Abstract Ref Number = APCP169
Baby-led weaning: Controversy
Indonesian Pediatric Society
Department of Pediatric, Medical Faculty, University of Sumatera Utara
Background.Nutrition is important during the 1000 first days of life, which are crucial periods for the formation of the brain, for the development of cognitive, motor, and socio-emotional skills.Infants should be exclusively breastfed until 6 months of agethen should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods at 6 months while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age. Baby-led weaning is becoming popular among parents over the last decades, while not all health professional know about it.Baby-led weaning is an alternative method for introducing complementary foods to infants in which the infant feed themselves hand-held foods instead of being spoon-fed by an adult.The food is offered as “graspable” pieces that they can pick up and the infant learns to feed themselves.The infant is in control of exactly what and how much they eat, in the same way as breastfeeding is “on demand” and encourages a more responsive eating style. Baby-led weaning begins around 6 months when the infant is developmentally able to self-feed, able to sit independently, can hold or grasp food and bring it to their mouth, have developed to move food around in the mouth and take food to the back of their mouth for swallowing, and must have interest in eating to consume enough energy.
Aim.This review was to determine the current evidence about baby-led weaningand its potential risks.
Methods.A systematic search was conducted inPubmed with key questions on baby-led weaning.
Results.Nine articles that are relevant and eligible for analysis were included. Some controversies ofbaby-led weaning were found; risk of inadequate energy intake, risk of iron deficiency, and risk of choking. More infants were underweight in baby-led weaning group. Mean intake of iron was lower in baby-led weaning group. Choking rates in baby-led weaning infants was also higher.
Discussion. If infants do not have interest in eating, with poor self-feeding skills, and when inappropriate consistency foods are offered, they will not consume enough energy to meet their needs for growth and may lead togrowth faltering. Infants following Baby led weaning have risk of iron deficiency because they are often like to start eating soft cooked vegetable and soft fruits, which are low-iron foods.Risk of choking is always a concern for infants following Baby led weaning because solid foods are offered to them. Infants with delayed development, who have disabilities, tend to start feeding themselves later and progress more slowly than other infants, and sick infants may not appropriate for Baby led weaning.
Conclusion.There are still some controversies of baby-led weaning that need further research. More advice from health professional is needed for parents willing to have baby-led weaning for their infants.