"Baby-led weaning" - Progress in infant feeding or risky trend?

Arch Pediatr. 2022 Oct;29(7):516-525. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2022.08.012. Epub 2022 Sep 13.


Baby-led weaning (BLW), proposed as a new form of complementary feeding, has emerged as a real trend phenomenon in the media. Infants are seated at the family table from the age of 6 months, facing the foods they grab and bring to their mouth: they decide which foods they want to eat and what amount. The consumption of mashed foods and the use of a spoon are totally discouraged. BLW is increasingly used in nurseries and centers of young children. A bibliographic search carried out between 2000 and 2021 found 423 articles, of which 38 were selected. The clinical studies selected are 11 cross-sectional observational studies and two randomized controlled studies. BLW promotes breastfeeding, the early introduction of morsels, the respect of the child's appetite, the use of unprocessed foods, and the choice of "homemade" and friendliness. These benefits can nonetheless be reached with usual complementary feeding (SCF), according to current recommendations. Other benefits are claimed without scientific evidence such as easier achievement of dietary complementary feeding and an optimal growth with prevention of excess weight gain. BLW has some obvious downsides. The infant may not get enough energy, iron, zinc, vitamins, and other nutrients, or too much protein, saturated fat, salt, or sugar. The risk of choking, which must be distinguished from the physiological gagging reflex, has not been ruled out by scientific studies. Currently, the Nutrition Committee of the French Pediatric Society considers that the data published to date in terms of benefits and risks of BLW do not lend themselves to advice for this practice in preference over SCF carried out according to current recommendations.

Keywords: Baby-led weaning; Choking; Complementary feeding; Gagging; Infant; Introduction of morsels.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior* / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior
  • Infant Food
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena* / physiology
  • Iron
  • Sugars
  • Vitamins
  • Weaning
  • Zinc


  • Sugars
  • Vitamins
  • Iron
  • Zinc