Introducing Solids To Baby with Baby Led Weaning – Baby led weaning recipes, starter foods, cookbooks and more baby led weaning ideas to help YOU start your baby on solids and their first foods. Ready to start baby-led weaning (called BLW for short or referred to as ‘baby led feeding’)? Here’s some advice and tips from a mom who knows how to do baby-led weaning the right way.
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✅ Baby Led Weaning FAQ
☑ What age do you start baby led weaning?
The recommended age to start baby led weaning is the same age as starting your baby on solids – 6 months. But, as per usual, always check with your doctor to see what’s right for YOUR baby.
☑ Is baby led weaning dangerous?
While baby led weaning can feel scary when you start, baby led weaning is not dangerous (or at least not MORE dangerous that starting solids in a more traditional way. That said, you should ALWAYS pay close attention when your baby is eating anything to watch for choking. Gagging is a natural response for babies to protect them FROM choking (their gag reflex is much stronger than adults) so don’t freak out if your baby gags while learning new foods (but ALWAYS watch and be right there when your baby is eating!)
☑ How do I know if my baby is ready for baby led weaning?
Somewhere around 6 months of age, your baby will show signs that they are ready for baby led weaning. These signs include:
- Your baby can sit up on his/her own
- He/she can hold his/her head up steady
- Your baby regularly reaches out to grab things
- Your baby is REALLY good at putting things in his/her mouth
- Your baby makes chewing/gnawing movements
All of these milestones are usually hit about the 6 month mark, but all babies are different. The best rule of thumb is this: if your baby cannot sit up on his/her own, it’s NOT time. Your baby needs to be able to sit up in a high chair all alone without support. If in doubt, always check with your pediatrician.
☑ How do you cut a banana for baby led weaning?
Babies LOVE bananas so that makes bananas a perfect baby led weaning starter food! To cut the banana… wash the banana really well then cut in half. Pull some of the peel back to expose the meat of the banana but leave the rest of the peel on. This makes it easier for your baby to hold the banana and suck/gum the exposed part.
☑ Is toast a good first food for baby led weaning?
Yes, toast is a GREAT starter food for baby led weaning! Babies LOVE it! Remember, your baby isn’t necessarily eating and chewing the toast, they are sucking on it while learning about tastes and textures. As said before, always, ALWAYS be right there when your baby is eating anything!
☑ Is baby led weaning messy?
☑ My baby is 6 months old and has NO teeth – what can I feed her?
There area lot of baby led weaning recipes on this page down below. We also have an extensive list of what to feed a baby with no teeth here.
☑ What are some starter food ideas for baby led weaning?
We talk about baby led weaning starter foods in-depth down below, but some examples of good foods to start baby led weaning with: toast, chucks of apple with the skin on, broccoli, bananas, melon, scrambled eggs, etc. Read the full list below.
What IS “Baby Led Weaning”
When one hears the term “baby led weaning“, it is common to think it is a technique to wean their child off the bottle or off breastfeeding.
Baby led weaning should actually be called baby led FEEDING since it is a technique used to introduce solid foods into their baby’s diet.
Baby led weaning is based on the idea that by letting babies feed themselves, they will eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full. This helps develop healthy eating habits, perhaps prevent obesity and over-eating later in life, AND exposure your child to many foods and food textures.
Baby led weaning also has social positives as well – since your baby is eating at the table with the family AND eating what the family is eating, this helps include your baby in family routine.
Let’s talk about baby led weaning… when you should start, what finger foods to offer as first foods when introducing solid foods, meals, baby led weaning recipes, tips, advice, and baby led weaning Dos and Don’ts.
Pregnancy made me become obsessed with every little detail of my son’s upbringing. Other than eating ice from our countertop ice maker like CRAZY, I looked into everything including baby led weaning just so I could make sure I was doing the best by my son.
I learned a lot but nothing could prepare me for the reality (especially our bout with COLIC! Ack!). What follows is MY experience with baby led weaning and I hope it helps.
When To Start Baby Led Weaning
I first started introducing solids around 6 months. I had read that anything before this would not be a good idea. He enjoyed melon, bananas, avocado and sweet potatoes. This wasn’t a regular thing though.
Most of the time he was uninterested in food but when he did want it. he ate quite a bit.
As he got a bit older, he tried new things and enjoyed biting into plums, bananas and soft fruits on his own. I think this was around a year when he started to eat these things. Again this wasn’t a regular occurrence. He was not having consistent solid food meals by 1, in fact he was still 99% breastfed.
Baby Led Weaning Food Chart
Not Eating Enough?
At this stage I did have a little concern because I thought he should have been eating more than this.
So I did some research and read a LOT of other people’s experiences with baby led weaning – which led me to…
Baby Led Weaning Cookbook
This Baby Led Weaning Cookbook REALLY helped me out!
I found out that many babies are like this.
If left to their own device they won’t eat huge amounts or regularly until well into their second year.
So I relaxed and around 14 months my son’s appetite really grew and he started to eat more and more.
Some days he would even have 3 meals but his nursing did not really decrease much.
Here are 130 baby led weaning recipes that the whole family will eat.
Breastfeeding and Baby Led Weaning
My baby now has 3 meals nearly everyday. If we sit down to eat, so does he. He does still breast feed though and some days he is a little needy and prefers to have more breast, while others he will graze and eat more while baby led feeding all day. He is very happy, full of energy and a healthy little boy who hasn’t been ill at all. I have also found that his nursing has decreased to the point where now he will have a huge morning feed and then generally be OK during the day unless he gets upset. He also has a habit of trying to go for breastmilk when he is thirsty but I have encouraged him to drink water instead and he is often happy with that. If he isn’t happy with that then he will have breast.
If I could give some tips to other mothers on baby led weaning, I would say that my first tip would be not to worry too much.
Your baby really does know what they are doing. Some days they may eat lots and lots, others they may not eat that much. Try not to be too hung up on how much they have eaten, although I must say that is more difficult to do than to say!
Since you are still bottle feeding or breastfeeding, its much easier to relax about their solid food eating habits because you know that they are getting all the important nutrients they need.
The best thing about baby led weaning is that it’s easy. I did have moments where I let people get to me and then started thinking he should be eating more at this age etc, but that soon went away. Trusting in your baby and in yourself is the hardest part of the whole thing but is well worth it and very fulfilling. Do what you think is right and everything will work out.
Baby Led Weaning First Foods
It’s amazing all the first foods and finger foods babies can eat when doing baby led weaning! Here’s a first foods list that will help you get ideas:
Baby Led Weaning Recipes
When it comes to first foods and baby led weaning recipes, these baby pancakes are my favorite! They’re made with baby cereal and baby food!
Baby Pancakes Recipe:
Here’s how to make baby pancakes with baby cereal:
- 1 egg
- 1 cup white flour or wheat flour
- 1/2 cup baby cereal (multigrain,oatmeal or barley would work fine)
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cap full of vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons baby food (any fruit or vegetable)
- 1 cup 100% juice (apple works great)
- Add water until you reach desired consistency.
Now, just cook them in a frying pan on your stove top or griddle like normal pancakes!
Here’s another Gerber Cereal recipe – they’re peaches and cream Gerber Cereal baby pancakes – and they are delicious!
Starting Baby Led Weaning Tips and Ideas
Baby Led Weaning Food Ideas
Moms sure have figured out some creative and clever tips and tricks for baby led weaning – like this idea below…
I like the baby led weaning food idea in the picture above. Simply take a yogurt cup, put a popsicle stick in it and freeze it. I don’t know if I’d use the stick tho, might opt for a baby safety feeding spoon or something a bit safer than a stick.
Now, let’s get into the Dos and Don’ts of baby led weaning…
The Dos and Don’ts of Baby Led Weaning
Baby led weaning can be a rewarding and easy way to help your child establish solids on their own. Baby led weaning is all about taking cues from your baby and letting them go at their own pace in regards to moving on to solids from breast milk.
This way of introducing solids is very straight forward but there are some things you should consider when taking this approach. Below are some guidelines to help you ensure this way of working with your child is safe.
Baby Led Weaning Tips:
- Let your baby have the opportunity to participate whenever someone is eating. As soon as your child shows an interest, eating around them and letting them be a part of it is a great way to encourage feeding and to let them choose when they want to participate. I remember my son at 7 months grabbing my banana out my hand and chomping on it.
- While your baby is experimenting with food, make sure that he or she is upright. Most parents sit their baby on their lap facing the table as this is the easiest way to eat at the same time.
- Offer a variety of foods to give them different experiences and let them decide on the flavors and textures they like. If your child rejects some flavors, you should still try them at a later date because they may change their mind. My son changed his mind on quite a few things once we got around to trying them out again.
- You can also offer water from a cup too but this isn’t a necessity especially if your child is breastfed as this is enough fluid wise and may be relied on for a long time to come.
- Allow your child to continue to breastfeed whenever they want to. Weaning is a gradual process and can be very gradual for some children. Many children rely on breast milk fairly predominantly well into their second and third year. His or her breastfeeding pattern will change, however, as more and more solids are eaten and introduced.
- And be forewarned: Baby led weaning is MESSY so be sure you have a good cordless vacuum close by.
Baby Led Weaning DON’Ts
Don’t try to hurry your baby. Let him choose the pace and direct you. Try to avoid helping him as well and just let him get on with it. He knows best. Weaning is a very gradual process, so just go with the flow and don’t worry if your child is disinterested for a long while or has days when they are and days or weeks when they aren’t.
Your child may get through a quarter of a banana or piece of fruit and then not want anymore. Don’t expect them to finish what they have started!
Try to avoid foods that could be potentially dangerous particular foods that are associated with allergies like nuts. These can be given to babies when they are a lot older and are able to communicate if something is wrong.
Don’t offer processed foods. Try to stick with whole foods at first.
Regardless of any of the dos and don’t, make sure that you enjoy the process. It can be hard to relax and trust your child because the world around us seems to do the opposite. However it is extremely rewarding for both you and your baby and will show you how easy it is to let a child get on with it without their parents complicating the issue.
Baby Led Weaning Books
#1 Baby Led Weaning Tip:
Aside from making sure your baby is safe at all times, the other thing that needs to be said about baby led weaning is this…
Be sure to invest in at least one of these types of bibs – it makes clean-up from baby led weaning MUCH easier!
And the suction bowls are REALLY helpful, too!
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