We’re getting into a groove of baby led weaning with Hannah. We also did baby led weaning with Camryn and really enjoyed that child feeding method.
Since people have shown interest in our experience with introducing solids, I figured I’d share our story of how to start blw (baby led weaning).
Note that while I am a Registered Dietitian, I am not giving specific feeding advice and always advise consulting with your pediatrician for your child’s specific needs.
Some people may be intimidated by the idea of how to do baby led weaning at 6 months because it’s scary to watch your child possibly choke. Also, it’s messy. Very messy.
I do recommend having some equipment to help with the mess. You can see a list of some of my favorites here!
Many people have asked about our baby led weaning 6 month schedule and right now, it varies. I try to offer Hannah solids at least once a day. Sometimes it works out to be twice if I can sit down with her at breakfast.
But, typically it’s dinner time since we’re all sitting down together.
It’s really important to me that she experiences sitting down with all of us – and that’s a core component of baby led weaning.
Baby watches what you are eating, and try to model it. Baby eats what you eat.
One book which has been an amazing resource for baby led weaning is Born to Eat.
It’s written by two dietitians who did baby led feeding with their children, but it also talks about the benefits outside of just introducing solids, such as their relationship with food later in life and reducing picky eating.
We typically do three things before starting baby led weaning!
In my experience, the best way to start BLW is to just start! Have your little one sit at the table with you, even before they are showing signs of readiness.
This can start to introduce them to family meals and watch us eat and chew. Babies are really smart and are observing everything!
Once your babe has shown signs of readiness and you’ve checked with your pediatrician, choose a first food to offer baby.
We’ve done sweet potatoes, avocado or oatmeal as first foods but honestly, there’s no right or wrong answer. We love this sweet potato spinach baby food recipe.
Everyone may have their own forms of these things that work for them, but this is what we love!
It’s not really recommended to start baby led weaning before 6 months. I know you can be excited to introduce solids, but you want to make sure your little one is ready.
Signs of readiness include:
I would definitely check with your pediatrician (babies usually have a 6 month old checkup anyway) about signs of readiness.
You can also review this research review about developmental readiness in infants and progressing from breastfeeding to the introduction of complementary foods.
I know that introducing allergen foods to baby is scary, for the fear that they will have an allergic reaction and you’ll have to rush to the pediatrician.
That is why you should always consult with your pediatrician first before starting. Especially if you have a family history of allergies or eczema.
There still remains confusion about the early introduction of peanuts and other allergen foods, for fear of causing adverse food reactions.
However, the latest research actually encourages the early introduction of allergen foods (even the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines recommend this).
For instance, for introducing baby to peanut butter, we will probably mix some no sugar added peanut butter powder with breastmilk.
I talk about when to introduce eggs to baby in this post as well.
Here’s how to cook eggs for baby led weaning:
When making scrambled eggs, I’ll usually mix a little breastmilk in there too. I don’t want it to be too dry for her to pick up.
Hard to say! But the latest research does show that introducing allergen foods earlier may decrease the risk of food allergies.
This article does a great job of breaking down the evidence.
If you have specific questions about dairy and egg free baby led weaning, I would consult with your pediatrician, especially knowing that the risk of allergies is decreased offering these allergen foods early.
However, every family is different and family history of allergies is important to consider!
Here are some of the foods we’ve introduced so far:
When possible, I’ll offer two foods, generally an iron source and Vitamin C source food. The reason for this is because Vitamin C helps enhance iron absorption.
I also prefer to offer vegetables first since fruits are sweeter. I don’t think there is definitive research on that, or how introducing certain foods before others may develop certain taste preferences.
But, the way I see it, it’s very likely that kids will like fruit because they are sweet.
So, I want to encourage them to like vegetables as well, so I try to introduce those more often right now.
What size food to serve for baby led weaning likely depends on the age and development of your child.
As they progress, you can likely serve less things in finger shapes and more in small shapes, like beans and small diced shapes since they can pick up easier.
Those seem to be easier baby led weaning foods for 8 months. You can also start serving mixed meals then, like casseroles.
In the beginning, as baby is developing hand-eye coordination and grabbing food, it’s probably easiest to cut food into long strips or finger shapes. It’s usually easier to pick up this way!
Some food that can’t be cut (ie – oatmeal, mashed sweet potatoes, berries), you can preload onto a baby spoon for them to self feed.
As baby advances, you can start offering smaller sized foods that they can pick up.
Here are some of my favorite baby led weaning breakfast ideas for 6 months.
Here’s some foods you’ll want to avoid in baby led weaning.
For the most part, though, baby CAN eat what you eat.
Did you do baby led weaning? What was your babies’ favorite foods?
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