COLLAB is an approach to weaning we speak about in the Weaning Sense book. The last letter of COLLAB weaning stands for Baby-friendly.
Baby-friendly weaning recognises that as your little one grows, he develops self-regulation and learns to take control of his feeding and eating habits. Being Baby-friendly is all about facilitating your baby’s self-mastery in all areas, including feeding, right through the toddler years. It is the best way to prevent fussy toddler eating. So how do we do this:
- Acknowledge and respect his hunger and full signals – When you respect and acknowledge your baby’s signals that he is hungry or has had enough, you teach him to be an intuitive eater. Watch for hunger signals rather than watching the clock for mealtimes. And when he purses his lips and pushes the bowl away, respect his signal of the end the meal. You can ask once whether he wants one more mouthful and then remove the meal. If he is still hungry he will eat well at the next meal/ snack.
- Make meals and snacks happy and pleasurable times for little ones – Social eating is very important. Eat with your child and model happy eating habits. Toddlers are much more likely to eat well in a social setting – sit with your child and chat to him while he eats. Make snack times happy picnics in the garden and make mealtimes family affairs.
- Offer nutritious food and snacks – Meals and snacks must be nutritious and tasty too. As the parent, you control WHAT is on offer – make the mouthfuls count by not offering empty calories with highly processed sugary snacks.
- Self-feeding – From 6 months onwards, allow your little one some control by letting him self-feed. Baby’s fine motor and oral motor control are well enough developed to explore hand-held snacks and meals. Giving your baby the opportunity to self-feed is core to the development of self-regulated eating.
The art of practically handing over control to your baby as you wean involves developing a great deal of sensitivity. It is the secret to developing happy healthy eating habits.