Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Random House UK (December 16, 2008)
Baby-Led Weaning in a nutshell is about letting the baby decide what to eat, and how much to eat. This book is a practical guide to getting started, what to expect, and how to deal with issues.
Gill Rapley asserts that babies should be formula/breastfed exclusively till 6 months of age (in accordance with World Health Organisations recommendations). When a baby is 6 months old they are generally able to sit, hold their head up, and grab. They therefor have the basic skills required to (messily) self feed. Even if you start your baby on puree foods many professionals recommended giving your six month old baby finger food.
Rapley states that babies should be given a choice of food and be able to decide for themselves what they want to eat. This is done simply by placing the food in front of the baby and letting them pick it up themselves (no assisting!).
The best starter foods are Finger foods. However you should also include mashed foods and even liquid food (such as soups). This is so your baby is exposed to different textures and flavours from an early age. This way of eating also teaches them hand/eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, chewing skills, and appetite control.
At 6 months a babies digestive and immune system has developed enough to handle any foods so unless there is a history of allergies in the family, you are not limited in the food you can start your baby on.
In the edition I had, no real studies had been performed looking into this. Rapley had performed a basic study while studying her masters in University which indicated her theory was sound. Rapley also points to other studies that also indicate self feeding is a viable option. I saw on Amazon.com there is a new edition due for release perhaps further study has been completed by Rapley. I certainly hope so, as to me, the method makes a lot of sense.
This is an interesting read. A chunk of the book is the typical baby book mumbo jumbo of why this method is the best method under the face of the sun. But there is a lot of interesting points and testimonials that are worth the read.