Baby Led Weaning Foods: Best First Foods for BLW

baby led weaning foods 1 — Health, Kids

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Parenting is a never ever-ending finding out procedure. No matter what age our children are, we’re constantly finding out how to care for and shield them. When it comes to your small one particular reaching the age exactly where they can begin consuming strong foods, there are lots of approaches you can begin to introduce solids into their diet plan. In this post, you will get an introduction to all points child-led weaning, like recommendations and the very best child-led weaning foods for your infant. 

What Is Baby-Led Weaning?

Baby-led weaning, or BLW, is a approach of introducing your child to strong foods that permits your child pick out what to consume. It’s a approach coined by parenting professional Gill Rapley, who has written the book Baby Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Food.

The premise of child-led weaning is a very simple.

You let your child begin to consume strong foods on their personal terms. Of course, they’ll nonetheless be obtaining breast milk or formula alongside consuming entire foods. It’s distinctive than the conventional strategy which relies more heavily on child meals purees. Typically child led weaning foods entails you giving your child with some finger foods, and child meals that they can begin to consume, suck (and normally play with!) 

The notion is that your child is introduced to strong foods in a way that permits them to discover and have enjoyable with meals. As parents, we know just how curious infants can be, and meals can also be an adventure for them. Keeping points enjoyable and anxiety-no cost, which is entirely feasible with BLW, can make weaning your child off breast milk or formula that a great deal less difficult. It’s a good way to naturally transition child to strong foods on their personal terms.

Baby in high chair with green beans and peas.

When Can I Start Baby Led Weaning?

The very best time to begin introducing strong foods is about 6 months of age, but a very good rule of thumb is when they can sit up unsupported and move their jaw up and down. Enjoy household meals whilst child joins with the rest of the household through mealtime!

Signs of Readiness Include:

  • Baby is interested in meals and in watching you consume
  • When you give them meals, baby’s mouth is in a position to move the meals about and gum the meals alternatively of spitting it out (the tongue-thrust reflex is gone)
  • Your child is increasing effectively and weight achieve is not a concern
  • More created fine motor expertise and a creating pincer grasp

Benefits of Baby Led Weaning

It Creates a Positive Relationship with Food

Although it may appear premature, it is never ever as well early to assume about your baby’s partnership with meals. BLW aids your small one particular familiarize themselves with distinctive tastes and textures early on, aids make children into more adventurous eaters, and tends to make meals a positive, enjoyable expertise from the starting!

They’ll Still be Getting All the Right Nutrients

Making positive your child gets all the nutrients they will need to develop up powerful and healthful is an understandable concern for all parents, but as BLW will be taking place alongside breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, they’ll have all the nutrients they will need from that. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is secure, and healthful to comply with this feeding approach.

Takes the Pain Out of Family Mealtime

BLW is not just good for your child, but it is also less difficult on parents! By letting your child take the lead, you will not be stuck in cycles of attempting to convince them to consume if they do not want to. It’s also useful in preempting any picky eaters / picky consuming habits that may create in the future considering that you are following baby’s cues and providing them a selection of foods from the begin! It can be frustrating, but every child is distinctive and it is essential to let them set the tone with meals.

Tips For Making Baby Led Weaning Easy

Choose Manageable Healthy Foods

Babies of about 6 months can not choose points up with their thumb and index finger in the pincer grasp that older children and adults can. This suggests you will need to pick out age-acceptable foods — the finger meals you give them desires to soft, and be reduce into shapes that they can effortlessly choose up in their entire palm. It’s a very good notion to give modest pieces, and a modest quantity of meals to begin. Try distinctive textures and flavors. Place on the tray of your child’s higher chair, so they have uncomplicated access to their meals.

Don’t Panic if They Gag

No parent desires to see their youngster in distress, but if your youngster gags whilst receiving used to strong foods the very first time, it definitely is not as negative as it appears or sounds. Infants will need to discover how to consume strong foods effectively, and with them feeding themselves and receiving used to the sensation of strong foods and them obtaining to chew and swallow it themselves, it is inevitable that they may gag. But this is truly a important portion of them understanding how to consume effectively. 

Know Your First Aid

Although your infant will be fine as they discover the globe of strong meals, it is constantly very good to be ready. Knowing infant very first help such as the infant version of the Heimlich maneuver will make sure that you can support your youngster in the occasion of them choking on meals. However, this is most effortlessly avoided by giving them with soft, cooked foods so that they do not choke.

Be Flexible

It’s also essential to note that whilst you may want your youngster to begin consuming strong foods, they may not want to! And that is okay, since every youngster is distinctive, and they’ll come about at some point. So if they appear frustrated or uninterested in strong foods, it is nothing at all to be concerned about. Simply take a break and reintroduce the procedure a couple of days or weeks later. Eventually, it’ll take and your child will be consuming strong foods just before you know it! 

Although BLW is good for your child, this is not to say you can not also feed them puréed meals alongside strong foods. I like to make homemade purees and smoothies that are packed complete of nutrients.

Don’t Leave Them Unattended

This is an apparent one particular, but it is nonetheless worth mentioning. Make positive you are sitting with your child whilst they consume to make sure they’re secure. Plus, you can see what they choose and delight in.

Baby in high chair with carrots, broccoli, and snap peas.

6 Best First Foods for Baby-Led Weaning

The following are good soft foods child can deal with, swallow and digest for your child. Choose actual meals, and keep away from the processed foods you will see in the child aisle of the shop. Using a crinkle cutter is a very simple way to chop foods into bite sized pieces excellent for child to grasp!

Steamed Vegetables 

Vegetables are excellent for babies as they’re complete of nutrients and vitamins. Some of my kids’ favored very first foods had been soft, sweeter veggies! Veggies like broccoli, green beans, butternut squash and carrots reduce into smaller sized pieces are good to begin with. Of course, just make positive any vegetables you use are steamed or cooked till soft. Avoid slippery foods that can make it more tough for child to grasp.

Soft Fruits

From mango to avocado and banana, fruits are fantastic foods for your child to get familiar with. Opt for softer fruits, and if you want to give them tougher fruits like apples, keep in mind to cook them down till soft and cooled. 

Shredded Meats

You can give your small one particular turkey, chicken and even meatier flaky fish like salmon, so lengthy as they are cooked, soft and shredded. These proteins provide healthful fats child desires!


Go for bigger pasta shapes that will not be a choking hazard, such as tagliatelle or ravioli with a very simple tomato filling. You can also pick out wholewheat or spelt pasta for a healthier solution. 


Eggs and egg yolks are super versatile and are good as child-led weaning very first foods. You can boil them and reduce them in half, or make omelet strips, which you can come across out how to make in the child-led weaning recipes section under!


Sweet potatoes and common potatoes alike are a very good solution for your child, and can be fashioned into fries or wedges. 

What to Avoid

There are a lot of good BLW foods, but there are nonetheless some that pose a threat to your child and need to be avoided. The most essential issue to prevent when picking out which foods to present your child is choking hazards. This consists of something that is difficult and modest that could get lodged or stuck in their throats that they could potentially choke on. This consists of:

  • Raw vegetables 
  • Hard, uncooked fruits such as apples
  • Large amounts of nut butters
  • Whole nuts and seeds
  • Round foods like entire grapes
  • Sticky foods and something with sugar
  • Honey
  • Plain cow’s milk (cow’s milk yogurt or cheese are ok even though!)

You need to also prevent providing your child something with added sugar and cooking with salt if you are producing dishes your self. 


How do I introduce new foods with child led weaning?

As with the conventional introduction of strong foods, you will want to introduce one particular new meals each 2-3 days, to verify for any meals allergies or reactions just before adding a new meals. Be positive to present water with your baby’s meals as effectively. Typically, I suggest spacing your baby’s meals in amongst milk feeds – to make sure they’re hungry and prepared to consume!

What if my child appears like they are choking or gagging?

The crucial is do not panic! Baby led weaning will normally result in your child to gag since a piece of meals triggers their gag reflex and they’re not expecting it. Make positive you are educated in child CPR just in case your child is genuinely choking (this is incredibly uncommon even though).

Gagging just suggests your child is attempting to chew the meals and move it about in their mouth – which is a very good issue! If you are concerned about gagging, I suggest mashing the foods for your child to choose up and consume, or supplying purees very first.

How Do I Cut Foods For BLW?

You’ll want to reduce all the things into pieces of meals that can be effortlessly gummed or palmed (or as your child gets older, picked up with the pincer grasp). But you do not want the meals to be so modest that your child can place the complete piece in their mouth.

A very good rule of thumb is providing pieces of meals about 3-4 inches lengthy and 1/4 inch thick. The larger the size, the much less probably your child will choke on it considering that they will have to bite it to get modest pieces into their mouth.

Will my child get sufficient meals with BLW?

The BLW approach is more focused on exploring and tasting meals than quantity of meals. And in the very first year, breastmilk and/or formula is nonetheless going to be your baby’s key supply of nutrition. The crucial is to just let your child consume at their personal pace, following their cues to indicate when they are complete.

Do I have to exclusively do Baby led weaning, or can I use purees as well?

You can certainly use purees, in reality, I suggest it! I like providing babies a mix of finger foods (BLW) and purees (to get more meals in them and for more nutrition) when they’re beginning to consume. That way they get the expertise of each textures, and can expertise becoming fed with a spoon and self-feeding with their hands as effectively.

How do babies chew devoid of teeth when beginning child led weaning?

Interestingly sufficient, babies do not will need teeth to chew! Their gums are super powerful and can be used to “chew” just about any soft meals!

How do I know when my child is complete?

Your child will let you know by pushing the meals away, blocking their mouth with their hands, playing way more with the meals (vs. consuming it), or becoming restless.

BLW Recipes

A lot of child-led weaning starter foods do not will need a great deal cooking, apart from steaming or roasting. And the very best portion is, you can turn just about any common recipe into a BLW recipe, which suggests you will not have to cook distinctive meals for every particular person in your entire household! You’ll just will need to reduce up the “adult” sized portion into a mini strips or chunks for your child to consume.

Once you have introduced single foods to your child – through child led weaning or child meals purees, you can begin the introduction of complementary foods, and then place with each other mini meals for your child! Here are some of my favored meal suggestions for child led weaning.

Breakfast Recipes

In addition to fruit purees, and “baby smoothies”, I appreciate producing pancakes, oatmeal, and healthful muffins/cookies for breakfast!

healthy apple muffins on a wire rack

Here are some good child led weaning breakfast recipes to pick out from:

Lunch Recipes

Mashed veggies on toast is one particular of my favored lunch recipes for babies! Avocado is a good solution considering that it has healthful fats and sticks to the toast effectively. You can just slice the toast into strips just before providing it to your small one particular.

Four different kinds of avocado toast.

Other enjoyable lunch recipes for BLW incorporate:

Snacks for BLW

I appreciate roasting veggies for child led weaning snacks! Some of my favorites incorporate:

Dinner Recipes

You can quite a great deal give your child something you are producing for dinner! Just make positive it is either mashed up, pureed or reduce up so your child can chew and consume it devoid of choking. My children loved this taco casserole and these chilaquiles when they had been small (and they nonetheless do!)

Other good solutions incorporate dahl, distinctive curries and pureed soups!

pumpkin and sweet potato soup, served in a blue bowl, topped with fresh herbs and coconut cream

And there you have it – all the things you will need to begin picking out child-led weaning foods for your infant! I hope this aids you determine how to introduce your child to new foods!

More Baby Food Recipes!

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