What are you looking for?

It is completely normal to feel anxious about starting weaning your baby. As your baby reaches that six-month mark you will probably find yourself researching all the different ways you will start to introduce solid food. The baby-led weaning method is what my recipes are focused around and will help those little hands take control of food, all on their own.

That can sound a little scary for parents, but I promise it is just as safe as the traditional route. This blog is the absolute best guide to starting baby led weaning in the world ever! It will hopefully put your mind at ease and give you all the guidelines necessary to get you and your baby ready to start your weaning journey. 

There is tonnes of information below including printables for your fridge, so you always have a guide to help you and your baby on your weaning adventure – because that is what it really is!

Baby-led weaning is so much fun, so take a deep breath, grab your camera for those messy face photos and get ready to turn your baby into a little foodie!

Table of Contents

About Me

My name is Aileen Cox Blundell and I am a number one bestselling author of The Baby-Led Feeding Cookbook and also award-winning parenting blogger and food blogger. I am also currently studying a degree in nutrition because I love food and I want to make eating fun again! Not just for babies but for grown-ups too.

Estimated reading time: 32 minutes

What is baby led weaning

Your baby has reached the 6 month mark and is starting solid foods so you might be curious to try baby led weaning and what it really is? 

Baby led weaning is a type of weaning where you skip pureeing chicken with avocado, banana then spoon feed it to your baby. With this method of weaning you instead, cook the chicken in a way that is super safe, cut into small pieces, and place it in front of your baby with a spear of avocado then let them eat it all on their own.  

It is called baby-led because your baby leads the way right from the very start. They choose how much and what they put in their mouths – obivously with the help of a parent who will serve all the right nutritious food for weaning.

Baby-Led weaning is a natural exploration of food. This is encouraged by giving your baby wholesome and naturally delicious foods that they will grab, explore and put into their mouths all by themselves.

Why should I do Baby led weaning – benefits for children and parents

Benefits of Baby Led Weaning For Babies

  • Self Regulation – There are no spoons, no choo-choo trains, no ‘Daddy’s gonna eat your dinner’. Your baby gets to choose from here on in. They decide what they want to eat and what they don’t, how much to eat, and, more importantly, when they are full. I’m sure we all remember at some stage being told ‘You’re finished your dinner when your plate is empty? Well, that all goes out the door from here on in.
  • Promotes fine motor skills – baby-led weaning gives your baby the opportunity to play with food. Touch it, learn about tastes and textures, and they can learn a lot just by the healthy foods you place in front of them. Feeding in this way also gives your baby the opportunity to practice their fine motor skills including their pincer grasp by grasping and picking up food at every meal.
  • Learning to chew first and then swallow – If food is soft enough to squish between your finger and thumb then your baby’s gums, even without teeth, are strong enough to break it down. This chewing develops naturally with the new foods you give your little one and also aids in the natural digestion of food.
  • Encourages your baby to try a wide variety of foods – by the time your baby is 12 months of age they will have tried about 100 different foods! Because your baby has been exposed to a variety of fresh and wholesome foods from the very beginning, they are much more likely to try new foods as they get older.
  • Less picky eater – As your baby tries new foods, they will experience a world of new textures. This is so important because, in the long term, they will be more inclined to pick up and try new foods than ‘taste with their eyes. Babies who feed themselves are much less likely to be picky eaters – they want to see what this strange new food is that has been placed in front of them, making family meals much easier!

Benefits of Baby Led Weaning For Parents

  • Baby led weaning is SO easy – Your baby eats what you eat. There is no mashing concoctions of foods you probably wouldn’t eat yourself: you simply cook healthy, delicious food for your family and then let your baby get to work on it on their own.
  • Eating a warm dinner – The biggest plus for me is being able to eat my own dinner while my little one munches away on his own food. Because I’m not trying to get him to eat one more bite and he is eating at his own pace, we get to eat dinner as a family and it is so much more fun. Watching a seven-month-old feed himself spaghetti and meatballs while the rest of the family eats them too is what it’s all about.
  • Having a less picky eater –  This is a benefit not only for the child but also for the parents. It means you don’t have to try and think of foods to give your baby while you cook something totally different for the rest of the family. We all eat the same and there are no alternatives.
  • Knowing you have a good eater on your hands – Many a person has been astounded over the past few years as my child demolishes an entire baby bowl of beetroot pasta. There is so much pleasure in knowing your child loves good food and will at least try everything you put in front of him.

What age can I start baby led weaning and why?

Your baby must be 6 months old to do baby led weaning! This is the most important advice I can give you when starting baby led weaning.

  • Your baby’s digestive system is not mature enough – This is super important especially if there is a history of allergies or coeliac disease in your family. 
  • Your baby gets 100% of Nutrition from milk until 6 months – Your baby doesn’t actually need solid food until they are 6 months old because you are giving them 100% of everything they need just from the breast milk or formula they are drinking. From 6 months, their iron stores have depleted and that is one of the main reasons we start weaning.
  • Your baby is not developed enough to feed themself – It can be super frustrating for a baby when they can’t get food to their mouth on their own. They are hungry and hand-eye coordination isn’t developed enough. That is why it is important to wait until 6 months, your baby is just so much more developed than when they were 4 or 5 months. Just think how quickly your baby grew from a newborn to six months alone! 
  • Baby-led weaning is so much safer at 6 months – Waiting a month or two will make baby-led weaning as safe as possible for your lovely little baby. They are able to easily put baby size pieces of food in their mouth without pushing it out, they are able to chew and swallow and it will be so easier on you Mommas too. Believe me!

If you feel your baby needs to be eating solid foods sooner, then speak to your paediatrician who can advise you on starting more traditional weaning methods sooner. Then come back here to Baby Led Feeding when your baby is 100% ready to feed on their own. 

How do I know my baby is ready to start solid  food?

One of the biggest indicators of readiness is see your baby follow the food you are eating yourself. I have spoken to lot’s of parents who said ‘YES, i actually saw her watching me eating, looking at the fork going from my plate into my mouth’. But, there are other important things to look out for too!

  • Your baby is six months old – for the reasons mentioned above it is highly recommended that you wait until your baby is the full 6 months old before you start baby led weaning.
  • Your baby is able to sit up unsupported – by 6 months, your baby should be able to sit up by themselves and they should be able to sit in a high chair unsupported. 
  • Your baby has good neck strength – by 6 months your baby will have developed all of the muscles needed to hold their head up. This is especially important for safety with baby led weaning as it ensures your baby is sitting in the correct way when eating.
  • Your baby has lost the reflex to push foods to the front of their mouth – by 6 months your baby will have lost the tongue trust. This is a reflex which makes them push food to the front of their mouth.
  • Your baby is reaching out and grabbing foods – You will suddently see your baby reaching for food on your plate and trying to grab food from your hands. It’s a real tell tale sign that your baby is getting ready to start solids.  
  • Your baby is chewing, even if they have no teeth – when your baby does get a piece of food they don’t just spit it out, they chew even when they have no teeth. 

These are not signs your baby is ready to start weaning!

So many parents introduce solids too early because their baby is showing what they feel as a readiness to wean. Most of the time these are normal things your baby does and should not be taken as proper signs for weaning.

  • My baby is waking in the night should I give him solids? – Even if your baby was sleeping through the night and suddenly at 5 months old she is waking and unsettled, this does not mean that it is time to give her solid food. Even if Granny tells you to do it. We have all been there, but waking at night could be due to sleep cycle changes, teething, or it just might be that they are cold, warm or most importantly looking for a cuddle from their Momma. 
  • My baby is chewing hands or blankets – Babies love learning about the world around them and you will suddenly see your baby putting their entire fist into their mouth. This is completely normal and does not in any way mean they are ready for solid food. They are exploring!
  • My baby just wants milk all the time – At 5 months it seemed like my little boy was permanently attached to my boobies. This is really normal as babies are going through huge growth spurts every single month. Giving extra milk is the only answer to this and not solid food (until your baby is 6 months old). Don’t worry, they won’t be attached to your boobies forever. although it does seem like that right now….just give the boobie or continue formula feeding for now.

Can all baby’s do baby-led weaning?

While it is o.k for most babies to do baby led weaning, babies with special needs might find it difficult to pick up and chew foods on their own. There are lots of babies here at Baby Led Feeding who have successfully overcome these challenges by following a modified baby led weaning approach. However, this method should be done with the help of your dietitian and pediatrician.

What do I need to get started with baby led weaning?

You actually don’t need much at all when you are starting. However, there are ways to minimise the mess of baby led weaning. Don’t fear, it doesnt last forever!

• You need a baby – yes this is the worst ‘Mom joke ever’ so my kids told me but it oviously is the most important thing.

• A good highchair that is easy to clean and you can pull towards your dining table. This will help include your baby in the eating as a family experience. See more about high chairs below. 

• A catch-it-all long sleeved bib – These are the bibs with long plastic sleeves that also have a pock on the front. This will help to keep your babys clothes clean while they are eating.

• Wipeable tablecloth – Cut a wipeable tablecloth into quarters and place one clean piece under your baby’s high chair.

• Baby spoon and fork – these are great for pre-loading messy foods including pasta. 

• Suction bowl – at the beginning, however your baby will probably throw a bowl, so food can be put straight onto their highchair tray. As your baby progresses with weaning though you will want to put food in a bowl, it helps if they can’t pick it up, drop it or put the bowl over their heads!

A step by step guide to starting baby led weaning?

There is no right or wrong way to introduce your baby to solid food. You might start with traditional weaning then decide to introudce a more baby finger foods as time goes on. It is all about being comfortable and enjoying the expierience. Don’t let anyone put you under pressure or make you feel bad if things don’t work out the way you waant. Weaning your baby is an adventure and your only job is to enjoy it and teach your baby a love of real, wholesome and delicious food.

When starting baby led weaning remember both you and your baby are learning. Go easy on yourself becuase it does take time to raise a little foodie, but you will get there!

Step 1 – Basic Principles

These are my top 5 tips for all baby’s starting baby led weaning and will ensure the most success for both you and your baby.

Continue giving your baby milk – how much milk should my baby be drinking

Breastmilk is the only food and drink a baby needs for the first 6 months of thier life. Baby formula is the only alternative to breast milk and should be the only drink you give your baby until they are 1 years old. From birth to 6 months, milk provides your baby with 100% of all of their nutritional needs.

From 6 months – 12 months – baby gets 75% of nutrition from milk 25% from food. When introducing solid food;

Breastfed babies
Continue to breastfeed on demand. Usually, feed your baby about 60-90 minutes (depending on your milk supply) before offering solid food.

Bottle fed babies
210ml beaker 3 times per day (roughly)

It is o.k to use regular cows milk in cooking when preparing food for your baby. However, cows milk cannot be given as a main drink to babies under the age of 1.

Cut veggies and fruits into spears

Cut vegetables into long chipper chip (thick French fry) sizes. Lay flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then drizzle over a small amount of olive oil but skip the salt and pepper for now. Roast at 180ºC/250ºF for about 30 minutes until soft. Some vegetables take less time to roast than others.

Keep food soft!

Remember this most of all! You should be able to squash food between your finger and thumb and then it is the perfect consistency for a baby without teeth. 

Don’t overload your baby’s plate/tray

Your babys tummy is the size of their fist so they can’t eat a lot of food. Serve small amounts, 1-2 spears of vegetable with a little bite sized iron-rich protein for example is enough. Too much food will over stimulate your baby. You can always give more if your baby wants more. 

Learn your babys cues

As your baby gets full, they might start just playing with food, dropping on the floor or even throwing it. These are all cues that your baby is full. In this case take the food away and give it back again if you think your baby is hungry. 

Alternatively, your baby might have finished thier food, and are maybe flapping their arms or looking unsettled. These are cues that your baby might want a little more food. In this case offer high nutritious foods like vegetables or more protein rather than the starcy ones like bread, pasta, potato. 

My baby is gagging on solids

Gagging is totally normal especially as your baby starts baby led weaning. Your baby’s gag reflex is towards the front of their mouth so anything that goes past that point your baby will gag it forward. This is an inbuilt safety mechanism and is important to know the different between gagging and choking. Gagging will subsisde as your baby gets better at eating too so don’t worry!

More about gagging and choking below in safety >

Never, ever rush your baby – Baby led weaning cannot be rushed!

baby led weaning takes a little patience and to keep your baby safe iit is important that you are present and not rushing. Start baby led weaning when you can give it lots of time. and know that your baby wlill take his sweet, sweet time enjoying his food. The way we are all meant too 🙂  

Prepare food according to your childs age

At 6 months your baby will not have developed their pincher grasp. This means being able to easily pick food up with their index finger and thumb. This is important because, if for example, you were to give your 6-month-old a pea, they will get super frustrated because they do not have the skills to eat that pea. As your baby gets older and developed its pincher grasp you can start introducing things like squashed blueberries, peas, squashed beans, etc.

STEP 2 – What foods are best to start baby led weaning?

Most parents are nervous when starting baby led weaning and that is completely o.k and also understandable. Spend the first 2 weeks learning your baby’s cues, watching their capabilities of eating and when you are both at ease you can progress to all the amazing baby led weaning recipes below.

Start with savoury foods (non-sweet)

Babies tend to prefer sweet tastes from birth like the breast milk or forumla they are already used to. So, starting with vegetables is a great way to to provide your baby with food experiences that can help them enjoy vegetables more as they get older. We are trying our best to create a little foodie here so stick with me!

Here are my top first foods that are super soft and also how to serve them (graph) Deep breaths Momma you can do this!

Vegetables (pick 2 spears of any of these)

• Roasted sweet potato
• Roasted butternut squash
• Spears avodado (sprinkle flaxseed on the outside to prevent slipping)
• Steamed broccoli florets (natures perfect handle)
* Softly steamed carrot spears
• Courgette
• Potato spears
• Parsnip
• Cauliflower
• Roasted peppers (skins removed)
• Turnip roasted and spear
• Cucumber

Protein (1 portion)

• Egg made into omelette and sliced
• Flaked salmon
• Mashed chickpeas formed into balls
• Thinly stredded softly roasted chicken (preferably the brown meat)
• Hummus spread on veggie spears
• Homemade meatballs
• Tofu

Dairy

• Yogurt on a pre-loaded spoon
• Goat cheese balls

STEP 3 – My baby is ready for big people food

You are ready to progress! You have watched your baby eating a spear of softly roasted sweet potato and they are doing well! Whoop, go you and well done baby! Now it is time to introduce all the other amazing foods of the world. Your baby is well capable of eating family food, we just modify it for them to make it super safe. 

Don’t cook with salt

I know this is sacriledge to most chefs, but when it  comes to baby led weaning you need to cook with zero salt.  The good thing about salt is that you can add it to your own plate on serving. Totally doable but I’m really sorry Gordon Ramsey!
A six month old baby needs .1mg of salt in their food 

Give your baby a variety of food

Don’t get into a rutt of making the same things every week. Try to mix it up by adding vegetables or fruits you might not have tried in a while. Or maybe you might not have tried at all. 

Can I add spices to baby food

Baby food does not need to be bland and adding spice to homemade baby food is a great way to add lots of flavour to your baby’s taste buds. We are not cooking with salt so spices will add lots of flavour! Remember there is a difference between hot spices and aromatic ones – aromatic spices are the only ones to use for your baby when they are starting weaning. It is important not to overpower the dish with spices too, start slow! Also look for your babys cues because some children are more sensitive to spices than others. In this case build up spices very, very slow with a pinch here or there.

Safe spices to introduce to your baby

• Cumin
• Coriander
• Cinnamon
• Sweet paprika
• Turmeric
• Nutmeg
• Cardomon 

Adding herbs to baby food

Like spices adding herbs to baby food is a great way to add lots of flavour to their food. Adding herbs to dinners will also really help with the transition to family food. We use fresh herbs all the time and they are also packed full of iron, vitamins and minerals so are a great addition to your baby food. 

Fresh Herbs that you can try from 6 months

• Basil
• Rosemary
• Oregano
• Rosemary
• Thyme
• Mint

How to give my baby meat

Meat is a great source of both protein, iron, vitamins and minerals which are all needed for healthy growth and development. Meat can be a worrying food to give your baby because meat can be chewy when cooked, if not cooked correctly for baby led weaning. Brown meat is also much higher in iron so next time you are cooking a chicken or turkey keep the darker meat for your baby. It is also important to note that meat should never be rare or undercooked when giving to your baby.

A serving size of meat for a baby is about the size of your pinky finger for a baby 6-12 months old.

How to cook meat for baby led weaning

  • Slow cook meat – The slower you cook your baby’s meat (and yours) the more tender and the more delicious it will be. Turn down that oven and let your roast beef or chicken slow roast. It does take longer but it will be so worth it. 
  • Get a slow cooker – A slow cooker is a great asset to have in your kitchen. Throw all your veggies and meat in along with a sauce and let it do its magic! Slow cooker meat is perfectly safe for your baby and will just fall apart when you touch it.
  • Make mini burgers – I use ground beef, lamb, chicken and turkey to make baby-sized burgers. Form into patties and fry on a pan using a little sunflower oil or you can also roast in the oven until they are cooked through. Make the burgers roughly the size of your baby’s palm.
  • Shredded meat – when meat is slow-cooked take a fork and back fork to create safe shredded meat for your baby.
  • Baby Pies – adding small strips of meat to a pie is also a great way to introduce your baby to meat as the meat is lovely and tender with a yummy flavour. 
  • Meatballs – this is one of my favourite ways to give baby meat. Meatballs are the perfect size for your baby to pick up and put in their mouth. Make meatballs the size of a golf ball so it is super easy for your baby to manoeuvre.

Best Meats for baby led weaning

  • brown chicken
  • beef strips
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Mackerel 

Best recipes to start baby led weaning 

To help you choose the  best recipes to start weaning your baby, I have categoriesed my recipes in recipes for baby led weaning 6 months These are all the amazing recipes I gave to my kids when they were little. When you are ready you can give your baby mini-muffins packed full of veggies and goat cheese, slow roasted chicken tikka masala or even share the experience of Sunday morning pancakes as a family. 

Here are my top recipes that you can start trying. I’m so excited for you! This really is the most exciting time ever!

10 Baby Breakfast Ideas 6 Months +

  1. Raspberry and Buckwheat Pancakes
  2. Apple and Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins
  3. Quinoa & Banana Flourless Pancakes
  4. Almond or peanut butter on lightly toasted bread fingers
  5. Berry and Coconut Chia Pudding
  6. Baby Led Weaning Egg Muffins
  7. Sugar-Free Breakfast Cookies
  8. Wholemeal eggy bread fingers (French Toast)
  9. Weetabix made with whole milk
  10. Banana Bread served with peanut butter

10 Lunch recipes for baby led weaning

  1. Baby Led Weaning Mexican Quinoa Bites
  2. Salmon Fish Cakes with Yogurt and Lime – Served with a side of strawberries quartered
  3. Sweet Pea Falafels and Hummus – serve with a side of a banana spear
  4. Veggie Loaded French Toast Skewers
  5. Broccoli and Cauliflower Egg-Free Fritters – serve with 4 raspberries on the side
  6. Potato, Cabbage and Carrot Healthy Hash Browns – Serve with a side of squashed blueberries
  7. Veggie Loaded Spinach, Pepper and Herb Quiche – Serve with a preloaded spoon of yogurt
  8. Baby Led Weaning Carrot and Cheese Waffles
  9. Little Fishy Salmon Nuggets – serve with steamed broccoli spears
  10. Spinach and Cream Baby Pies – serve with two roasted sweet potato spears

10 Dinner recipes for baby led weaning

  1. Little Baby Lasagnes with egg and dairy free option
  2. Vegan Butternut Squash Creamy Pasta Sauce
  3. Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala for Baby Led Weaning
  4. Healthy Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower
  5. Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Mini Muffin Pies
  6. Cowboy Chilli Baked Bean Pie
  7. Baby-Friendly Salmon Caprese Skewers
  8. Veggie Loaded Baby Burgers with Cajun Sauce – serve with Sweet Potato Fries
  9. Teenie Tiny Baby Meatballs
  10. Super Veggie Loaded Pasta

10 Snack recipes for baby led weaning

  1. Apple Cinnamon and Raisin Sugar-Free BLW Muffins
  2. Blueberry and Coconut Oat Bars
  3. Natural Yogurt with Mashed Berries on a pre-loaded spoon
  4. Sweet Veggie Loaded Muffins
  5. Super Healthy Chickpea Cookies
  6. Healthy Strawberry Blondies
  7. Healthy Chocolate Pancakes for Kids
  8. Healthy Strawberry Tarts for Baby led Weaning
  9. Mango and Passionfruit Popsicles
  10. Mashed Banana with Yogurt and Cocoa Powder (Chocolate Mousse served on a preloaded spoon)

Baby led weaning how to give your baby allergen foods.

If there is a history of allergies in your family, your baby could be at risk. However, the majority of babies won’t have any issues at all. 

  • Give allergen foods from 6 months – This advice has changed in the past 10 years because nutrition changes every single year as we learn more. Early exposure to high allergen foods may actually help reduce the risk of your child developing a food allergy. 
  • Always start when your baby is well – When introducing allergens to your baby always start when your baby is well.
  • Introduce one common allergen food at a time – if you give them everything all at once it is hard to know which one is causing issues.
  • If there is no reaction to the food continue giving the food to your baby at least twice weekly. The more regularly you give food the lower the chance of an allergy developing.
  • Wait 5 days – 1 week before introducing the next allergen. Then repeat again until you have got through all of the foods listed in the graph below.

The main major food allergens are;

Graph Most common food allergies-  celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).

For more information on allergies visit

www.allergyuk.org
www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergies

STEP 4 – Baby Led Weaning HELP, your questions answered

These are all the questions I get asked about baby led weaning. If you have any more to add just email me aileen@babyledfeeding.com and I will add them to the list!

Do babies need teeth to start baby led weaning?

Your baby’s gums are strong enough to chew food without teeth! – If you are a brestfeeding Momma and your baby has clamped their bare gums down on your nipple, then you will know EXACTLY how strong those gums are. (sorry Dads TMI!). For those not breasfeeding, take a clean finger (I use my little finger), blend it and let your baby gnaw on it for a moment. Within a few seconds your finger will be sore. That is becusae your baby’s gums are crazy strong! They are well capable of chewing food without teeth providing it is safe food!

My baby doesn’t eat much with baby led weaning

Don’t panic! – baby led weaning is a novelty at the beginning for your baby. Most babies don’t eat much food until they are about 9 months old and this is completely normal. If your baby seemed super enthusiastic at the beginning and suddently they are eating a less, then the novelty of food might just have worn off.  If your baby is fussy and aggitated it might just be that they can’t quite grasp baby led weaning yet. You are the parent and trust your instints! 

Remember – your baby is getting 75% of all of their nutrition from their milk! They only need small amounts of food.

  • If your baby is hungry, your baby will normally eat.
  • Ensure your baby’s food is not too small to pick up. If it is too small it can be super frustrating for them.
  • Check your baby’s cues and make sure your baby is not full already.
  • Is your baby losing weight? If the answer is no then don’t worry! If your baby is losing weight and not eating then speak to your pediatrician and get some help.
  • Baby-led weaning is a slow process and it takes a while for your baby to become a little foodie. Be patient because it will happen.

Can I mix baby led weaning and purees?

It is a really common question from parents wondering if you can combine traditional and baby led weaning. If you joined the staunch baby led weaning groups you will be ousted for even speaking about spoon feeding. But the most important thing to remember here is – you are the parent and you have to do what feels right for you and your baby. If someone tells you that you are not being true to the baby led approach give them the invisible finger and just walk away! Do not engage Momma! 

I have had this question from many parents over the years wondering is it safe to combine both. The belief around safety is because purees teach a baby to swallow rather than chewing and baby led weaning requires babies to chew. In actual fact, if we really do allow our baby to lead the way, then they will start with whatever method that is right for them! 

By the age of 6 months babies are developmentally ready to have finger foods. So whether you do a mix of both purees and finger foods, it is a good idea to have your baby on the same food as the family by the time they are 12 months.

Remember too, that some babies are not interested in baby led weaning. This can cause stress for parents becuase they feel like a failure when it doesn’t work out as planned. Or you might be worried about your child getting enough nutrients. In times like these, you do what feels right for you and then slowly start the baby led weaning approach with all of the foods listed in Step 1 above. 

If you really want to do the baby led weaning approach you also have the option to pre-load the spoon with pureed food, then hand it to your baby. This is great for thicker foods like mashed carrot with chicken shredded, or mashed avocado.

As long as your baby is getting lots of exposure to a wide variety of finger foods and are eating well, that is all that matters! 

How do I know how much my baby is eating?

Start with one to two pieces of food. Try 1 spear of sweet potato with a salmon burger for example. Then let your baby take the lead! At first they might just take a few bites of both and that is o.k! Watch your babys cues then give them more of the food they want. Let your baby lead the way and guide you. 

So where do you come in! Well your job is to ensure that the food on your table is well balance full of iron rich foods, lots of vegetables and fruits and thats it!

If you place a wipeable tablecloth under your baby’s chair, any food that falls on the floor can be quickly picked back up and safely put back on your baby’s plate. 

Your baby’s tummy is the size of their fist! They only need small amounts of food.

REMEMBER:
IS YOUR BABY LOSING WEIGHT!
IS YOUR BABY HAPPY GO LUCKY OR FUSSY
IS YOUR BABY GIVING YOU PLENTY OF WET AND DIRTY DIAPERS

These are the the correct indications as to whether your baby is eating enough food and drinking enough milk. 

How do I know my baby has had enough?

Your baby will stop eating! It really is that easy when it comes to baby led weaning. This can be a hard thing for parents to grasp because your instint is to try and encourage them to eat one more spoonful. But, there is none of that with this method of weaning. 

Trust your baby as she knows when enough is enough.

How do I introduce cutlery for baby led weaning?

You can start introducing utenstils from the very first meal! There is no need to wait until your baby is older. The best way to start is my being a role model! It all comes down to this with everything right! Learning to use a fork or spoon is a skill and your baby will not get this right off the bat. 

Top tips to start your baby with cutlery

Preloading a spoon – You may have heard the term pre-loading a spoon for baby-led weaning. This simply means you put the food onto the spoon and let your baby put it in their mouth on their own.

Be a role model – show your baby how you use cutlery, your baby will learn from everyone at the table.

How to stop your baby throwing food on the floor

Usually when babies throw food on the floor it is a sign they are not hungry. For most babies doing baby led weaning throwing food on the floor is the exploration of cause and effect. They want to see what happens and also your reaction!

  • Don’t react (well try your best) – If you shout don’t, or rush to pick it up every time, it turns into a game for them. Leave the food then calmly pick it up and say ‘food is for your plate’.
  • Take the food away – If they continously drop food take it away and say ‘don’t worry you can have it when you are hungry’.
  • Get the entire family on board – This one is hard! Try to tell your 6 year old not to laugh when the baby throws a spear of broccoli. The more laugher the more your baby will do it so try to stay calm, don’t react and make it a game with younger kids. Who can do this! 
  • Some babies want to be closer to the table – If the tray on the high chair comes off and you can push your baby towards the table it can really help. It makes your baby even more a part of the meal time.
  • Put the dog outside – dogs love baby led weaning so it is best for both the baby and the dogs health to put him in a different room while your baby is dropping or throwing food.
  • Read the signs! – Your baby is full and now its time for play. Take the food away and have a giggle instead.

Choking and baby-led weaning – how to do baby-led weaning safely

Are you terrified that your child will choke on solid food? You are not alone, because the most common question asked at Baby Led feeding is won’t my child choke if I let him feed himself?. This is a real concern for parents but if done safely, baby led weaning does not have a higher risk of choking compared to tradtional weaning.  

To prevent choking it is really important to be as safe as possible when weaning your baby. Besides ensuring your baby is 6 months old, there are a few more common-sense safety tips that you should follow.

ONLY give soft foods

If you can squash food between your finger and thumb then your baby’s gums are strong enough to chew it. No hard veggies or fruits including; raw carrot, raw apples, raw peppers.

Don’t put food in your babies mouth.

Your baby should be in control of the food they put in their own mouth. Let them explore soft easy to manage foods all by themselves.

Avoid foods that pose a choking hazard.

This includes whole nuts, whole grapes, whole berries, popcorn and hard chunks of fruit or vegetables. EVERY food should be squash-able between your finger and thumb.

Never leave your baby alone

Stay with your baby when they are eating and never leave the room.

DO A FIRST AID COURSE!

I put this is all CAPS because regardless of whether you are worried about choking or not, doing a first aid course is one of the best things you can do as a parent. First aid is a great skill to have and will also completely put your mind at ease when it comes to weaning your baby.

First foods broccoli first foods for baby led weaning broccoli Fussy eaters Starting baby led weaning

Writen by Aileen Cox Blundell - number one bestselling author, award winning blogger and Mum of 3 kiddies who all eat their veggies.

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