I am writing this blog for Sophia and her Mummy who have just started baby led weaning, As you can see in the photo above she is enjoying discovering food! I hope this helps you and other Mummies who sometimes get stuck on ideas for baby led weaning. Enjoy!
Baby Led Weaning Fruits
Apple – the texture is somewhat harder than pear, so raw apple is not ideal for toothless babies just getting started with solids. Steam or bake chunks of apple until tender before serving.
Avocado – ‘nature’s perfect baby food’, and with good reason. Itâ€™s an excellent source of healthy fats that requires no cooking. Avocado is best served in larger chunks for baby to get their gums into.
Banana – this is best served in large chunks for baby to gnaw, as they will be easier for them to hold.
Melon – a very soft, juicy chunk of cantaloupe or watermelon is ideal for baby led weaning and provides lots of nutrients too.
Peaches and Nectarines – these can be given to baby raw (if nice and soft) or lightly cooked.
Pear – this can be served raw (if soft, ripe and juicy) or lightly steamed if the texture doesn’t seem ‘gummable’.
Plums – like peaches, these often have a ‘squishy’ texture when raw, but if they seem a little hard, then steam them lightly before serving.
Handy Tip – Foods like banana and avocado can be notoriously difficult to pick up and become more slippery the more they are handled. A good solution is to cut them with a crinkle cutter, which makes ridges and gives your baby something to grip!
Baby Led Weaning Vegetables
Asparagus Spears – asparagus spears are easily held in little fists. Don’t cook asparagus in iron pots – the tannins in the veggie react with the iron and turn the spears a funny colour.
Aubergine- rich in antioxidants, cooked aubergine will really help expand your baby’s menu and develop those taste buds. Do try the aubergine before serving as it can sometimes be bitter and this can irritate the lining of your baby’s tummy.
Beetroot (cooked) – VERY messy but so nutritious! Check the texture of your cooked beets before serving – I find they are sometimes a bit too hard to gum efficiently, even when fully cooked.
Broccoli – highly recommended as a food for baby led weaners, thanks to the built in ‘handle’ provided by the stem, steamed and tender broccoli florets are a great source of vitamins, minerals, calcium and fibre.
Butternut Squash – another great source of beta-carotene, chunks of cooked butternut squash are wonderful for baby to gnaw on.
Cauliflower – somewhat less popular than broccoli, cauliflower florets are good for your baby too, providing antioxidants, vitamins and folates.
Carrots – steam chunks of mature, larger carrots which are richer in nutrients than ‘baby’ carrots.
Courgette – be careful to cook these just right. Chunks of courgette need to be done just enough to be tender enough to gnaw on, but not to the extent that they are watery, squishy and hard to pick up!
Cucumber – are not particularly a rich source of nutrients but can have a lovely, soothing effect on sore gums when baby is teething.
Handy Tip. If some vegetables in olive oil and then roasting them in the oven gives them a thin ‘skin’, which makes them less slippery and easier to pick up!
Green Beans – these are a great shape for baby to grab in his fist… although getting the other end into his mouth may present a challenge at first! Cut longer beans in half.
Pepper (red) – cut into chunks then roasted, red bell peppers are yum. You can roast red bell peppers very quickly and easily.
Potato – this might require a little extra flavoring as our little ones have always found plain white potato to be rather bland. Try tossing potato pieces with a little olive oil and crushed garlic before cooking, or sprinkling them with cheese once they’re done.
Pumpkin – not just for Halloween! Pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene and cooked pumpkin chunks make a great (if messy) first food for baby led weaning.
Sweet Potato – steam in chunks or bake whole in its skin – a highly nutritious food that little ones love!
Swede – with its lovely, earthy flavour, cooked swede also has a texture that’s easy to gum!
Bread – very soft bread can stick to the roof of baby’s mouth, forming a dense clump that can pose a choking hazard – so please beware! I have always found that lightly toasted bread is easier to handle. If you buy commercially made bread, stick with whole wheat varieties, but avoid brands with large, uncut seeds, as these may present a choking hazard to younger babies. Alternatively, try some homemade bread.
Brown Rice – far more nutritious than white, brown rice is easy to eat with the fingers when slightly overcooked, you can then stick the grains together in ‘clumps’.
Cheese (pieces) – cheese can be served in chunks, or grated/shredded.
Eggs (scrambled) – some pediatricians still recommend offering the yolks only (which can be scrambled by themselves) until baby is 12 months of age. This is because egg whites can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
Fish (cooked) – triple check for bones!
Meat and Chicken – these are best served in chunks for gnawing. Little cubes of cooked meat may not only be difficult to pick up before baby develops the pincer grip, they may also pose a choking hazard. A good alternative is to make meatballs. Little ones will love lamb to suck on, however it can be a little chewy.
Pasta (cooked) – use whole grain varieties wherever possible.
Tofu Chunks – a good source of protein, calcium and iron, tofu is easily cut into manageable pieces for baby.