Baby-led weaning is an essential period in a baby’s developmental circle. As you introduce your baby to small bits of soft finger foods, you should support your baby throughout the entire journey.
When engaging in baby-led weaning, you need to ensure that you introduce the baby to healthy foods. Also, it is important that you offer a variety of foods with good taste and flavours.
In this all-important article, we have discussed everything you need to know about baby-led weaning and the best first foods for your baby to achieve the best results. Let us get to it – shall we?
Baby-Led Weaning Recipes – Best First Foods for Baby-Led Weaning
As you begin your baby-led weaning journey, the choice of first foods you introduce to the baby matters a lot. It goes a long way in determining your success and possible failure as far as weaning the baby in time is concerned.
No matter the approach you choose to employ in your process, finger foods will play an important role. Your baby-led weaning journey cannot be complete without the right recipes and foods. So, the real question is; what are the best recipes and foods for baby-led weaning?
Before we go into the discussion about the best foods and recipes, let us start from the basics. Let’s tell you all you need to know about baby-led weaning, and the best way to go about it.
What is Baby-Led Weaning?
The primary idea behind baby-led weaning is simple. It involves the decision and conscious approach by babies and caregivers to follow the baby’s lead to wean them.
To achieve this, the parent or caregiver slowly introduces soft finger foods to a baby’s diet during breastfeeding or formula bottle feeding. It enables the baby to get used to finger foods before breastfeeding, or formula feeding is stopped.
So, it makes it easier to wean them as the babies themselves will become used to the finger foods and often prefer them. One reason for this is that the baby will enjoy the practice of having to feed themselves. Babies love to lift food into their own mouths – and the moment they find out it is tasty and enjoyable, there is no going back.
Baby-led weaning, also known as BLW, is also a healthy way of improving family mealtimes and early weaning. It also helps babies to quickly adapt to self-feeding as against being spoon-fed.
When Should You Begin Baby-Led Weaning?
According to experts, the best time to begin baby-led weaning is when your baby is six months of age and upwards. It is highly advisable that parents and caregivers engage in baby-led weaning as it comes with numerous benefits – especially for the baby.
Apart from introducing the baby early to finger foods, it helps to improve motor skills in the baby. It also prevents overweight in the baby as it can help to regulate the baby’s feeding habits. How? When a baby self-feeds, they are not likely to eat as much as they would when you feed them. In addition to that, it also saves the parent or caregiver a lot of work and gives them the much-needed time to attend to other things.
Best First Foods for Baby – What are the Best First Baby Foods?
When introducing first foods to your baby, you should keep two things in mind – the nutritional value and the introduction process. Since your baby has been used to breast milk and perhaps a formula, switching them to the wrong solids can make them malnourished.
You need to ensure that the first foods you are offering the baby are highly nutritious. So, it is advisable for you to offer foods that fall into the list of best first foods for babies. They include; iron-fortified cereals, beans, puréed meats, and poultry.
Secondly, you need to ensure that you are introducing the baby to these solids one ingredient at a time. Yes, this is not the time to compound the baby’s diet – it is way too early for that. You should introduce the baby to the new diet one at a time and monitor the process closely.
Best First Foods for Baby-Led Weaning
Are you looking out for the best first foods for baby-led winning? Then look no further because you are in the right place. In this session, we will highlight some of the best first foods for babies that make it to the top of the list everywhere.
Below, we have listed some foods that you can rely on to take your baby on that all-important journey. They are nutritious, stress-free, and have exciting flavours – and they will be a perfect fit for your baby as they go through this all-important circle. Also, they are everyday foods that you can find in every convenience store in your neighbouhood. Let us check them out!
10 Best First Foods for Baby-Led Weaning
Check out our ten best first food ideas for baby-led weaning. Note that we have listed them in alphabetical order – No, not in their order of importance. Smiles!
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potato
Baby Led Weaning Recipes
As you introduce your baby to solids, you will need to start preparing some exciting recipes—the main reason is to offer them a more balanced diet and meals they can enjoy. Below, we have highlighted some exciting recipes and their preparation procedures. Feel free to adopt our best baby-led weaning recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For Breakfast – Baby-Led Weaning Recipe for Breakfast
Yoghurt Pancakes with Berries
Trust me when I say this is one recipe your baby will love to wake up to. Yoghurt pancakes with berries are the perfect breakfast that will tempt even the pickiest eater. What I love most about this breakfast is that it offers your baby a sweet breakfast without the presence of sugar.
Yes, the fruits provide all the sweetness you need – and that is just incredible! Note that this measurement should get you at least five pancakes.
Ingredients Needed to Make Yoghurt Pancakes with Berries
- 1 Egg
- 350g Greek Yoghurt
- 150ml Milk
- 200g Flour
- 1 Ripe Banana
- Frying Oil
- Knob of Unsalted Butter
- Berries (I prefer Raspberries and Blueberries)
Step-By-Step Method of Preparing Yoghurt Pancakes with Berries
- Mix the egg, milk, and flour in a bowl.
- Then add the flour and banana to the mix, and whisk thoroughly until it is smooth and even.
- Heat up your oil in a pan. I would advise you to use a large non-stick pan.
- Add butter to the oil and place scoops of your flour mixture into the pan.
- Allow to cook for two minutes, and then flip to the other side until both sides are cooked and light brown in colour.
- Take out of the pan and serve the pancakes with freshly diced blueberries and raspberries.
For Lunch – Baby-Led Weaning Recipe for Lunch
Mini Energy Balls
A perfect lunch should be filling, and provide energy-giving nutrients. If this is what you desire for your baby, then say no more because mini energy balls are the best choice for you.
Below, we have highlighted the ingredients you need, and we have also discussed the step-by-step process of making this delicious baby-led weaning recipe for lunch.
Ingredients Needed to Make Mini Energy Balls
- 200g/ 7 Oz Pitted Dates
- 3 Tablespoons Smooth Peanut Butter
- 3 Tablespoons Sunflower Seeds
- 125g/4 ½ Oz Porridge Oats
- 40g /1 ½ Oz Raisins
- 20g/ ¾ Oz Pecans, Very Finely Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
- 20g/ ¾ Oz Rice Krispies
Step-By-Step Method of Preparing Mini Energy Balls
- Remove the seeds from the dates, place them in boiling water, cover the lid, and hit for about 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan of dates from the heat and allow it to soak for another 5 minutes.
- Blend the soaked dates in a food processor until smooth.
- Place peanut butter and the date mixture in a saucepan and melt it over low heat.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and all the other ingredients into the pan.
- Mix everything well and shape it into little balls. You should be able to get about 30 balls from this measurement.
- Place the balls on a plate and put them in a refrigerator to chill before serving.
Note: Remember that you can preserve the energy balls in an air-tight container for about five days. Also, ensure to serve with yogurt or a whole milk drink for the best results.
For Lunch – Baby-Led Weaning Recipe for Dinner
Broccoli, Potato & Chicken Bites
This meal will make your baby smile to bed and wake up happy. This Broccoli, Potato & Chicken Bites meal is a kids’ favourite, and I can assure you that your baby would love it. The potato bites are soft and can be easily picked up by the baby. So, they would enjoy eating it for the taste, flavour, and feel. So, let us discuss how you can make this exciting dish for your baby.
Ingredients Needed to Make Broccoli, Potato & Chicken Bites
- 75g Broccoli Florets
- 110g Cooked Cold Mashed Potato
- 25g Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Sliced Spring Onions
- 60g Diced Cooked Chicken
- 40g Dried Breadcrumbs
- 1 Beaten Egg
Step-By-Step Method of Preparing Broccoli, Potato & Chicken Bites
- Steam the broccoli for about 5 to 6 minutes until it becomes tender.
- Remove the broccoli and allow it to cool down before dicing it finely
- Mix the Chicken, potato, cheese, broccoli, and spring onions with half of the breadcrumbs and half of the egg mix.
- Shape the dough into eight sausage shapes, and coat the rolls in the remaining egg mixture.
- Roll the glazed sausages in the breadcrumbs and allow them to chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat little oil in a non-stick pan and fry each side for a couple of seconds each until it is heated through and turns golden brown.
- Your delicious Broccoli, Potato & Chicken Bites is ready for serving.
What are the Dos and Don’ts of Baby-Led Weaning?
I know you are pretty excited about baby-led weaning, and you are so eager to try it out. But hold on and take a deep breath. Before attempting to carry out all we have discussed about baby-led weaning, you must consider the dos and don’ts first.
Below, we have highlighted the major dos and don’ts that relate to baby-led weaning. Study them carefully to ensure that you take the right steps in your baby-led weaning activities.
- Ensure that you confirm from your medical adviser that your baby is ready for baby-led weaning
- Before engaging a baby in baby-led weaning, ensure that the baby can sit upright on his or her own. This will help to avoid choking and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Always take it slow and begin with soft foods like bananas, vegetables, and egg yolk.
- You should always supervise your baby when they are self-feeding to avoid choking.
- Remember, this is called baby-led. So, ensure that your baby takes the lead. Allow them to pick up the foods themselves and self-feed. Please do not force them.
- Ensure that you stick to healthy food choices in order to prevent malnutrition.
- Try not to panic when you notice your baby struggling with chewing the food. If you are sure that they are soft enough, allow the baby to take his or her time.
- Do not rush the baby. You should allow the baby to take his or her time to get used to the process and enjoy the meal. This is the only way they would want to continue with it.
- Don’t serve foods that are known to cause choking hazards, like, popcorn, hot dog, raisins, etc.
- Do not offer too many different foods at the same time. Instead, start by offering one or a maximum of two types of foods in order not to overwhelm the baby.
Benefits of Baby-Led Weaning
Besides the benefit of early weaning for babies, baby-led weaning helps promote good eating habits in babies. It also helps to introduce your baby to solid foods early.
In addition to this, it promotes good motor skills in the baby at an early age. It has also been discovered that baby-led weaning protects babies against excessive weight gain. Lastly, it prevents picky eating in babies, as they have been introduced to solids and self-feed early enough.