Baby -Led/ Self feeding VS Spoon Fed? How about the best of both!
Since the trend explosion of baby-led weaning, which works very well for a lot babies, spoon feeding got given a back seat.
My method balances the two and brings in self feeding to compliment spoon feeding progressively and when needed. With weaning and feeding, if you spoon feed for months with no self feeding then you may be sat spoon feeding your child until they are three!
Allow your baby to only self feed and they may never take food off a spoon, feed themselves inadequately which of course could then affect settling and sleep.
A balance of the two is best for teaching self feeding and ensuring your baby is fed well enough to sleep.
Before I go any further… whatever your weaning method, there is no wrong or right way but what ever works best for your baby.
My weaning method and routine is aimed at combatting sleep regression and helping babies settle and sleep well day and night.
In the first weeks to month of weaning and establishing three meals as part of your routine, a baby is usually quite happy to be spoon fed the entire meal, some babies try and grab the spoon which is coming towards their face of course and then smear food everywhere which is part of the fun and games of weaning!
The novelty of three meals may then start to wear off and you might need distraction half way through or towards the end of a meal?
In comes the self feeding as part of the distraction and along side spoon feeding.
Giving your baby their own spoon with a little bit of food on it, or blobs of mushed soft food to pick up or soft finger food can all help extend the interest of eating and teach self feeding all the while exploring taste and texture.
Keeping all distractions surrounding meals means the focus stays on food and eating. Toys and screens distract away from meals which may work temporarily but will then create behaviour issues with feeding.
Introduce a sippy cup of water before needing water for hydration. It can take weeks to months to learn how to drink from a cup. Having a few sips of water at meal times with no pressure to drink, will start the process (to start with it’s likely the water will pour back out of your baby’s mouth!) But it’s something else meal related to play around with.