Title of Abstract

Baby-Led Weaning: Pros and Cons

Submitting Student(s)

Cassidy Butler

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Hope Lima, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Human Nutrition

Abstract

Weaning occurs when infants gradually reduce their consumption of breastmilk or infant formula and increase their consumption of solid foods. There are two main methods of introducing complementary foods into infants’ diets. These methods include baby-led weaning and the traditional method of spoon-feeding. Baby-led weaning focuses on allowing the infant to feed themselves age-appropriate, soft, and safe finger foods. Traditional weaning is parent-controlled spoon feedings of puréed foods. The quantity of food is determined by the infant in baby-led weaning, while in traditional weaning the quantity is determined by the parents. How an infant is weaned also impacts their gross motor development, future eating behaviors, and satiety responses. Infants who are baby-led weaned tend to develop their gross motor skills quicker than infants who are traditionally weaned. Additionally, infants who were baby-led weaned had better appetite control and showed greater satiety responses as toddlers compared to those who were traditionally weaned. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not support one method of weaning over the other. With the support of current literature, this thesis weighs the pros and cons of baby-led weaning, arguing that this method of weaning provides infants with long-term nutritional and developmental benefits that traditional weaning does not provide. Additionally, this thesis will provide recommendations on how to begin and maintain a safe baby-led weaning approach.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Baby-Led Weaning: Pros and Cons

Weaning occurs when infants gradually reduce their consumption of breastmilk or infant formula and increase their consumption of solid foods. There are two main methods of introducing complementary foods into infants’ diets. These methods include baby-led weaning and the traditional method of spoon-feeding. Baby-led weaning focuses on allowing the infant to feed themselves age-appropriate, soft, and safe finger foods. Traditional weaning is parent-controlled spoon feedings of puréed foods. The quantity of food is determined by the infant in baby-led weaning, while in traditional weaning the quantity is determined by the parents. How an infant is weaned also impacts their gross motor development, future eating behaviors, and satiety responses. Infants who are baby-led weaned tend to develop their gross motor skills quicker than infants who are traditionally weaned. Additionally, infants who were baby-led weaned had better appetite control and showed greater satiety responses as toddlers compared to those who were traditionally weaned. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not support one method of weaning over the other. With the support of current literature, this thesis weighs the pros and cons of baby-led weaning, arguing that this method of weaning provides infants with long-term nutritional and developmental benefits that traditional weaning does not provide. Additionally, this thesis will provide recommendations on how to begin and maintain a safe baby-led weaning approach.