Baby-led weaning is letting your infant be in charge. It means no purées or spoon-feeding. The baby feeds himself or herself right from the start of weaning – at about 6 months of age. The baby chooses what, how much, and how quickly to eat. He or she is given the freedom to explore new tastes and textures, touch and “play” with food, eats as his or her own pace, and stops when he or she has had enough. There is no pressure to eat. The baby leads the whole process, using his or her instincts and abilities, which encourage both confidence and independence.
Babies who are allowed to feed themselves learn about the look, smell, taste, and texture of different foods and how different flavors work together, rather than having everything puréed together. They also learn how to handle food and manage different textures, sizes, and shapes, which supports the child’s motor development, such as hand-eye coordination and chewing. Infants who feed themselves also form a natural enjoyment of food, which may reduce the risk of pickiness later on.