What are the best first foods for baby led weaning? Here are the top suggestions according to the Baby-Led Weaning method!
Like many moms, I’m not a huge fan of starting solid foods. It’s time consuming, messy, and requires a lot of extra attention!
Especially with four kids: solids was something I put off as long as I possibly could.
Also like many moms, though, I’ve found that using Baby-Led Weaning makes the entire breast milk to solids process so much smoother.
Ready for some recommendations on the 30 best foods for baby led weaning!? Keep reading!!!
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Originally published August 22, 2018
Deciding to Start Baby Led Weaning
I saw signs that Spear was ready to start solids, but he wasn’t quite able to sit up unsupported yet and usually that’s when I really start with my kids. Other than that, signs of readiness include:
An interest in what you’re eating
Tries to reach for your food during family meals
Has developed a “pincer grasp,” which allows them to pick up small pieces of food with their thumb and index finger
Has stopped automatically pushing solids out of their mouth (the tongue-thrust reflex)
Is able and willing to chew
Generally speaking, the American Academy of Pediatrics (among other organizations) agree that baby be exclusively breastfed until about 6 months old.
I decided to go ahead and give it a go as he approached 7 months of age (I started during his 3rd week of his 6th month).
With Spear having been adopted I was more mindful in spreading out his first foods since I don’t know if there is a history of any food allergies to be aware of with the rest of the family.
With my previous babies, I didn’t wait as long between introducing things but with him I took it slowly.
It’s a personal decision on when to introduce what foods, in what order, and with how much spacing!
Things to Have on Hand When Starting BLW
Other than an awesome high chair, other things I recommend as “must-haves” before beginning solids are:
- A sippy cup (this is my first kid using this cup and so far I like it!)
- Easy to wash bibs (these are my FAV)
- Some easy-to-handle baby spoons (yes, even for baby-led weaning)!
He did pretty well with the water intro! It took him a minute to understand that he can hold it himself but once he “got it” he was so proud!
There are many opinions out there about a great first food.
I’ve done a variety of things with all of my kids and decided to go with avocado this time around!
It is best to cut finger foods into long stick shapes for easier holding for self-feeding.
Spear was close to being 7 months old and really took to eating solids very quickly and easily and I’ve yet to find a food he won’t eat!
It’s also often recommended to space out new (especially potential allergenic) foods when introducing them for the first time and give a few days between each.
If you were to follow what we did then this list of 30 foods, spaced out with three days between, would give you 90 days worth of solid food options:
Best Foods for Baby Led Weaning: 30 First Foods
2. Egg Yolk
Great source of protein, yolk only (the whites are actually what kids tend to be allergic to)
3. Red Pepper
The advice now is to give a variety of flavors and seasonings early on!
I steamed fresh broccoli but roasting works well too! A great way to introduce iron-rich foods!
Great for teething babies…nice and cool on their gums!
6. Sweet Potatoes
I steamed them and left them in the steamer too long so they were too mushy to hold…
But this gave a good opportunity to give Spear a spoon to try out!
It can be tough for toddlers to master utensils after being so used to eating with their hands so it as a good idea to let Spear to feed himself with a spoon when it makes sense to do so, as it gives him a chance to learn this skill early on.
This was a first for me as a baby food item but it’s great to allow for flavor variety and a healthy option to put on vegetables. I used broccoli as a dipper.
I try to stick to a lot of vegetables early on because I’ve always found that once my kids taste the sweetness of fruit they always prefer them over veggies!
Messier but another good one for a variety of flavors and different textures.
I try to introduce both pears and peaches early on as they help with digestion and often babies can get constipated when first eating solids.
And yes, I use fresh fruit and leave the peels on. It’s so neat to watch him use his little teeth to scrape off the fruit from the peel!
This took a little time for him to figure out how to eat!
Another fresh fruit with peel on!
Raw apples have been added to the list of potential choking hazard foods so it’s important to steam or sauté them prior to offering to your child!
These are among his favorite fruits as he gobbles them right up.
I do cut them in half as I get nervous about choking and it’s good to work on his pincer grasp as well!
I cut raw carrots into long stems and steamed them.
17. Cottage Cheese
I always choose full-fat dairy options for healthy fats and offer the spoon with the cottage cheese on it for more spoon practice!
I took the peel off of the kiwi but leaving it on would have made it easier to hold for him as it’s a slippery food!
19. Cheerios / Egg White
With Cheerios, the important thing is to make sure not to give the honey-nut kind. I gave multigrain Cheerios and I also had a little bit of leftover scrambled eggs I’d made for the other kids so I gave them to him as well.
This was his first time having egg whites and first time having the Cheerios.
(He’s eating a banana as well in the photo)
Almost immediately after eating he had an allergic reaction: he broke out in a rash that seemed to get worse and more spread out.
I gave the lowest dosage of Benadryl and it helped. I debated what could be the cause since it was a first time for both the Cheerios (first wheat even) as well as the egg whites. Both have the potential to be allergenic foods.
I decided to not offer any new foods for a while and slowly try Cheerios again and egg whites again, later on, to see if he had any potential allergy concerns.
Another great food for the pincher grasp practice!
Grapes are a HUGE choking hazard so I make sure to cut them into fourths.
22. Greek Yogurt
Again, I get the full-fat version and use a spoon as his dipper!
It’s messy but FUN! I rinse him off in the sink after these sort of meals!
I do not cook it and just give it to him raw.
Prunes are great for digestion and have a lot of important nutrients. I cut them very small to avoid any choking since they are so chewy.
You can really tell he’s doing great with being able to pick up smaller items and has a clear understanding on how to eat them!
25. Green Beans
Another smaller item. I cook these with a pressure cooker and gave him some that we’d had for family mealtime so they were seasoned.
I avoid salt and anything that I have previously seasoned with it I do rinse prior to feeding him.
A fun summer treat that’s easy to eat!
27. Whole Wheat Bread
I tried a small amount of Cheerios again after a week or so from the first time and he had no reaction so I went ahead and toasted some whole wheat bread with hummus spread on it and he did great with it as well!
I steamed fresh asparagus and as soon as I even handed it to him he snatched it and immediately put it in his mouth! He loves green veggies!
When boiling some chicken to shred for a casserole I left a few pieces larger and didn’t season them and offered them as his first protein.
Most of my babies haven’t instantly liked chicken or meat and Spear was no different!
Egg Whites Try Two
We had a doctors appointment for two of my older children one morning so I thought it was a good time to offer up scrambled eggs again as if Spear had a reaction, I was already going to the doctor.
I had assumed the first reaction was due to the egg whites since it is such a common allergen among children.
However, he gobbled up the eggs and didn’t have any signs of any sort of reaction at all!
I’m not sure what caused it the first time but I’m feeling like it must have been a fluke or somehow unrelated to the food I’d offered!
30. Butter Beans (baby lima beans)
Butter beans are a staple in our family so this was a perfect 30th first food for him! He even liked them cold!
Spear is now only a couple weeks shy of being 9 months old so I have no hesitations in moving forward with offering a variety of foods.
With him dropping his evening catnap soon he’ll start enjoying dinner during family meal time and eating whatever we eat!
Spear is my first baby to suck his thumb and I do think it’s been a BIG advantage in helping him eat his solids.
He will get the food in his fist and suck his thumb and then suck the food in too. I think it’s been a benefit in this transition!
Eating solid on the go can be a tad tricky. I keep it simple and only take foods with us that aren’t messy (red peppers, slices of fruit, etc).
It’s great that a baby-led weaning baby can totally feed themselves as I’m able to ENJOY my meal while he’s enjoying his!!!
Best Foods for Baby Led Weaning: Final Thoughts
I LOVE seeing our sweet boy enjoying food! There are so many benefits to being a mom four times over and being confident in my parenting and having so much base knowledge is a HUGE plus!
Baby-Led Weaning makes introducing solids such a breeze and I’m excited to continue to introduce him to new things 🙂
Let me know if these recommendations on the best foods for baby led weaning helped you with your BLW journey!
Want more baby-led weaning content?
- Easy Guide to Getting Started with Baby-Led Weaning
- Best Items for Baby-Led Weaning
- Baby-Led Weaning: What about Choking?