What Is BLW & What Are The Benefits?
Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) is a method where your baby skips the typical baby food purees and jumps straight to appropriately sized-finger foods. Instead of spoon-feeding, BLW allows your baby to self-feed and take control of what and how much food they want to eat.
BLW benefits not just your little one but the rest of the family as well: (1)(2)
- Develops hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills
- Less stressful mealtimes since your baby joins family meals
- Learns social skills as your baby gets to bond with the whole family
Developmental Milestones At 8 Months
Developmental milestones are meant to guide your baby’s growth and development. Here are some milestones to expect: (3)
- Can get into a sitting position
- Holds own bottle
- Can crawl
- Responds to “come here”
- Less gag reflex
The following are just approximations. As we’ve mentioned, every baby is different and has different needs. Please also keep in mind that amounts will vary based on weight.
- Breastmilk or formula: Consume three to five feedings per day or 30 to 32 ounces per day. (4)
- Dry infant cereal with iron: Consume five to eight tablespoons of grains mixed with formula. (4)
- Fruits & Veggies: Consume two to three tablespoons per day. (4)
- Sleeps between 12–16 hours per day. (5)
- Nighttime sleep could stretch between nine to 12 hours. (5)
- Daytime naps can vary from 30 minutes to two hours twice per day. (5)
Here’s the average growth for babies seven to nine months of age: (6)
- Weight: 1 pound each month
- Boys are heavier by about ½ pounds than girls.
- Double the birth weight by four to five months
- Height: ½ inch each month
- Head size: ¼ inch each month
Can I Start Baby-Led Weaning At 8 Months?
It’s never too late to introduce BLW to your little one. If you started your baby on solid foods by introducing purees, you could still switch to BLW at eight months of age.
Are There Benefits Or Disadvantages Of Starting Baby-Led Weaning Late?
Gill Rapley, the generally acknowledged pioneer of BLW, explains that parents could choose or switch to BLW if they think the feeding method works best for them. (7)
However, if your baby has already started on pureed foods, they can’t be labeled as “fully BLW’d.” For more information on why this matters, we summarized this in our article on starting BLW at seven months.
How Do You Start Baby-Led Weaning At 8 Months?
You don’t need much to start BLW, but you need a few tools to ensure your baby’s safety. Here are a few:
- Comfortable high chair
- Safe-made baby utensils (spoons, bowls, and baby cups)
- BLW bibs
- Messy mat or tray
- BLW cookbooks
You need to cut food according to your baby’s age to reduce the risk of choking. Learn about the common choking hazards such as uncut round fruits like grapes so that you can prepare them safely for your baby.
We have a comprehensive article on the Dos and Don’ts of BLW.
What Finger Foods Ideas I Can Give To My 8-Month-Old Baby?
Some babies may already have developed their pincer grasp, the ability to hold objects using the thumb and the forefinger. You can now serve your baby small pieces of food or finger foods.
Front teeth also begin developing at this age, so you can get adventurous with food textures such as different types of meat.
However, tough and large chunks of meat remain choking hazards, so keep them moist and soft to chew.
Aside from the usual soft foods like avocados and sweet potato, you can offer a variety of foods with different textures and tastes such as:
- Iron-rich foods like meatballs, chicken, and other meat recipes
- Blueberries cut in halves
- Green beans
- Toasts with peanut butter or nut butter
We have an article on BLW foods per age for more details on baby-led weaning foods.
If you have a history of food allergies, seek the advice of your baby’s pediatrician or registered dietitian before introducing allergenic foods like scrambled eggs.
As a rule, introduce new foods one at a time and wait for one to three days to look for any allergic reactions.
Our Baby Food Recommendations
Serenity Kids Carrot & Beet Grain-Free Baby Puffs with Olive Oil
Cerebelly Apple Kale Smart Bars
Bone Broth Baby Food Variety Pack
Little Spoon Grass-Fed Beef Meatballs (Early Finger Food)
How Do I Know If My 8-Month-Old Baby Is Getting Enough Nutrients In BLW?
- Research shows no significant difference in the nutrient intake of babies on BLW eating finger foods and spoon-fed babies eating pureed foods. (8)
- Aside from eating solids, your baby should continue breastfeeding or formula feeding during the first year of life.
How To Cut Foods For A 8-Month-Old Baby According To BLW
To reduce the risk of choking, cut food in slices or spears the size of two adult fingers.
Food Safety For BLW At 8 Months
- Whenever possible, let your baby eat organic and/or non-GMO foods to help keep them away from pesticides or harmful toxins.
- Keep their food clean and thoroughly cooked.
To know more about unsafe foods, allergies, and more food safety, we have a piece that answers your concerns.
Is My 8-Month-Old Baby Now Ready For Salt And Sugar?
Just like your baby’s first foods, it’s still not recommended to have too much salt or sugar. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) suggests the following sugar and salt intake for babies under two years old:
- Sugar: Less than 25 grams (about six teaspoons) per day (9)
- Salt for babies seven to 12 months old: 370 mg per day (10)
Sample Feeding Schedule & Meal Ideas
Each baby is unique and may need more or less than the suggested below. Here’s a sample feeding plan: (11)
- Egg & Spinach Cups
- Two to three tablespoons of Greek yogurt with mashed blueberries.
- Give four to six ounces of breastmilk or formula.
- Hummus with cucumber on whole-grain toast.
- Five to six ounces of formula or breastmilk.
- One to three tablespoons of meat like meatballs.
- Two to four tablespoons of veggies like asparagus or zucchini.
- Mango squares or strips
- Three to four ounces of breastmilk or formula.
- Two to four tablespoons of fruits like banana coated with hemp seeds or ground peanuts.
- Four to six ounces of formula or breastmilk.
- One to two tablespoons shredded chicken or pork.
- Two tablespoons of cooked pasta or noodles.
- Two to four tablespoons of veggies like spinach or carrots.
- Three to four ounces of breastmilk or formula.
- Five to six ounces of breastmilk or formula milk.
We also have several baby-led weaning recipes: