Baby-led weaning on BBC Radio

April 2nd, 2012

Tune in to Nick Coffer’s BBC radio show this Tuesday to listen to Gill Rapley taking part in a one-hour discussion about baby-led weaning.

The discussion will be taking part betwen 2pm and 3pm on BBC Three Counties radio (95.5 / 103.8 / 104.5 FM).
Listen in for some lively debate!

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BREAKING NEWS – 7 February 2012

February 7th, 2012

Research shows baby-led weaning promotes healthy food preferences.

An article published today in BMJ Open shows that baby-led weaning helps children to eat healthily.

Researchers found that babies who fed themselves with finger foods from the start of weaning were likely to eat more healthily and have a healthier BMI later than those who were spoon fed purees. Children who were weaned using a baby-led approach liked carbohydrates more than children who had been spoon fed, whereas children in the spoon-fed group liked sweet foods the best. More children in the spoon-fed group were overweight or obese than those in the baby-led group.

The authors say: “Our study suggests that baby-led weaning has a positive impact on the liking for foods that form the building blocks of healthy nutrition, such as carbohydrates. This has implications for combating the well-documented rise of obesity in contemporary societies”.

The findings are based on 155 children between the ages of 20 months and 6.5 years, whose parents completed a detailed questionnaire about their children’s weaning style and food preferences.

This confirms what parents of BLW babies have known all along: babies really do know best!

The study Baby knows best? The impact of weaning style on food preferences and body mass index in early childhood can be viewed here.

Click here for press coverage.

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STOP PRESS: 14 January 2011

January 14th, 2011

Response to the suggestion in the news today (14 Jan 2011) that solid foods should be introduced from four months.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has published a paper suggesting that exclusive breastfeeding until six months may not be good for babies and that solid foods should be introduced between four and six months. What does this mean for parents who have been following baby-led weaning, and those who were planning to use this approach? A look at what is actually being said shows that the suggestion has little substance.

1. Firstly, this latest paper is based on a review of existing literature, not on new research. It is also worth bearing in mind that three of the four authors have worked closely with baby food/formula companies in recent years, and may be influenced by this.

2. The authors suggest that babies are at risk of iron deficiency anaemia and could be harmed if solids are delayed until six months.
The majority of fully breastfed babies under six months old are not at risk of iron deficiency anaemia – but the balance is a fine one. Most babies who begin solids early start on fruit or vegetables, which are low in iron, and take less breastmilk – which does contain iron. On the other hand; too much iron at a young age can be harmful because the baby’s immature gut may absorb more than he needs. The answer is to introduce solid foods when the baby is developmentally ready (i.e. when he starts to reach out for food, at around six months) and to make sure that he is offered foods rich in iron (such as red meat, eggs and pulses) from then on.

3. The authors suggest that the risk of coeliac disease and allergies is higher when solids are not introduced until six months.
Evidence for the risk of coeliac disease and allergies remains very unclear. It is possible that introducing solids earlier may benefit formula-fed babies more than breastfed babies.

4. The authors suggest that babies may refuse bitter foods if they don’t taste them before six months, and that this could have long-term health implications.
This is pure speculation, without any foundation. As anyone who has done baby-led weaning will know, the opposite is more likely to be true. The basis for the belief that babies over six months tend to refuse new flavours is research studies that used spoon feeding. Overwhelming anecdotal evidence suggests that babies allowed to handle food themselves (as with BLW) accept – and enjoy – a wide range of tastes. Also, breastfed babies experience different flavours in their milk from birth onwards and are more receptive to a variety of tastes once solid foods are introduced.

Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, 14.01.11

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The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook

July 27th, 2010

We have a new book out this November!

The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook offers comprehensive recipes and meal plans to follow so the entire family can take part in making your child a happy and confident eater.

Full of healthy, delicious meals the whole family will enjoy, and beautifully illustrated throughout, The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook also includes:
– simple advice on how to start
– essential at-a-glance information on nutrition and food safety
– ideas for quick snacks and lunch boxes as well as desserts and family dinners
– anecdotes and quotes from parents

The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook will give parents the confidence to create exciting and enjoyable mealtimes, allowing their baby to develop his skills as he progresses with food.

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New baby-led weaning book on the way!

September 2nd, 2009

Gill and Tracey have recently signed a deal with Vermilion to produce The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook. This will be a great family cookbook – giving confidence to those new to BLW and inspiration to any parents struggling to think of something to make for supper (or any other meal). Recipes and ideas will be contributed by BLW parents, tried and tested by BLW babies! The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook will make BLW even more accessible to parents. To contribute recipes or meal ideas, email

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Children’s Food Festival

September 2nd, 2009

Gill and Tracey spent a great weekend at the Children’s Food Festival near Oxford in June. Many BLW parents came to hear our question-and-answer sessions and to chat informally, and we really enjoyed meeting all the parents and their babies.

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The Italian Connection

September 2nd, 2009

In April, Gill went to Terni in Italy to meet up with a paediatrician who, we had discovered, has been thinking in parallel with us for the last few years. In an uncanny coincidence, Dr. Lucio Piermarini published his book, Io mi svezzo da solo! (I can wean myself!) in the same month as Baby-led Weaning came out in the UK. While she was there, Gill was invited by Dr. Piermarini to share the platform when his book was presented at the main library in Terni.

In Italy, parents see their child’s paediatrician as often as those in the UK see their health visitor and weaning ‘rules’ are very strict. Dr. Piermarini is very clear about where the blame for making weaning difficult lies – and apologises to his readers on behalf of himself and his paediatric colleagues. He is very clear that the person we should all listen to is the baby.

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Does baby know best?

July 23rd, 2009

An article about Baby-Led Weaning has just appeared in the Toronto Star

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Woman’s Hour

April 27th, 2009

Tracey appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour in April, with paediatric dietitian, Judy More, to discuss baby-led weaning. You can listen to the broadcast at It’s in the archive section under ‘family and relationships’.

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Gill takes baby-led weaning to Italy

April 27th, 2009

Gill be will speaking about baby-led weaning in Terni, Umbria, along with Italian paediatrician, Lucio Piermarini. Doctor Piermarini has published a book and academic articles on what he calls ‘demand complementary feeding’ – a theory of weaning that is very similar to baby-led weaning!

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