baby led weaning foods

Baby Led Weaning has become the ultimate food introduction method. That is why we encourage you to try this method through our guide and our healthy recipes.

1. The Baby led weaning definition

This method consists of introducing solids, and letting the Baby feed himself with food in large pieces or strips, and bring the food to his mouth. The introduction of food begins around 6 months; at the same time, the Baby continues to receive milk on demand. It is necessary to assess whether you can do this, taking into account the following premises:

  • He sits up straight.
  • He coordinates his hands, eyes, and mouth to see food, grab it, and eat it.
  • Finally, he can swallow solid food without spitting it out.

2. The Baby led Weaning, can the Baby eat any food?

In principle, yes, except for those which may suffocate the Baby. These are usually foods that the Baby cannot grip well with his hands before the age of 9 months due to their shape, as they cannot pinch with the fingers. But before you know which foods to avoid, it's important to follow safety rules, such as:

  • An adult should always be there to watch and act as quickly as possible before any sign of alarm.
  • Avoid any kind of distraction, like TV, games, etc.
  • The Baby should sit well without bending or lying down.
  • No one needs to put food in their mouth; they have to do it themselves.

Overall, the foods that you shouldn't offer to your Baby are:

  • Dried fruits (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts…), seeds, and peanuts before 3 years. In the meantime, he can eat them ground or mashed as a cream (spread on bread or as part of a recipe).
  • Sweets and toffees up to the age of 5, because they are taken in one bite and swallowing, and chewing skills are poorly developed, increasing the risk of aspiration.
  • Whole round foods, such as chickpeas, peas, cherries, berries, olives, and grapes. In addition, some have pits, which you must remove first, and crush or cut into small pieces.

3. The Baby led Weaning, is he going to suffocate?

There is a legitimate fear that the Baby might choke on large foods.

It is more common to see a baby eating mashed foods, yet the Baby led Weaning is something that a baby of 6 months and older can do.

At first, the Baby will have to learn to form a bite. The gag reflex is very present, and it will allow it to bring food back to the front of the mouth or out.

We offer the baby soft foods, easy to crush with the gums, and large pieces to facilitate the grip (ripe fruits or cooked vegetables). The Baby makes his own puree by crushing bits of food with his gums. The cough may be present, and it will help to push out the small particles that have gone to tickle the back of the mouth.

Learning to eat independently involves all the protective mechanisms of the respiratory tract.

In order to do this safely, the Baby should sit with his back straight and never left alone when eating.

Related: Baby’s food from one to two years old; a short practical guide

4. Baby led weaning recipes

Let's practice the Baby led weaning method with healthy and nutrient-rich recipes.

4.1 Vegetable recipe

Spicy zucchini cubes:

Ingredients:

Preparation:

First, wash the zucchini and dice them. Place them in a baking dish with oil and spices. Bake at 180 ºC for 40 to 45 minutes, until tender.

4.2 Recipe with legumes

They are the main source of vegetal protein, especially in vegetarian children. They are also a source of iron, although their absorption is lower due to phytates' presence.

Hummus recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (19 oz / 540 mL) no salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • The juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin

Preparation:

In a blender, put the chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic cloves and mash to a smooth purée.

4.3 Fish recipe

Hake and sweet potato balls:

Ingredients:

  • 200 g of hake
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • Virgin olive oil

Preparation:

First, bake the sweet potatoes in the oven at 180ºC for 35 to 40 minutes. Check their doneness by pricking them with the tip of the knife. Reserve them. Then boil the hake for 5 minutes. Place the sweet potato in a bowl and mash it with a fork.

Remove the bones and skin from the fish and toss with the sweet potato until well integrated. Add a little oil. Take handfuls of dough and shape them into balls. Brown them in the frying pan with oil, so they don't stick together.

4.4 Fruit recipe

Banana and peanut smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1-2 medium bananas
  • 1 glass of milk or vegetable drink, except rice
  • Cinnamon powder

Preparation:

Add all the ingredients in a pitcher except the cinnamon and mix with a mixer. Finish by decorating with cinnamon.

Originally published on Live Positively.