Pertubuhan Kesihatan Sedunia (WHO) menyarankan penyusuan susu ibu secara eksklusif untuk enam bulan yang pertama dan meneruskannya sehingga selama yang mungkin. Oleh kerana perkembangan setiap anak adalah berbeza, pakar kesihatan perlu menasihatkan ibu waktu yang sesuai untuk memperkenalkan makanan pelengkap.
Bayi Makan Sendiri (BLW): Ketahui 4 Perkara Penting Ini Dahulu!
Being the mother of the world that you are, you’re likely to have heard about baby-led weaning (BLW). BLW is, simply, a method of weaning your little one onto solid foods that skips over the purees and spoon feeding, and goes directly to solid finger foods, beginning as early as 6 months. Some benefits of this method, according to mothers who have adopted it, include:
- Improved dexterity and early oral-motor skills
- Less time spent on pureeing and feeding
- Decreased fussiness and less picky eating
- More adventurous palate; more open to different foods
- More likely to eat together with family and pick up good eating habits
So, first thing you’ll need to understand if you’re thinking of BLW is that there are no ‘right’ ways to introducing children to solids. If it works for you, great; if it doesn’t, don’t for a second think that you’re any sort of failure. It’s mostly a preference; some children enjoy being fed, while others love playing with their food. Now that we’ve cleared that up, here are 5 things you may want to consider if you’re thinking about trying BLW:
Things Will Get Messy
It’s a given that your little one will play with their food a whole lot more if BLW is the way you’re going. Just be prepared for that beautiful mess; get an easy-to-clean high chair, and layer the floor around the chair with newspapers or rags so you don’t have to constantly wipe the floor. Most importantly, keep calm and take it as it comes; it’s easier if you can allow yourself to enjoy the process!
Similar, Not Same
While the point of BLW is that your little one can enjoy food that’s similar to what you’re eating, bear in mind that it CANNOT be entirely the same. For instance, a child’s kidneys aren’t developed enough to handle too much seasoning, so bear this in mind when preparing finger food. As a rule of thumb, try adding in seasoning only AFTER you’ve served your little one, and as far as possible, use fresh rather than processed ingredients.
Don’t Put a Gag on Gagging
Believe us when we say that with BLW, there will be a lot of gagging going on – and that’s OK. Children have a natural gag-reflex to help move food that is too far back in their mouths out again so they don’t choke. This will lead to gagging actions and funny expressions, but don’t panic; wait a few seconds and you’ll find your child is a natural at it – they are unlikely to actually choke on food!
There’s Such a Thing as Too Small
It makes sense that you’d want to cut your child’s food as tiny as possible so they won’t choke, but this is actually counter-productive; they won’t have the fine motor skills to pick up tiny bits of food, which could frustrate them more than anything. Food should be large enough for them to grasp and bring to their mouth, and soft enough so they don’t choke on them. Try a variety of tastes and textures, from small strips of boneless chicken and sliced juicy fruit to cubes of cream cheese and pieces of buttered toast – your little one will be feeding themselves in no time!