As an alternative to spoon-fed puree, some families choose to start solids with family finger foods.
With the baby-led approach (often know as baby led solids or baby led weaning), parents decide what food to offer and baby decides what to eat, how much and how quickly.
Self-feeding is a skill that’s emerging when babies are able to sit up, grasp objects and chew (around six months for most) and taps into their natural curiosity to explore. If you are considering approaching solids this way it’s important to:
- Wait until your baby is around 6 months of age before you start
- Sit baby upright and well supported in a high chair
- Offer soft, long, ‘chip-sized’ pieces of food baby can grasp
- Let baby choose and self-feed – never give or put food into your baby’s mouth
- Choose non-hungry times for meals with the family if possible
- Lay a plastic sheet under the high chair and be prepared for mess.
What foods can I offer?
Most healthy family foods are OK to share with your baby. Soft ripe or cooked hard fruits and vegetables, meat strips, cheese batons, omelette slices, bread or toast, rice, pasta and fish; anything that can be presented in pieces large enough for baby to grasp.
Won’t my baby choke?
Supervising your baby’s meal is important to prevent choking. By providing your baby with soft foods they can grasp, and never putting food in their mouth for them, your little one will be able to control the pace at which they progress with food and be less likely to choke. If your baby gags, stay calm and give them time to clear their food on their own. Gently scoop food from their mouth with a finger if they are unable to do this.
If you’d like to learn more, speak to your healthcare professional or maternal health nurse and check out the Rafferty’s Garden recipe section for inspirational ideas.
Have you tried baby led solids? SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES in the comments below.