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In recent years, a new way of introducing complementary feeding in babies has been incorporated, through the method called Baby Led Weaning or complementary feeding on demand. With this system, the purees and porridges at the beginning of the feeding have been eliminated and have been replaced by pieces, being the baby himself who takes them in his hands and takes them to his mouth. Some parents doubt whether to do Baby Led Weaning with children because they have fears and doubts. We reveal them all!
This method, which is gaining more and more followers, offers multiple advantages for the integral development of the child:
- The boy accepts a wide variety of foods from an early age.
- The baby develops their motor skills with daily practice and is more easily integrated into an important family gathering moment, the meal.
- In addition, it is considered that This method favors what the World Health Organization (WHO) has called perceptual feeding, as prevention of obesity.
- The child eats slowly, without distractions, recognizing and experiencing various flavors and textures.
- The child is the one who decides how much food to eat, being in the responsibility of the parents to offer a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet.
Many parents are afraid of starting in this method, mainly due to one of the dangers they may face at mealtime, especially due to the fact that, at first, the child does not control the amount of food that he introduces into his mouth and it can cause some type of choking or drowning.
In reality, from the moment the child begins to put various things in his mouth, out of curiosity, we are at risk of choking. Studies indicate that most pediatric emergencies for airway obstruction occur from objects rather than food.
Other studies report a higher incidence of choking due to lumps in purees or porridges or due to less development of chewing, compared to those that follow the BLW method. In any case, eIt is a method that, like baby food, deserves the permanent monitoring of the child during the time it is feeding.
- A basic recommendation is that Before starting complementary feeding with this method, the parents go to the pediatrician to assess the level of development of the baby. It is not enough that he is six months old to start giving him some pieces of food, he must be able to remain seated, with his head up, have lost the extrusion reflex and other conditions that the specialist will evaluate. This is a very important aspect, which parents should not ignore, to reduce the risks when feeding.
- But there is another important risk to take into consideration and that many parents are unaware of, the risk of decreased iron intake and a nutritional deficit leading to anemia in the baby. This risk is run when parents start complementary feeding on their own, without the proper advice of a specialist, since the tendency is to offer only some fruits and vegetables, which are low in iron (for fear of choking) , having the child a little varied and balanced diet.
Meats and grains are an important source of iron, so necessary for the baby in the first year. The pediatrician will indicate the guidelines for the process of introduction of each food and its forms of presentation, so as to guarantee that the child receives the vitamins and minerals that his body requires.
- A third risk that I want to mention is related to family behavior and not to the method itself. It is an excessive intake of salt. Due to the physiological conditions of the body in formation, salt should not be introduced into the diet of children under one year of age. If proper guidance is not received, it is very likely that the child's plate ends up being a small portion of the food that was prepared for the family group, receiving amounts of sodium that they are not able to process correctly, also increasing the risks of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in adulthood.
We can conclude then, that the Baby Led Weaning must be applied responsibly. It is not about reproducing what the friend or neighbor does because it works for her with her baby, it should be applied under the guidance of a professional to avoid unnecessary situations that put the children's health at risk.
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