Baby-led weaning and puree / spoon-feeding
When it comes to weaning, you’ll hear two methods mentioned a lot: baby-led weaning and puree (spoon-feeding) – but what’s the difference, and which one’s right for you?
Giving finger foods to baby to experiment with and eat at their own pace means they start self-feeding straight away, and learn how to stop when they’ve had enough. This can make mealtimes more social and less time-consuming, as baby can eat along with the rest of the family and enjoy the same meals with less extra prep.
Puree / spoon-feeding
This is parent-led feeding. Very soft (mashed or blended) foods are given on a spoon, progressing to more textured and lumpy varieties and, eventually, bite-size bits of solid food. Spoon-feeding tends to be less messy, and may appeal if you’re worried about baby gagging or struggling with solid nibbles. Purees can also be an easier way to introduce tricky flavours and foods that might be harder to chew.
Can you mix methods?
You may find you naturally steer towards a bit of both weaning styles. For instance, pre-loading soft food on a spoon but letting baby hold and eat it themselves; or spoon-feeding while baby holds and tastes finger foods. Remember these are guidelines, not rules – go with what works for baby and you!
Good to know:
- ‘Finger foods’ are grabbable strips of food about the length of your index finger.
- Try soft fruit and veggies (avocado, ripe banana), progressing to bits of toast, pitta bread, meat and fish.
- Avoid small hard foods – nuts, raw fruit and veg, and whole grapes – which are tricky to cope with and can cause choking.