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Broccoli for Baby Led Weaning (with Recipes!)

Broccoli for baby led weaning is a nutritious food to serve to your little ones. You can prepare it many ways and serve it with several flavors. Here are some of our favorite baby food broccoli combinations.

If you’re thinking about serving baby led weaning broccoli, I’ve got tips, recipes, and more, including how to cut broccoli for baby led weaning.

As you may know, baby led weaning is a food approach to introduce solids to your baby.

With the baby led weaning feeding approach, you typically skip the special foods marketed for babies, like jarred pureed foods. Instead, you feed them what you’re eating.

This has worked well for our family with my three kiddos, because they learn to eat what we eat.

If you want more information about that, you can read about introducing solids and baby led weaning foods for 6 months.

baby sitting in high chair at 9 months

In addition, you offer finger foods that baby can pick up themselves, rather than spoon-feeding them.

You can see this breakdown of the benefits of baby led weaning vs. purees.

Baby Led Weaning Broccoli

A powerhouse vegetable loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, and antioxidants, broccoli should absolutely be on your baby’s plate. Plus, broccoli is easy for kiddos to hold by themselves.

So when can babies eat broccoli? How are you supposed to cook it? Why should you introduce broccoli?

broccoli and asparagus on wooden cutting board

Let’s talk about how broccoli for babies fits into this approach, and everything you need to know about incorporating broccoli for baby led weaning.

When Can Babies Eat Broccoli?

Your baby is usually ready for broccoli and other solid foods around 6 months. But it’s more important to focus on their development, rather than age.

You may notice that around the 5-6 month mark, they become more interested in what you are eating.

  • Sitting up unassisted – While it may be exciting, hold off on solids until they can sit up unassisted. They should also have good neck strength and control—with the ability to hold up their head.
  • Tongue thrust reflex – Another thing to look for is what they do with their tongue. Their tongue thrust reflex, which is used to push everything out of their mouths, will go away at around this age.
  • Pincer grasp – You want to wait until babies have developed their pincer grasp before introducing broccoli and other solids—that way they can bring the food to their mouths themselves.
  • Teeth are not necessary – Even without teeth, your baby may be able to chew just fine, with their jaws moving in an up-and-down motion. If it doesn’t look perfect, that’s okay.

Remember, the new textures introduced in baby led weaning will help them hone in on many of these skills, so they will continue to develop.

Baby biting into turkey meatballs for baby

When your baby is showing developmental signs of readiness, you can supplement breastmilk/formula with complementary foods.

That means that they will still get the majority of their necessary nutrients from either breastmilk/formula. While solids can provide valuable nutrients, it’s initially also about learning and experimenting with new flavors.

Nutrition in Broccoli

Of course, we are interested in the nutrition content too, and broccoli for baby led weaning is a great addition to a baby’s diet.

spoons and baby hand reaching for broccoli

Broccoli is rich in nutrients that are perfect for developing babies. Here are some of the nutrients that broccoli offers.

  • Fiber – A cruciferous vegetable, broccoli contains dietary fiber, which can enhance your baby’s gut health, improve digestion, and prevent constipation.
  • Calcium – Calcium is essential for not only bone health but many other functions in the body. Baby needs to also have Vitamin D for optimal calcium absorption.
  • Potassium – Broccoli is also a good source of potassium, a key player in heart health.
  • In addition, broccoli is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamin A promotes good vision and eye health. The vitamin C in broccoli can help improve the absorption of iron, which is essential for blood cells and neurological development. Vitamin K is involved in blood clotting and bone-building.
  • Antioxidants – The plant compounds in broccoli have amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer benefits.

As you can see, broccoli is nutrient-rich—and adults aren’t the only ones that can benefit from eating it.

How to Prepare Broccoli for Baby Led Weaning

You can use frozen or fresh broccoli when serving broccoli to your baby. If you’re using fresh produce, make sure you wash it adequately.

Make sure to cook the broccoli until it is soft. Steaming on the stove or in the microwave is a wonderful way to preserve the nutrients in broccoli for baby led weaning, while achieving a tender texture.

soft baby led weaning broccoli in pan

Additionally, broccoli can be roasted or cooked into recipes to introduce the flavor of broccoli in different ways.

We typically add them to our favorite baby quinoa recipes or serve alongside lentils for babies, since the Vitamin C in broccoli aids in iron absorption.

Avoid raw broccoli, as it can be a choking hazard.

Preparing Broccoli For 6 Month Old

Many people may choose to start with purees, which is fine. You can puree broccoli with an iron-rich food, like chicken for baby led weaning.

While you may be tempted to cut it up into bite-sized pieces, or baby broccoli, to avoid choking, you’re actually better off sticking with the entire floret as the ideal baby led weaning broccoli size.

In the beginning of baby led weaning, bigger pieces of broccoli are easier for babies to hang on to and bring to their mouths.

baby eating broccoli florets

For early eaters, you can also offer a steamed broccoli stem/stalk, since it’s easy and thin for baby to hold. Make sure to remove the outer rough skin.

If you’re concerned about the round stalk breaking off, you could cut it lengthwise.

You can pair it with other flavors, too, like asparagus or any of these parsnip recipes for babies.

broccoli and asparagus on wooden cutting board

Broccoli for 9 Month Old

For 9-12 month olds, you can start to serve broccoli in smaller pieces or florets. Babies typically have the pincer grasp at this stage and can pick up smaller pieces.

Another option is finely chopping or mashing the florets so your baby can get some spoon practice.

Broccoli for 12+ Months

Typically, babies age 1 and older can handle broccoli in large or small florets, whole or bite-size.

In this age, you can start to offer utensils (we love ezpz utensils) to either spoon the broccoli or pre-load it for baby to feed themselves.

Since they are typically more competent at this age, you don’t need to steam the broccoli for as long.

Incorporate broccoli into any dish you desire.

mac and cheese with pears and broccoli in two white bowls on white counter

How to Serve Broccoli to Babies

When thinking about serving broccoli for baby led weaning, don’t over-complicate it. Keep it simple.

You can put the broccoli right on their highchair tray and let them dig in.

It can be served with oil (a healthy fat) as the perfect first food, or alongside any thing else you may be offering.

You can also choose to put their food on a divided plate or mat. I like the silicone ezpz mats that have different sections for multiple foods, and stick on to the tray.

9 month baby eating sweet potatoes

If you’ve steamed and mashed the broccoli, you have a couple of options for serving.

  • You could place the broccoli in a feeding pacifier, which makes it easier for baby to hold and self-serve.
  • I also like to serve broccoli in an ezpz bowl, or any bowl that suctions to the tray so they can get used to holding a spoon.
  • You can also add mini broccoli florets (cut into small pieces) into baby led weaning muffins.

IMPORTANT TIP

Make sure that when your baby is eating, you are close by to supervise.


Baby Led Weaning Broccoli Recipes

The key to expanding your baby’s palate is offering many types of foods in a variety of ways and with different flavors.

Did you know that babies can have spices?

You can also add variety by cooking broccoli with other ingredients. Change it up by trying steamed broccoli AND some new broccoli recipes.

If you’re looking for some awesome ideas for a baby led weaning broccoli recipe, look no further – we’ve rounded up some delicious ones!

Whether you need broccoli for a baby at 6 months, or for 12 months who is eating full meals, you can take what you need from this list, and make adaptations as necessary.

Broccoli Recipes for Baby Led Weaning

These tasty broccoli recipes for baby-led weaning provide healthy and flavorful ways to serve broccoli to baby early on.

baby eating broccoli

References:

  • Syed RU, Moni SS, Break MKB, Khojali WMA, Jafar M, Alshammari MD, Abdelsalam K, Taymour S, Alreshidi KSM, Elhassan Taha MM, Mohan S. Broccoli: A Multi-Faceted Vegetable for Health: An In-Depth Review of Its Nutritional Attributes, Antimicrobial Abilities, and Anti-inflammatory Properties. Antibiotics (Basel). 2023 Jul 7;12(7):1157. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics12071157. PMID: 37508253; PMCID: PMC10376324.
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