Home » Is Baby Led Weaning Dangerous? A Wry Look at the Controversy

Is Baby Led Weaning Dangerous? A Wry Look at the Controversy

by Wendy Sharp
Is Baby Led Weaning Dangerous? A Wry Look at the Controversy

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve been bombarded with unsolicited parenting advice from well-meaning friends and family members.

From what type of stroller to buy to whether or not to vaccinate, it seems like everyone has an opinion on how you should raise your child.

And when it comes to weaning, the advice can be just as conflicting.

Should you go the traditional route and spoon-feed your baby pureed food?

Or should you let them feed themselves with whatever they can pick up, a method known as “baby led weaning?”

If you’re leaning towards the latter, you might have been warned that baby led weaning is dangerous.

After all, isn’t there a risk that baby will choke on solid food?

As someone who chose to do baby led weaning with my own daughter, I can tell you that these concerns are overblown.

Here’s a wry look at the so-called dangers of baby led weaning.

Choking Hazards?

One of the biggest concerns people have about baby led weaning is that babies will choke on solid food.

And it’s true that there is a higher risk of choking with this method than traditional spoon-feeding.

But it’s important to put this risk in perspective.

First of all, choking is relatively rare; according to one study, there are approximately 34 choking incidents per year per 100,000 babies under the age of one in the United Kingdom.

Of course, even one choking incident is one too many.

But it’s important to remember that even when using traditional spoon-feeding methods, parents need to be vigilant about babysitting their child during mealtimes.

After all, pureed food can be a choking hazard too; in fact, one study found that 70% of infants who were hospitalized for food-related choking incidents were eating pureed food at the time.

So while there is a slightly higher risk of choking with baby led weaning, it’s important to remember that any time your baby is eating—regardless of how they’re being fed—you need to be paying attention and ready to intervene if necessary.

Cognitive Development Delays?

Another worry people have about baby led weaning is that it might delay their child’s cognitive development.

The thinking goes like this: if babies are only exposed to pureed food, they won’t learn how to chew until later on; however, if they start with solid food from the get-go, they’ll learn how to chew sooner and thus their cognitive development will be advanced.

However, there’s no evidence to support this claim.

In fact, studies have shown that there is no difference in cognitive development between children who are spoon-fed and those who self-feed.

So rest assured knowing that regardless of which method you choose, your child’s cognitive development won’t be delayed.


At the end of the day, the decision of how to wean your child is a personal one and there’s no right or wrong answer.

If you’re leaning towards baby led weaning but are worried about the so-called dangers, take comfort in knowing that these concerns are largely overblown.

Choking hazards can be mitigated by simply paying attention during mealtimes, and there’s no evidence that baby led weaning delays cognitive development.

So go ahead and let your little one feed themselves—it’ll be messy but it’ll also be worth it.

But before you get started, you’ll need some supplies. Luckily, we’ve put together lists of the must-have baby led weaning supplies, so all you need to do is click the buttons below.

From high chairs to utensils, we’ve got you covered. So what are you waiting for? Click the buttons below and get started on your baby-led weaning adventure!

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