Baby-led weaning is a method of introducing solid foods to babies in which the baby is allowed to feed themselves from the beginning. This approach to weaning is becoming increasingly popular because it allows babies to explore different textures and tastes, encourages independence, and promotes healthy eating habits.
However, one common issue with baby-led weaning is the amount of food waste that can occur during meals. Here are some tips on how to reduce food waste when practising baby-led weaning:
Start with small portions
Babies require different amounts of food throughout their weaning journey. When introducing new foods to your baby, start with small quantities to avoid overfeeding and reduce the amount of food that goes to waste. You can always offer more food if your baby is still hungry. Starting with small portions and working up to more complete meals as your baby develops is the best way to support your growing baby.
Offer a variety of foods
When offering different types of food, try to include a variety of textures, flavours, and colours to keep your baby interested and engaged. This will also prevent boredom with the same foods, reducing the likelihood of leftover food.
Enjoy your family meal together
With baby-led weaning, you can offer your baby most foods that you would eat yourself. This will save time on making separate meals, reduce the number of different foods to buy, and any leftovers can be added to your own plate. If you are spoon-feeding, you can puree or mash the same meal to feed your baby; just be aware of the salt and sugar content.
Use leftovers creatively
Instead of throwing away leftovers, use them creatively in other meals. For example, leftover roasted vegetables can be blended into a puree, added to soups, or mixed with pasta for a quick and nutritious meal.
Freeze extra portions
If you find yourself with extra portions of food, freeze them in small containers or ice cube trays to use at a later time. This not only reduces waste but also saves time when preparing meals.
If you have a garden or have access to a compost bin, you could consider composting your food waste to reduce the amount of food ending up in landfill.
Baby-led weaning is a gradual process; not all babies will take to it immediately. It may take several attempts and a variety of foods before a baby finds something they enjoy. Parents and caregivers should be patient and persistent in their efforts and avoid throwing away uneaten food. Instead, leftover food can be used for meal planning and incorporated into future meals.
By following these tips, you can help wean your baby onto solid foods in a way that is environmentally friendly and mindful of food waste.