This process should start around 6 months. While some cereal and baby food companies will encourage this process around four months, experts disagree.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics, six months old is the appropriate time for babies to be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula.  

Some parents may notice that around four months, their baby starts making mouth movements that resemble chewing. However, this doesn’t mean that babies are ready to chew. It means that babies are just practicing using their mouth muscles instead.

Introducing solid foods doesn’t just start overnight, it is a process, and one that many parents have questions about. One of the biggest questions that parents have regarding this milestone has to do with baby-led weaning. This has become very popular over the last few decades and unfortunately, there is a great deal of information out there that encourages parents to try this approach.

While this may be a popular bandwagon to jump on it is not a safe one.

Baby-led weaning is when you give a baby a piece of table food and see how they do with it. Most experts equate this with teaching your baby to walk, by throwing them into traffic. Baby-led weaning is often justified by saying it “provides incentive” for little ones to start learning how to chew and eat food on their own.

We cannot stress enough how problematic this approach is. 

 Instead, we recommend starting with purees. This helps babies slowly get accustomed to the puree texture without choking so that they can quickly move on to mushy traditional foods. The idea is simple. Once your baby reaches that 6-month milestone, you can start feeding them pureed foods for four to six weeks. During this time, your baby will start learning about using their mouth muscles and how to chew on their own.

After this six-week period, parents can start moving on to the fun, “mushy” table foods like scrambled eggs, that doesn’t have the same type of choking hazard as other hard foods. This is a great way to help your baby learn how to chew and eat with the family in a safe and natural manner.

Here at Continuum Pediatrics, we highly recommend taking the pureed approach and to avoid baby-led weaning. If you have questions about this process, contact us directly at 817-617-8600 to schedule an appointment today.