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Can You Start Baby Led Weaning at 4 Months?

 
By Alice Marini. Updated: January 30, 2017
Can You Start Baby Led Weaning at 4 Months?

Usually, you cannot start baby led weaning at 4 months, you should wait until 6 months. However, if the baby has particularly good coordination, can sit, and shows interest in food, you could start as early as 4 months, with very digestible food.

Baby led weaning does not have many rules, so many parents wonder if they can start baby led weaning at 4 months. Baby led weaning is a new method of introducing babies to solid food by letting them take control of when and what they want to eat, so it might seem reasonable to let a 4 months old baby eat, if they want to. However, as we will explain, there are a few issues to bear in mind.

Baby led weaning foods are served in chunks, not in purée. The benefits of baby led weaning are being increasingly recognized by health practitioners. This method is all about having a good time. Parents have endless questions about what are good baby led weaning foods, baby led weaning and choking, and the right age to start baby led weaning. In this tutorial, onehowto.com focuses on if you can start baby led weaning at 4 months.

You may also be interested in: How Often You Should Change A Baby Bottle
Steps to follow:
1

Before learning if you can how start baby led weaning at 4 months, and listing baby led weaning foods, let's look at the benefits of baby led weaning. The benefits of baby led weaning include:

  • the baby getting to know real food from day 1
  • increased self-esteem in their ability to do things on their own
  • trusting their parents more by being confident they won't force food they don't like on them
  • improving hand-eye coordination
  • less preparation time and cheaper (the all family eats the same food)
  • one of the main benefits of baby led weaning is that the baby regulates their own appetite, which makes them less incline to obesity
2

Now. let's look into whether to start baby led weaning at 4 month.

  • First, it is usually not recommendable to start baby led weaning before 6 months of age, as the baby is not physically ready to both digest anything that is not milk, to sit straight, or to grab food with their hands.
  • You could start a bit earlier if you see that your baby is
  1. watching you eat with interest
  2. grabbing food and objects easily
  3. grabbing water glasses
  4. putting food in their mouth

Those are clear signs that your baby is ready for baby led weaning. However, if your LO is only 4 months, it is often wise to wait a bit longer so that their stomach is ready. What you can do is start baby led weaning at 4 months by only letting your baby chew cold raw carrots. Cold raw carrots will be impossible for them to actually chew or break, and they will still make them feel part of the family meal. Moreover, they are an amazing teething relief. Moreover, you could give your 4 months old a cup of water to entertain them. Never ever leave them alone: watch them all the time to avoid choking.

Other things to bear in mind to start baby led weaning at 4 months or later:

  • Don't necessarily decrease the amount of breast or bottle milk the baby is taking, be led by your baby!
  • When the baby is 6 months, start baby led weaning by making your baby sit with you at the dinner table and letting them grab the baby led weaning foods they are interested in.
  • Two very important facts to bear in mind when you start baby led weaning are: don't start baby led weaning when the baby is too tired or cranky and, most importantly, make the baby always sit vertically. If they are lying down, it could be very dangerous.
3

Baby led weaning foods: until 9 months of age, babies cannot use their fingers to grab food, so the best way to start baby led weaning is by offering them foods the baby can grab with their hand and then chew the part that comes out. Our suggestion is to start baby led weaning with a broccoli flower: the stem will serve as a handle and the flower will be chewed. Other good baby led weaning foods are pieces of boiled carrots, asparagus, banana, and stripes of chicken. One of the truly great baby led weaning foods is cold cucumber: apart from being healthy, it also helps relive the teething pain.

Herbs and spices are not banned for babies anymore: check our article on why you should feed herbs and spices to your baby.

Can You Start Baby Led Weaning at 4 Months? - Step 3
4

Baby led weaning foods to avoid. Certain nuts can be very hard for babies to chew, especially if you want to start baby led weaning at 4 months. If you want your baby to get the benefits of nuts without risks, you could make home made natural juices and add some blended nuts. Also, remember to remove the bone from fruit, and halve cherry tomatoes and grapes to minimize the risk of choking. Foods that were previously considered taboo, such as shellfish, are now been given the green light.

5

Baby led weaning and choking: There is no link between baby led weaning and choking hazards. Letting them chew and swallow from a very early age actually makes them more reactive to choking. In fact, their instinct makes babies spit foods they are not able to chew. Such instinct gradually disappears during the first year of their lives. Practising it by following the baby led weaning method makes them react to the danger of choking more effectively.

If you start baby led weaning at 4 months, however, you should be extra watchful.

6

Given the many benefits of baby led weaning, it is certainly worthwhile trying it. Plus it is fun for the whole family, although a bit messy!

As we explained, it is better not to start baby led weaning at 4 months, but if your baby seems ready, just use the tricks we explained about earlier and you will enjoy family meals together from a young age. Baby led weaning is not only about actually eating, but also about sharing a table all together.

If you liked our article on "can you start baby led weaning at 4 months", and want to raise your kids in a natural and eco friendly way, you might be interested in learning about alternatives to disposable baby diapers.

Can You Start Baby Led Weaning at 4 Months? - Step 6

If you want to read similar articles to Can You Start Baby Led Weaning at 4 Months?, we recommend you visit our Being a Mom & Dad category.

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