Parents practicing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) often encounter comparisons with those who follow traditional spoon-feeding methods. These comparisons can be fueled by well-meaning friends and family members who may not fully understand or support BLW. The pressure to conform to conventional feeding norms can lead to self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy among BLW parents.

For many generations, spoon-feeding has been the standard approach to introducing solid foods to infants. It’s a familiar and widely accepted method. When parents choose BLW, they may face questions like, “Why aren’t you spoon-feeding your baby like everyone else?” or comments implying that BLW is unconventional. This can create a sense of being an outlier or deviating from the norm, leading parents to second-guess their decision. The fear of being judged or perceived as doing something “wrong” can erode their confidence in the BLW approach, making it challenging to stick to their chosen method.

Let’s take a look at the most common myths and worries around BLW!


Messy mealtimes

Messy mealtimes are an inherent part of Baby-Led Weaning, as babies are encouraged to explore and play with their food. While this approach fosters independence and sensory exploration, it can also lead to parental concerns, especially when friends or relatives are around to witness the food mess. Peer pressure to maintain a clean and controlled mealtime environment can create stress and tension for BLW parents.

BLW encourages babies to engage with food in a hands-on manner, allowing them to touch, taste, and experiment with different textures. While this approach is developmentally appropriate and beneficial, it can result in a fair amount of food spillage, crumbs, and playful mess. Parents who value a tidy dining area may feel embarrassed or judged when guests visit and observe the aftermath of a BLW meal. The pressure to conform to traditional expectations of orderly mealtimes can lead to parental anxiety and a sense of discomfort during what should ideally be a relaxed and enjoyable family experience.


Concerns about choking

Peer pressure can intensify parental anxiety regarding choking incidents when practicing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW). Friends or family members who are not well-versed in BLW may express concerns or fears, causing parents to reevaluate their approach and question the safety of BLW.

Choking is a genuine concern for any parent, but it can become a significant source of worry when others, unfamiliar with BLW principles, raise alarms. Friends and family may not fully grasp that BLW emphasizes age-appropriate foods and encourages babies to develop their gag reflex as a protective mechanism against choking. The pressure from loved ones to adopt a more traditional, spoon-feeding approach, which may be perceived as safer, can lead parents to doubt their BLW choice.

This peer-induced anxiety can trigger self-doubt and create a hesitancy to continue with BLW, even if the parents had initially felt confident in its safety precautions.


Delayed milestones

Parents who choose BLW may notice that their babies reach certain feeding milestones, such as swallowing solids or mastering self-feeding skills, at different rates compared to those following traditional feeding methods. Peer pressure, particularly from friends who boast about their babies’ early milestones, can instigate doubts in BLW parents about whether their choice is the right one.

Feeding milestones are significant developmental markers for parents. When they see other parents’ babies seemingly excelling in the realm of eating, it’s only natural for them to question their own approach. BLW babies might take a bit longer to adapt to self-feeding or to progress from exploring foods to swallowing solids. The comparisons can be challenging, as parents may feel pressure to meet perceived standards of achievement set by their peers.

This external pressure to align with what seems like faster progress in traditional feeding can lead to doubt and second-guessing, even if BLW aligns with the chosen parenting philosophy and the baby’s individual needs and development.


Unsolicited advice

Unsolicited advice is a common challenge faced by parents practicing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW). Well-meaning friends and family members may offer input, often suggesting that BLW is unconventional or risky. This unsolicited advice can create a sense of self-doubt and stress for parents who have confidently chosen BLW as their preferred feeding method.

In many cultures, traditional spoon-feeding has long been the standard approach to introducing solids, making BLW seem unconventional or unfamiliar. Friends and family members may express their concerns about BLW’s perceived risks, such as choking or inadequate nutrition, based on limited knowledge or misconceptions.

While these individuals may have good intentions, their unsolicited advice can lead parents to question the validity of their chosen approach. The pressure to conform to more commonly accepted methods can erode the confidence of BLW parents, even if they initially felt well-informed and secure in their decision.


Limited food exposure

Concerns about limited food exposure are another pain point for parents practicing BLW, often amplified by peer pressure to offer a wide range of foods. Some parents may worry that BLW could result in restricted food choices for their babies, especially if they primarily offer familiar, baby-friendly foods. The pressure to diversify their baby’s diet can lead to concerns about providing adequate nutrition and variety.

Baby-Led Weaning encourages babies to explore and self-select their foods, which can initially lead to preferences for a limited range of familiar flavors and textures. This natural inclination can trigger concerns among parents who feel pressured to introduce a wide array of foods to ensure their baby receives a well-rounded diet.

Peer pressure to offer a variety of foods can lead to parental anxiety about their baby’s nutrition and the fear of potential food aversions. These concerns may cause parents to question the adequacy of BLW in providing their baby with a diverse and balanced diet, even if they trust the principles of BLW and their baby’s innate ability to develop a healthy relationship with food over time.


Mealtime rituals

Parents practicing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) may find themselves navigating awkward situations during family gatherings and social events due to the differing mealtime rituals between BLW and traditional feeding practices. Friends or family members who adhere to conventional spoon-feeding methods may not fully understand the concept of letting babies self-feed during family meals, potentially leading to uncomfortable peer pressure for parents.

Traditional mealtime rituals often involve caregivers spoon-feeding babies and controlling their food intake. When parents practicing BLW bring their baby to a family gathering or event, it can create moments of tension or confusion. Relatives and friends may not comprehend why the baby isn’t being spoon-fed like others. This lack of understanding can result in well-meaning but misguided attempts to feed the baby, potentially causing discomfort for both the parents and the baby. Parents may feel pressured to conform to conventional mealtime rituals to avoid conflict or awkwardness.

This peer-induced pressure to deviate from the BLW approach during social occasions can challenge parents’ commitment to their chosen feeding method.


Perceived inefficiency

Peer pressure can make parents question the efficiency of BLW in comparison to traditional spoon-feeding, which may appear faster and less messy. The societal expectation of efficiency in parenting practices can create doubts about the BLW approach and its ability to align with perceived norms.

In many societies, there is a prevailing belief that spoon-feeding is a more efficient way to introduce solids to infants. Traditional feeding methods often involve caregivers controlling the pace and amount of food consumed, which can appear to be a quicker and less messy process. When parents practicing BLW perceive pressure to conform to societal norms of efficiency, they may begin to doubt the effectiveness of BLW.

The fear of being seen as less efficient or not adhering to common parenting practices can erode their confidence in their chosen approach, even if they believe in the long-term benefits of BLW and the importance of allowing their baby to develop self-feeding skills at their own pace.


It’s essential for parents practicing BLW to remember that each baby is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting or feeding. Peer pressure can be challenging to navigate, but maintaining confidence in the chosen feeding method, seeking support from like-minded parents or online communities, and educating friends and family about BLW can help alleviate some of these pain points.

Ultimately, the focus should remain on the baby’s well-being, safety, and developmental milestones rather than external pressures and judgments.