Baby-led weaning, where babies are slowly introduced to solids by allowing them to pick up pieces of food and feed themselves rather than having an adult to feed them, is indeed becoming quite a trend, but there is no research to back this practice.
This is a big disadvantage to healthcare professionals as they cannot advice parents to allow baby-led weaning in the absence of solid research to support it.
During the study, University of Otago Human Nutrition PhD student, Sonya Cameron interviewed a group of 20 Dunedin mothers who had practiced baby led weaning from the time their infant turned 6 months. They also spoke with 31 health professionals who had expertise in infant care.
The mothers said that BLW had its own benefits and felt it was the best way to introduce solids to babies. The mothers also spoke about the advantages in introducing food in this manner as it promoted healthy eating behaviors.
In the BLW method, infants 6 months of age are encouraged to pick up pieces of fruit , vegetables and meat rather than having the adults spoon feed them. However, if mothers who have a fair idea about BLW or wish to seek more information about this method, they may be disappointed as healthcare professionals are unable to give them a 100% go ahead in the absence of research. On the contrary, healthcare professionals expressed their concern about the risks of choking and reduced nutrient intake with baby led weaning.
"Baby-led weaning appeared to be working for these women and babies, and they felt there were distinct advantages. Health professionals also felt the practice might have advantages, such as better eating patterns, but at the same time were hesitant to recommend it largely due to the fear that babies might choke on pieces of food," Sonya said.