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What’s on the menu for baby-led foods?

What is baby led weaning?

More and more parents use baby-led weaning as an approach, as it has gained popularity in recent years. What does that mean?

In baby led weaning, babies are introduced to solids through finger foods that are age-appropriate for their age.

By grabbing, handling, and bringing the food to their mouth, your baby can practice their motor skills. This can also help them discover and learn about different textures, tastes, and smells.  We expect that they will eventually be able to eat some of their food on their own without being spoon-fed.

Your baby has the freedom to play with food and will learn to eat it after playing with it. This is unlike spoon feeding.

We have broken down baby-led weaning foods based on age below. There are certain foods you should avoid altogether, and the most appropriate ones for your baby at each weaning stage.

This guide is intended to help you along the way as you wean your baby.

 

When is it safe to start baby led weaning?

baby led weaning

 

You should wait until your baby is at least 6 months old before introducing baby led weaning.

 

Doctors recommend that you check with them before starting any weaning before 6 months of age. The guidelines may differ in other countries. 

 

Unless your baby is over 6 months, it’s recommended that you start with pureed foods to start.

 

In order to start baby led weaning after six months, your baby must be comfortable doing the following three things:

 

  • Maintain a steady position with their head upright without assistance
  • The ability to pick up food and put it in their mouths has developed fine motor skills
  • Eat instead of chewing and spitting out food
  • When your baby is able to do these things, you can begin introducing baby led weaning.

 

Is it necessary to choose between baby led weaning and puree feeding?

baby led weaning

 

There is no need to choose between puree feeding and baby led weaning; you can combine both. Puree feeding and baby-led weaning don’t have to be mutually exclusive; you can use both strategies simultaneously. Many parents believe that they have to choose between the two. Alternatively, if you feel it’s best, you can offer both purees and finger foods at the same time. In this way, your baby will get both nutritional benefits.

In particular, if your baby doesn’t seem to be eating enough with baby-led weaning, it will help.

Their ability to handle and eat finger foods will improve over time. When that happens, you can gradually phase out purees.

The process of learning to eat food on their own may take a while for babies. Therefore, supplementing their finger food explorations with some purees, for a while, will ensure that they get adequate nutrition and will also enable them to experience baby led weaning.

 

What’s the best way to get started with baby led weaning?

 

It may take a while for babies to learn how to eat on their own. As a parent, you can support them through the weaning process. The following are some ways to get started with baby-led weaning. 

 

Maintain the same amount of milk for the baby

 

You do not have to change your baby’s milk feeds when weaning begins. You should continue to provide your baby with the nutrition she needs through her bottle or breastmilk.

 

Serve soft, mild finger foods as batons

 

Introduce your baby to soft foods that are mild and easy to digest, and then gradually introduce them to textures and tastes your baby will enjoy. To make it easier for your baby to grasp and hold first foods, cut them into slices and batons that are large enough.

 

To make them safe for your baby, make them long enough so that you can fit them in your fist with some sticking out for them to chew on. Using your own index finger as a guide, you can determine the size of these batons. 

 

Provide a wide variety of foods

 

Over the course of the week, give your baby a variety of foods. She will enjoy touching them, tasting them, and playing with them. You shouldn’t rush her or make her eat right away. Let her choose what to eat. Introducing different textures and tastes gradually will help your baby develop healthy eating habits.

 

By the time they turn one, they will eat the same meals as the rest of the family.

 

Are you ready to begin? Listed below are some foods to feed your baby at each feeding stage:

 

6 months of baby-led weaning with first foods

 

Starting with fruit and vegetables that are mild in taste and easy for babies to digest are great choices for your baby’s first foods.

 

Fruit and vegetables cut into batons or slices make great first foods for infants. Their gums can easily mash them about and they are easy to digest.

 

Here are some foods you might like to try:

 

Fruits:

 

  • Apples – soft cooked apple slices
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Nectarine slices
  • Peach slices – soft ripe peaches
  • Pears – ripe slices or steamed pieces
  • Plum slices – ripe slices or steamed pieces

 

Vegetables:

 

  • Broccoli florets – steamed
  • Carrots – steamed or boiled batons
  • Cucumber batons – peeled
  • Green beans – steamed or boiled
  • Peas – cooked
  • Pieces of squash and butternut squash that have been cooked
  • Sweet potato – peeled and cooked pieces

 

Grains:

 

  • Rice
  • Oatmeal

 

Yummy Valley’s Millet Health Mix is ideal for anyone looking for easily digestible baby food.

6 – 8 month Baby Led Weaning Foods

 

Increase the variety of foods available to babies

When your baby has become accustomed to their first soft fruit and vegetable, you can introduce a wider variety of foods, such as lean meats and fish.

 

Vegetables like courgettes usually have the skin removed before serving to babies. Some babies’ stomachs can be affected by the acid in the skin of courgettes and aubergines.

 

Here are some foods that your baby can try as well as continue to enjoy those you have already tried.

 

Fruits:

  • Apricots
  • Mango – ripe and soft pieces
  • Nectarine slices – ripe
  • Peach – ripe and soft
  • Plums

 

Vegetables:

  • Courgettes – peeled and cooked until soft
  • Parsnips – peeled and cooked
  • Pumpkin – soft cooked pieces

 

Meats & Fish:

(all cooked through until soft and tender)

 

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • White fish (avoid larger fish and check thoroughly for bones)

 

Grains:

  • Fingers of bread, pitta or toast
  • Pasta pieces
  • Barley
  • Breadsticks
  • Unsalted rice cakes
  • Oatcakes

 

Try Kerala Banana Powder by Yummy Valley for nutrient-rich baby food.

What if my baby gags?

baby led weaning

 

It’s quite common to gag as you start a baby-led weaning process. Don’t be concerned about your baby choking. In most cases, it’s just their way of pushing foods forward that need a bit more chewing.

 

Your baby may start gagging if they are seated upright or lean slightly forward so the food they are chewing falls out of their mouth.

 

When your child is learning to chew and cope with lumps and textures, watching them gag is a frustrating experience, but if you keep calm and help them, they tend to cope.

 

However you choose to wean your baby, it’s always a good idea to have some first aid training so that you can handle choking issues properly.

 

You should avoid all foods that are choking hazards. Among them are:

 

  • whole nuts
  • grapes
  • marshmallows
  • hot dogs
  • popcorn  

 

Baby led weaning: Notes

 

If you are thinking about starting baby led weaning, I hope the points above will have cleared your doubts. However, now that you know the importance of baby led weaning, there is no reason for you to delay it any further. Start gradually with more and more solids at each meal, and you will be amazed at how much children enjoy variety in their diet as well as intellectual growth, health and not to mention all the fun.

 

Feed your baby right.