The Advantages of Traditional Weaning
7 min read
There are many ways to enjoy the weaning journey, and everyone’s experience is unique.
If your baby is approaching the weaning age, you should explore the various methods of weaning available and their benefits. Stealing ideas from other parents is a great way to create your own weaning style that works for your little one.
In this guide, we’re taking a close look at the advantages of a traditional weaning method. We’re also looking at what traditional weaning involves and whether it’s right for you and your little one.
What is ‘Traditional Weaning’?
Weaning is unique to every baby and parent. As a result, there are innumerable variations of what weaning is, and ‘traditional’ can have slightly different meanings for everyone.
Usually, traditional weaning refers to the slow introduction of food for your little one, starting with spoon-fed purees and working through various textures and meals as they progress.
What is Spoon-Led Weaning?
Sometimes traditional weaning methods can be referred to as spoon-led weaning. This term has become popular along with the rise of baby-led weaning, but traditional and spoon-led are the same thing in most circumstances.
Spoon-led, like traditional, is simply weaning with a focus on spoon feeding. This method is in contrast to baby-led weaning, which prefers finger foods and self feeding.
However, as mentioned, there are countless variations of weaning out there! Finding what methods and techniques work best for you and your baby to create your weaning adventure is the main thing.
No matter what weaning method you choose, traditional weaning comes with advantages that are worth considering - check out our list below.
Controlling Your Baby’s Diet
By far, the most significant advantage of traditional weaning methods is the control it gives you as a parent. By doing predominantly spoon-feeding, you’ll know exactly what your baby is getting and how much.
The first months of the weaning journey should be a fun and exciting experience for both you and your baby. However, you also need to consider your little one’s nutritional needs as they continue to grow.
Once your baby reaches six months, they will start to need certain nutrients from food alongside their usual milk feeds. Some of the biggest to consider include:
- Iron - Usually found in red meats and dark green, leafy vegetables.
- Zinc - Often found in nuts, pulses and beans, all of which can be pureed or ground for your little one.
- Omega-3 - Commonly found in oily fish such as sardine or salmon.
A traditional weaning method will help you ensure that your little one is getting what they need from their weaning foods.
Traditional weaning also allows you to monitor how much food they eat, making it easier to decide when they should progress through different foods or textures as part of the weaning journey.
Explore More Foods
The weaning journey is not just about ensuring your little one gets the goodness they need from food - although this is important, of course! It’s also about exploring the wide variety of tastes out there and setting them on a positive path for their lifetime relationship with food.
As babies, we have a natural tendency to like and seek out sweeter foods. However, as we all know, most nutritious foods have different tastes, and we need to learn to understand these tastes before we can really enjoy them.
A traditional weaning method can help introduce your baby to more complex or bitter tastes that they might otherwise reject. With a bit of perseverance and plenty of encouragement, you can teach your little one to appreciate veggies from an early age, making them more receptive of healthy food as they grow!
Another important point to consider is potential allergies. Foods such as peanuts that might cause an allergic reaction should be introduced slowly and separate from other foods so that you can watch out for any potential reactions.
A traditional weaning method is a good way to introduce your little one to potential allergen foods safely.
Messy tables, floors, walls and babies are something that every parent has to get used to when it comes to weaning. For babies, this is just their way of exploring these new foods!
Weaning should be a fun experience for your little one, so embrace the chaos where you can. However, if you would like to reduce the mess you have to clean up, traditional weaning tends to be the cleanest method.
Because you’re feeding your baby directly, there’s less chance of them throwing their food everywhere. You should still allow them to explore however they want, even if it creates a bit of mess. However, compared to methods like baby-led weaning, a spoon-led approach can help cut down on the cleaning.
How to Do Traditional Weaning
If you are interested in the traditional weaning method for your baby, here are some things you can consider trying.
- Start with purees - traditional weaning will begin with spoon-feeding smooth foods. You can either buy baby food purees or make them yourself at home.
- Slowly introduce new tastes and textures - when you see your little one getting used to certain experiences, you can begin to expand their palette.
- Allow self-feeding later in the journey - traditional weaning also benefits from allowing your little one to feed themselves when they’re ready.
Parents often find that they prefer to use particular parts of the traditional method and combine them with other approaches. Feel free to pick-and-choose to find the right style for your little one.
Other Types of Weaning
As mentioned initially, there are almost countless types of weaning out there, with many of them sharing similar traits. However, they generally fall under one of two broad methods:
- Traditional Weaning - mainly led by the parent using spoon-feeding.
- Baby-Led Weaning - primarily led by the baby using finger foods and self-feeding.
There are other terms for weaning styles out there, but these largely mean the same thing. You can see some examples below:
- Parent-Led Weaning - A version of traditional weaning.
- Responsive Feeding - A version of baby-led weaning.
Combining Traditional and Baby-Led Weaning
Often, many parents find that the best approach is a combination of traditional and baby-led methods. As both provide unique advantages, using both during your baby’s weaning journey will often give them a more rounded experience with food.
We hope that this guide will give you a better idea of what weaning method will work best for your baby. Our advice would be to understand the various options and then decide what you believe will work best for your little one.
If you want to discover more weaning advice, be sure to check out our blog, which is full of helpful guides and answered questions!