Self-weaning or traditional weaning?

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

I would start by saying that weaning has changed a lot over time and, to date, there are 2 main ways:

  • traditional weaning, in which the pediatrician's guidelines and food introduction schemes are followed according to age;

  • self-weaning, in which the child is left free to experiment and taste the foods that are eaten in the family. In this type of methodology, the child is offered food in pieces right from the start;

Traditional and rigid weaning is something that we tend not to recommend nowadays. It is not in fact necessary to respect schemes and tables and the introduction of food can be much freer. It has also been scientifically proven that slowing down or avoiding particular foods up to a certain age does not reduce the risk of allergy. To be clear, if the baby is allergic it will be at 6 months as at 12, this cannot be avoided and does not depend on weaning. Furthermore, if this type of approach is followed, the child will be denied a global experience of food, some foods will be avoided and this increases the likelihood that he will develop "difficult tastes" in the future and will be reluctant to try new things. After 6 months, the baby is ready to taste any type of food, the only precaution is to avoid honey until the age of one and limit the use of salt and sugar to a minimum. For this reason, self-weaning is a much more open method, it is not a "fashion" but the result of years of research and scientific studies. The child can taste what grown-ups eat (as long as it is healthy and nutritious food), will participate in family meals feeling included and will have a much more global experience. Initially, the child will eat little, tasting what is placed in front of him. But this should not be seen as a problem, up to 12 months in fact the main source of nutrition will still be milk. This is of course a personal choice. What I would pay attention to, however, is precisely not to delay the experiences too much, that is, not to delay too much with the start of weaning, not to blend the baby food for too long and not to feed the children for too long. In this aspect too they need to experiment and learn.


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