New Beikost Method: How dangerous is baby-led weaning?
What is this about?
About how babies get used to eating "normal" food and not just mother's or bottled milk. There is a new trend in this so-called complementary diet: "baby-led weaning" is the name of the method, which translates to "baby-controlled weaning". It was developed in the UK by health consultant Gill Rapley.
What's new about this method?
So far, parents are usually advised to start porridge feeding after about half a year. This should then gradually replace the milk meals.
The baby-led weaning assumes that the baby should control itself when it has enough of breastfeeding and wants to eat normal foods. Instead of porridge you should rather offer finger food, so for example cooked carrots, broccoli, potatoes, noodle or fresh fruit. The baby should take the food itself, so not be fed.
Gill Rapley believes that kids would rather eat what the rest of the family eat and learn to eat healthier.
Sounds good. Where does the criticism of baby-led-weaning come from?
Among others, the German professional association of pediatricians. The doctors warn that children may not be adequately nourished by this method.
For a good supply of a balanced food supply is important, it says in an official statement of the Association. "This can go a long way in the case of infants who 'live from hand to mouth' - for example, it may be that the child does not take in enough iron, because the baby's iron stores are practical for a short time after weaning When the child sucks on only one piece of meat, it hardly gets any iron. "
The doctors recommend instead to continue to follow the proven nutritional plan. Means feeding porridge, then gradually introducing other foods.
But if the baby prefers broccoli instead of parsnip?
Yes, that is exactly the argument of the proponents. Nora Imlau, author and expert for baby development, criticizes the one-sided presentation of paediatricians. "Babies have an innate sense of when they need solid foods and what foods are good for them in what amount," she writes on her Facebook page. But of course parents would also have to observe the babies, their behavior and their weight in baby-led weaning and compensate for a possible deficiency.
What are unsure parents supposed to hear about?
Our recommendation: on their common sense! Surely it is not wise to stubbornly whip through the dogmatic Ur-Rapley method if the baby does not feel like having finger food and just throws food on the floor. And if, after 14 months of breastfeeding, you feel that it is good now, then you are resting.
Can the methods be combined?
Sure, why not? Many parents will find that a hybrid is even very practical. So finger food offer plus mashed spaghetti Bolognese. In the end, it's all about the variety of food? and its quality: "The quality of small children's nutrition depends on the quality of the food they receive, it is possible to unbalanced babies with porridge, and of course it is also possible to nourish babies with finger food unhealthy", explains Nora Imlau. "Not the type of Beikostststarts is therefore responsible for possible suboptimal food habits, but the food selection."
And what about iron deficiency?
One should keep an eye on it. Because iron is important for growth. It is not only in meat, but also in cereals such as oats or millet. Of course, the baby can do both in a porridge form. If you are unsure, talk to your pediatrician.
By the way: As long as you still breastfeed parallel to the complementary foods (which is usually the case with baby-led weaning), you do not have to worry too much about that. Because of the mother's milk, the child gets enough nutrients. And fun with broccoli can have it anyway.