Ultimate Guide to Baby-Led Weaning Recipes and Tips
For months now, mealtime has been relatively straightforward for your little one: nipple in, nipple out. And done. These days, though, milk isn’t enough to stick to their ribs. They need more.That means it’s time to break out those jarred purées, right?
Instead of reaching for the mushy peas and pumpkins, how about giving your little one the foods that they’ll be eating at the dinner table right along with you? Through baby-led weaning, you can introduce your child to solids in a natural, gradual way. This will allow your child to gain independence at mealtime by controlling their solid intake—and it’ll mean less fuss and stress at dinnertime for everyone.
The question is, how exactly can you make baby-led weaning work for you?
Here’s a rundown on the top baby food recipes and tips for weaning your child using homemade baby food over the next few months.
Recipe 1 (Breakfast)
If you’re looking for baby food recipes for breakfast for your weaning baby, consider preparing baby cereal featuring blueberry and peanut butter for them.
To do this, combine one to two tablespoons of iron-fortified baby cereal with a tiny amount of breast milk or formula—just enough to create a scoopable, thick porridge. Next, stir in creamy peanut butter. Then, serve the cereal with mashed blueberries. Your child can use their fingers to rake the yummy cereal, or you can scoop up the cereal onto a spoon for them to allow them to practice feeding themself.
Recipe 2 (Lunch)
When lunchtime arrives, consider giving your little one some delicious hummus as part of the baby-led weaning.
First, combine one can of chickpeas (drained) with a spoon of tahini, a clove of garlic, the juice of one half of a lemon, and a tiny amount of olive oil to create a relatively thick paste. Then, give your little one a fresh hummus scoop along with soft strips of steamed carrots. You can also add thin mozzarella cheese strips and pita wedges made of whole wheat to the meal.
Your little one can easily use their fingers to rake the hummus, or you may spread the paste on their pita pieces for them.
Recipe 3 (Dinner)
The best baby food dinner recipes for baby-led weaning include mini meatballs, squash, and mozzarella.
Create your child’s mini meatballs by combining turkey or ground beef (one pound) with half of a cup of oat flour, dried oregano (a pinch), and a beaten egg. Then, roll the mixture into tiny balls, and place them in the oven until they are brown. Finally, serve the balls warm, with mozzarella strips. You can also add some squash strips as a side dish, lightly buttered.
Baby-Led Weaning Tip 1
One of the most important steps you can take during your child’s weaning process is to keep their food soft. The texture of the foods you’re introducing to them should be easy to smush or should dissolve easily. Only then can your child chew or gum it comfortably. Avoid crunchy or hard foods, like apple slices or raw carrot slices.
Baby-Led Weaning Tip 2
When weaning your child, avoid serving any food item that is a choking hazard. Choking hazards for children who are under a year old include the following:
- Granola bars
- Fish featuring bones
- Big chunks of cheese or meat
- Hot dogs
- Thick nut butter gobs
- Dried fruit that has not been cooked
- Cherry tomatoes
- Whole grapes
Baby-Led Weaning Tip 3
Cut your child’s food into strips or sticks before you give it to them. That way, they’ll be able to hold their food easily and take bites of it. At around 8-9 months of age, children usually master their pincer grasps. At this point, you may begin to cut your child’s food into smaller pieces.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Baby-Led Weaning
1. Does the AAP recommend baby-led weaning?
This type of weaning involves going straight to feeding your growing baby solid foods, and it is becoming increasingly popular because of its benefits. For instance, it encourages little ones to become increasingly familiar with more flavors and textures. It also promotes the development of fine motor skills and may reduce your child’s risk for obesity in their younger years.
Baby-led weaning differs from the traditional method of feeding a baby purées via spoon feeding before feeding them solid foods.
However, AAP experts recommend parent-initiated feedings by spoon instead of baby-led. If you are not sure which option to choose for your child, consult your baby’s pediatrician.
2. What foods should you start with for child-led weaning?
Yummy baby food recipes to introduce to your weaning child include tender pasta made from whole wheat, pancake strips made from whole grain, cottage cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Steamed strips of carrots and green beans, baked chicken or fish, and deconstructed tacos (mounds of tortilla wedges, chopped tomato, grated cheese, and beans) will also work.
3. What are the disadvantages of baby-led weaning?
Your baby’s risk of choking may be higher with child-led weaning versus spoon feeding. It may also be messier.
4. What age do you start child-led weaning?
Your baby can start feeding themselves solids in their high chair at 6 months of age.
5. How long should a baby eat pureed store-bought or homemade baby food?
Your child can discontinue puréed food and move on to baby food recipes featuring solid foods when they reach 10 months to 12 months old. When they are 6 months to 8 months old, try softer puréed food, and move on to chunkier puréed food when they are 8 months to 10 months old. Your child shouldn’t be eating puréed food beyond 1 year old.