The Tasting Plate: Parent-Led Vs Baby-Led Weaning
Read first: introducing the tasting plate.
Read second: why we love the tasting plate
Finger foods can be incorporated into your baby’s food routine as early as you wish – usually around 7 months of age. The tasting plate will progress with your baby until you have reached the stage where he is eating the same meals that you are.
One way of looking at it:
Parent-Led Weaning / Baby-Led Weaning >> Tasting plate of age appropriate finger foods >> Tasting plate of toddler appropriate food >> Tasting plate of deconstructed family meal >> Family meal plate
If you choose a traditional approach to feeding your baby, starting with puree or finely mashed food you can also incorporate a tasting plate as soon as you think your baby is ready. Introducing finger foods and texture early is important to help challenge and develop different oral muscles, which are important for speech sound development. Start with a spoon-fed bowl of nutritious food, and once your baby has had enough you can offer a tasting plate of age appropriate foods such as, soft steamed vegetables. As your baby progresses you can include all sorts of different foods like risotto balls, rissoles, shreddies and other ‘toddlerfied’ foods you are making for them to pick and choose from.
Baby-led weaning is a way of introducing solid foods that allows babies to feed themselves without the need for spoons or pureed food of any kind. Baby-led weaning involves the baby in all aspects of eating with the family, as they are invited to join in whenever they are ready. If your baby is Baby-Led Weaning you can provide a Tasting Plate of deconstructed healthy family meals. It is advised to choose foods that can be cut into larger sticks or strips. Offering a wide variety of food is key, so your baby can gain all the important nutrients they need. More on baby-led weaning.
We don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to wean. You can make your own decision based on your child’s individual needs and after speaking with your healthcare professionals. The most important thing is for you and your baby to enjoy mealtimes together and to offer a wide variety of food from an early age.
Finger food safety
As with all finger foods, there are some risks with choking. Those risks can be avoided by taking simple precautions:
- Make sure your baby is sitting upright to eat
- Don’t give your baby whole nuts or hard inappropriate foods
- Cut small fruits in half and remove any pips
- Don’t let anyone except your baby put food into his mouth
- Never leave your baby alone with food
- Partake in a child’s first aid course so you feel more confident in the unlikely event choking does occur.
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