Baby Led Weaning

Baby-Led Weaning: A Great Alternative to Puree

If you are ready to start your baby on solids look into baby-led weaning. Simply put baby-led weaning is letting your baby feed himself from the start.

Here are some tips to getting started with baby-led weaning:

  • Only start baby-led weaning from 6 months of age and when baby is showing signs of readiness for solids.
  • Don’t make special meals or puree anything for your baby. Forget “baby-food” and give your baby the same foods you are eating. The only thing to watch here is salt, leave the salt out of your cooking for a while
  • You can cut the food into chip-sized pieces, easy to hold and manage for a baby still figuring out how to pick things up
  • Let your baby choose what he eats, give him the same food you are having and if he eats it great, if he doesn’t don’t worry. He is still getting all he needs from milk.
  • Yes there will be some gagging sounds, don’t panic! It is their way of moving food around their mouth.
  • Make meals a social time when the whole family sits down together, baby can then copy you when you eat. This will be the beginning of teaching your child some table manners!
  • Never put food in your child’s mouth, let them pick and choose what they want to eat.
  • Only give a few things to try at a time or baby might become overwhelmed. Baby might also just use all the extra food as missiles to throw around the room!
  • Baby-led weaning is messy, be prepared for that. Your baby will be experimenting and having loads of fun. Be ready with a cloth, broom and mop for after meals.

There are benefits to choosing baby-led weaning when starting your baby on solids:

  • Your baby feeds himself, leaving you free to enjoy your meal.
  • It is a lot less work for mommy. No more steaming and blending extra meals for baby, less dishes and preparation!
  • Chances are good your baby will be a less fussy eater as he has been exposed to a variety of tastes and textures from the start.
  • Your baby will learn to chew and then swallow from the beginning instead of having to first learn to swallow and then later learn how to chew.
  • Less power struggles. Baby chooses what to eat and leaves what he doesn’t like.

Have you tried baby-led weaning? What has your experience been?

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  1. This is a great way to teach your kid to eat. I just couldn’t do it though. I’m a bit OCD and I hate messes. So now at 18 months my kid still can’t properly feed himself. I saw little babies at birthday parties, holding their own cookies and chewing on them. First: the mess! (You often see proud mommies on FB posting pics of their little ones with their entire lower face covered in chocolate… It’s probably cute to other people, but for me… I’d tear my hair out.)
    Second: cookies! sweets No! Third: I’m ashamed my kid can’t do that quite as well yet.
    BUT, I am happy with the way we are doing it, because that is what keeps mommy SANE, lol. He’ll get there eventually and hopefully with the least mess possible.

    • Each mommy to her own parenting way! If that works for you great, this is just to make moms aware that their is an alternative to mush 🙂 I did baby-led weaning with my 2nd and at 15 months he eats anything and everything. I started my daughter on puree and she is a fussy, moany eater at 3 years old! So maybe there is something in this?

  2. I love this article … My little girl who is 8 and a half months eats puree (for the most part), however, does eat of my plate too. potatoes, and other veg. she eats ‘flings’ sometimes – which she feeds herself. I put in into her hand and she does the rest.
    I will definitely try this going forward though … Willing ot deal with the mess

    • Glad you enjoyed it Noori. I can tell you the difference in the way my 2 kids eat is amazing. Yes there is some mess to clean up, but it is less effort to wipe up the mess than it is trying to get food into an unwilling baby! Enjoy and let us know how it works for you.

  3. This is a really good idea. You never know when your little one is going to be ready for solid foods. They have to tell you! No book can tell you that. Though of course, the pediatrician can give you guidelines.

    When I was that age, my mom said that I liked pickles and yogurt. I don’t know if that’s a normal thing for a seven month old to be eating, but she let me have it anyway. 🙂

  4. This is the first time im hearing about this Lynne. Very interesting 🙂

  5. @lynne wow my little boy goes for 8 months im now going to start Led Weaning ill be standing ready with the broom mop and cloths im feeding him still mashed food everything thats mashed and smooth im letting him now decide what to eat thats infront of him see what he takes to eat…wish me a messy Luck LOL

  6. This is a perfect way to teach your baby how to eat,i didnt knew at the first i was giving my first born baby food immediately when she was 3months and now i have read this i will use the tips in future.

  7. Thank you this is a great advice and to teach a child to eat same food that we eat it’s good and can help him not to be a picky eater

  8. wow!! did not know this. at 6 months i started making puree’d squash and carrots and pumpkin for my baby but she refused to eat it. i then decided to buy purity and still she refused to eat it. last night we had pasta for supper and she ate it nicely. after reasing this article, it makes so much more sense now. will definitely be saving me time and energy making baby food!!! thank you for a great article.

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