It’s a major milestone when it’s time for Baby to start their first foods. But if you thought that you can only give your baby jarred peaches that you’d find sitting on a store shelf, think again. Many parents are looking to find fresher options to feed their babies and are taking it one step further than cooking up carrots and mashing them up in a blender. If you’re ready to put your little one in charge of their lunch (and breakfast and dinner, too), you might want to try some baby-led weaning foods. Chances are, your baby will find this a delicious alternative to spoon-fed meals.
What Is Baby-Led Weaning?
But what is baby-led weaning? Well, when your child is ready to start solids, it’s up to the baby (and not the parents) to feed themselves with smaller food pieces that aren’t, ahem, purely purees. “Baby-led weaning is when a baby guides the introduction of solid foods,” says Jenna Katt, MS, MNN-RNC, FNP-C, IBCLC, a lactation consultant. “Instead of purees and mushed up spoon feeding, parents will cut soft food into small pieces.”
Imagine a meal where you can all sit down to eat together — including Baby. It’s a lot to take in, right? That’s the beauty of baby-led weaning. “Parents can simply choose what foods they want to introduce to their baby first, whether they want the source to be fresh or frozen and enjoy the food prep process,” explains Trista Best, RD, a Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements. And while it can certainly be exciting to explore new flavors and textures, be sure to keep the food you’re serving safe. Adds Best: “An infant’s first foods should consist of a variety of fruit and vegetables with potential allergens spaced apart by three or more days.”
What Are Some Baby-Led Weaning Foods To Try?
If you’re looking for some first foods inspo, you can head down the baby aisle of your local supermarket aisle and see what types of jarred fruits and veggies are available for babies. And then, if you want to make some baby-led weaning foods of your own, simply stroll over to the produce section of said supermarket and buy fresher options.
Before beginning any new foods, be sure to speak with your child’s pediatrician to ensure that your child is ready for this next phase. Once you’re ready to serve your baby some healthier baby-led weaning foods, these fruits and veggies are a good place to start, according to Best:
- Green beans
- Sweet potato (roasted)
- Apples (cut into straw form)
- Cooked carrots
- Chicken (boiled / cut into strips)
- Thick sliced mango
If you want to make a mini meal for your future foodie, you can try these two-ingredient recipes that are big on flavor — and Baby will enjoy them, too.
1 slice whole wheat (or white) toast
1/4 avocado, mashed
Toast bread. Mash avocado and slather on bread. Cut toast into four long strips and serve.
Roasted Broccoli Florets:
1 cup broccoli
1 tsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss broccoli and olive oil together in a bowl. Place on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Serve.
When you’re looking for some baby-led weaning foods to try, you can stick with simple, single ingredients or you can even make a mini meal for your child. Sure, it might get messy, but as long as you stay with your sweetie as they enjoy eating their first foods (in case of gagging or choking), you just might help your baby begin a lifelong love for all sorts of spices and flavors.