One of the biggest questions I get – how do I go about baby led weaning? Goldie is our 4th baby and I have done some version of baby led weaning with all 4 of my kids. I am fairly confident in my abilities to come up with great baby and kid friendly meals that are safe and healthy for them during that first year or two, and have even navigated a food allergy with 2 kids.
This post will walk you through how I go about baby led weaning as well as what some of my go to meals are!
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What is Baby Led Weaning?
If you are a first time mom baby led weaning might be such a foreign term for you. So what what is it exactly? The definition from Wikipedia is:
“Baby Led Weaning a method of adding complementary foods to a baby’s diet of breastmilk or formula. A method of food progression, BLW facilitates the development of age appropriate oral motor control while maintaining eating as a positive, interactive experience . Baby-led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by “self-feeding” from the very beginning of their experiences with food.”
So basically to break that down – instead of feeding your baby purees you do a combination of purees and baby friendly adult foods.
I personally don’t start food until 6 months old with my babies. That is personal preference, but I have found that they are content in not starting until then and honestly especially as I had more kids – I relished the time I had less work during meal time.
For the first couple of weeks I do stick to mostly puree type foods. I get them used to swallowing and get their feet wet (and mine) to see how they do eating. I have found that each baby has had different gag reflexes and comfort levels when it comes to eating.
Go to foods for those first couple weeks:
Mashed bananas – but tread lightly because they can constipate your baby really easily.
Mashed Avocado – a great food for them to love. However ALL of my kids have hated it ha.
Baby food – this is a great time to just stick to good ol baby food. You can make it or you can buy it but get them used to swallowing.
6.5 Months – 1 Year ish
Ages on here are just an estimate. But basically this is all about when you are ready to start the baby led weaning and throw some real food at them. A general rule I think you should follow – I am an allergy mom.
I have 2 kids with an egg allergy (which is in everything I swear haha). So when it comes to the higher allergen foods – introduce them ALONE and plain the first time.
Before you get into complex recipes you want to know if they are okay with the top allergens like Milk, Egg, PB, nuts and so forth. Normally how I handle that is for breakfast I will do just PB on my finger for a day or two. If they are okay with that then I consider it passed. Scrambled eggs are another one. Basically test those things so you know when you are offering normal food they are good.
Then just start by giving them small soft foods first – think strawberries, noodles, things like that. My general size reference is a cheerio.
Below is a list of both store bought and homemade foods I do a lot for the first year. I am not a fancy cook as a mom, so I go very simple.
Tips for Cutting
Never EVER cut round foods in half – they are still just as much of a choking hazard. quarter them. Pizza cutters are the best thing ever for baby foods – you can cut things super fast.
I am working on a blog post that will be up in the next week or so with great recommendations on my favorite kitchen tools that make feeding your family easier.
Foods I do a lot the First Year
- Gerber puffs and cheetoh puff type things
- Peanut Butter puffs – they have them at trader joes or here online. These are a great way to keep them from developing a peanut butter allergy!
- Adult cereal
- YoBaby yogurt
- Sandwich – I take bread and heat cheese and lunch meat up on it in the microwave. Smush it together then cut it into small squares with a pizza cutter
- Annies pasta – a huge go to for us. For added protein mix the powder with plain greek yogurt instead of milk, or to add tomato use this tomato soup instead of the milk. (The tomato soup is better with the white cheddar). You can add veggies or canned tuna or ground beef to this too!
- Pancakes – make your own and add cinnamon and finely grated carrots and or zucchini for veggies. Sometimes I add a little syrup to the batter because I don’t give the tiny age syrup.
- Spaghetti with ground beef
- Pasta with olive oil, canned tuna, cooked broccoli and feta and a splash of olive oil is a favorite for my kids.
- Any Fruit
- Cooked Veggies
- Black Beans – serve on their tray with shredded cheese – I just rinse them under hot water to warm them
- Cut up lunch meat and a cut up cheese stick
- Cut up olives
- Pasta with pesto
- White chicken chili – this is my go to recipe
- We also love to give Goldie the fruit and veggie type pouches with these toppers – they make them so they can’t squeeze it all over and kind of have to work for the food, but have been one of my favorite things with Goldie.
When kids are this age it’s a great time to add bold flavors and spices where you can to get them used to it. Add in veggies anywhere you can to things like quesadillas, sandwiches, and pastas. you can bake kale down and let it get crispy then crumble it and add it to so many recipes. Just play around with it.
Think easy meals – and anything you’re eating that is soft. So if you are having lasagna give them lasagna. But if you are having chicken Pesto sandwiches maybe just give them cheese and chicken with pesto on it.
Feeding The Older Toddlers
Many of these meals have remained go to meals for me. But I will say that I have a rule when it comes to lunches as my kids get older. I am a stay at home mom so we have a rule that I don’t cook for lunch. It has to be microwaved or cold just like it would be for school.
That may sound harsh but I don’t like to cook and don’t want to do it all day long. I also generally go with cleaner lunches.
Go to Foods:
- Many of the foods above remain
- Salami and cheese sticks
- English Muffin Pizzas
- Hot dogs plain or hot dogs wrapped in flat outs in the air fryer
- Cheesy Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Pizza – if you do homemade pizzas make it fun for them to add their own items
- Frozen Taquitos haha
- Cheese and hot dogs, or ham or pizza toppings in croissants wrapped up.
You get the idea – I like easy meals you can throw together in just a few minutes – I pair them with a lot of raw veggies, and fruit. I don’t do a lot of side dishes for my kids – I try to stick to a main course they will eat and do veggies and fruits as the side.
They do cracker type things for snacks so this makes them gravitate to the fruits and veggies if they are still hungry or don’t love the main dish! With baby led weaning your kids will likely be used to eating what you eat – so you shouldn’t have to do special meals, but this is a good example of kid friendly meals.
We got in a habit of doing different food at times for our kids because Jack and Goldie can not eat a lot of what we eat with their allergies, so that has made our baby led weaning slightly modified from the typical.
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Hopefully this gave you some great ideas on what to feed your kids and toddlers. I think that it’s easy to think that baby led weaning is hard or complicated, but hopefully this shows you that it is really meant to be an easier way to feed your little one! If you have questions feel free to Dm me via Instagram (@arinsolange) or comment below!