Table 1

Practical recommendations from mothers for successful Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)

Practical recommendationSupporting quote
Place a large cloth under the infant's highchair to collect spilled food—the cloth could be shaken outside and washed in the machine.Prepare for mess with bibs, strip the child, messy mats, have a washcloth handy, a hungry dog to eat scraps helps too and then relax and let them go for it.
Use full cover (sweatshirt) bibs.
In the warmer (summer) months the family could try eating outside.
Put the infant in their highchair with their nappy on. Then follow with a bath to wash off any food mess.
Put infant in the highchair in the kitchen so they can begin their meal while the family meal is being prepared and interact with them while they are eating.Watch your baby but don't interfere, I wouldn't like someone picking food off my plate and putting it into my mouth because they thought I was eating too slowly. Not to worry too much about quantities—remembering that milk is still on offer.
Seek advice from parenting groups and others doing BLW. Collect and share food and recipe ideas.Sometimes you get stuck for ideas of what to offer and talking to others doing BLW can get the creativity going again ....It's amazing how many ways there are to cook and present food.
Mothers, whether following BLW or not, should complete a first aid course. This should teach the difference between gagging and choking, and can improve confidence for dealing with choking (if it occurs).Go to a first aid course, preferably one targeted at parents. This will give you confidence to deal with choking if it happens.
Have realistic expectations about mess and your infant's eating progress. Mothers need to appreciate that starting solids is a transition period which may last many months.Don't think that things will be heaps easier in the short-term than the conventional way. A baby with finger food will still need a lot of support, because they'll drop things a lot and need you to pick them up.
Try and enjoy the BLW experience by allowing the baby to explore food and have fun with eating.Don't stress about the quantities they eat, the mess they make or the seemingly frequent gagging episodes.