More families adopting 'best of both' approach to weaning

Many families across the UK are now combining spoon-led weaning with the newer trend for baby-led weaning, a new survey has suggested.

Research conducted by Vital Baby, a company that produces weaning and feeding products, found that the emergence of baby-led weaning has encouraged more families to allow their babies to experiment with self-feeding.

Not only does this method of feeding have the advantage of enabling babies to feed themselves independently, it also cuts down on the time it takes to cook and puree separate meals. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that baby-led weaning is becoming so popular with modern parents.

However, contradictory advice from experts and family members can leave some families uncertain of which weaning method best supports good eating habits in children. The solution for many is to combine elements of both baby-led weaning and spoon-feeding.

Vital Baby’s survey of 103 parents indicated that 64% had adopted a ‘best of both’ approach to weaning, which suggests that families are keen to take on new ideas and work them into their family life.

The survey also showed that a significant proportion of parents (85%) use homemade foods rather than pre-packaged food during weaning – a surprising figure given the growing number of specialist weaning food on supermarket shelves.

Dr Rana Conway, Vital Baby’s in house Weaning Expert, commented: “It is interesting to see that instead of opting for just one weaning method, an increasing number of families are combining both spoon-feeding and baby-led weaning for their little ones.

“It is great to see that more and more parents have the confidence to create their own weaning plans based on existing guidelines and advice.”

Dr Conway also advises that parents should feel free to choose whichever weaning method works for their family, instead of feeling as though they must follow the latest trend.

“Both spoon-feeding and baby-led weaning methods have their benefits and advantages, but for families it is a very personal decision,” she said.

“It makes perfect sense to take elements of each and do what suits their family life best. I am delighted to be working with Vital Baby, it is a really exciting partnership and as the leading brand for weaning and feeding products it couldn’t be a better fit!”

Commenting on the survey’s findings, Director of Vital Baby, Dean Tollman said “We are committed to creating new and innovative products at Vital Baby to support families through what can be a very stressful and messy time!

“This new research furthers our understanding of what parents need from our products and highlights a significant change, with the majority of families combining both spoon-led and baby-led weaning methods, while reinforcing the statement ‘homemade is best’ when it comes to weaning foods. In an industry that is constantly changing, it is vital for us to listen to parents’ feedback and support them as best we can and we are delighted to welcome Dr Rana Conway on board to provide further insight into what families need during this time.”