Baby-Led Weaning: The Evidence to Date

Curr Nutr Rep. 2017;6(2):148-156. doi: 10.1007/s13668-017-0201-2. Epub 2017 Apr 29.


Purpose of review: Infants are traditionally introduced to solid foods using spoon-feeding of specially prepared infant foods.

Recent findings: However, over the last 10-15 years, an alternative approach termed 'baby-led weaning' has grown in popularity. This approach involves allowing infants to self-feed family foods, encouraging the infant to set the pace and intake of the meal. Proponents of the approach believe it promotes healthy eating behaviour and weight gain trajectories, and evidence is starting to build surrounding the method. This review brings together all empirical evidence to date examining behaviours associated with the approach, its outcomes and confounding factors.

Summary: Overall, although there is limited evidence suggesting that a baby-led approach may encourage positive outcomes, limitations of the data leave these conclusions weak. Further research is needed, particularly to explore pathways to impact and understand the approach in different contexts and populations.

Keywords: Appetite control; Baby-led weaning; Breastfeeding; Choking; Complementary feeding; Eating behaviour; Energy regulation; Infant; Infant-led; Introduction solid foods; Maternal; Maternal feeding style; Nutrient intake; Responsive feeding; Weaning; Weight.

Publication types

  • Review