Fertility

The Top 10 Baby-Led Weaning Books: Beginner’s Guides, Cookbooks, & More

Updated on 31 January 2022 • 14 minute read

 

Overview

Are you a baby-led weaning newbie figuring out how to get started? A pro trying to shake up your BLW finger foods combos? 

Whatever your needs are, we might have the book for you. 

We’ve compiled our top 10 picks for the best books to answer any of your baby-led weaning (BLW) concerns. 

We have baby-led weaning beginner’s guides, books on baby-led weaning safety, nutrition, and more. We also have cookbooks to keep you excited about planning your baby’s weaning meals.

So, let’s scroll and get started.

 

Why Choose BLW?

Baby-led weaning suggests babies jump straight to age-appropriate, safely prepared finger foods and skip spoon-fed puréed foods. While it may seem exciting to start this method, experts advise proceeding with caution. 

BLW may not be suitable for all babies. There are certain factors to consider before giving it a try. 

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that babies may be given finger foods when they can sit up without support and can bring their hands or other objects to their mouth. (1)

To know more about the signs of readiness, you can read our comprehensive BLW guide. 

 

Best BLW Beginner’s Guides

1. ‘Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide―How to Introduce Solid Foods and Help Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater’ by Gill Rapley Ph.D. and Tracey Murkett

Still not sure if BLW  is for you? Let Gill Rapley, the generally acknowledged pioneer of baby-led weaning, walk you through this approach. Together with writer and journalist Tracey Murkett, Rapley introduces her readers to a definitive BWL book.

If you want to understand the history and theory behind baby-led weaning, this could be the one for you. The book goes into the essentials and basic principles of why the method works. It also explains in detail the benefits your little one can get by following baby-led weaning.

The book uses an easy and clear tone. Its claims are backed with science-based facts. The topics are clearly divided, so you can skip forward or just choose a topic you like. 

The updated edition includes the latest research on allergy prevention and safety. This thick, big book can be a good reference or a go-to book for your BLW  questions.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review 

“Great book on how to introduce solids to your baby offering an alternative to the popular spoon feed puree method we have come used to. I definitely plan on using a baby led weaning style to introduce food to Zachary and this book provides the right dose of information and reference to begin this process in the coming weeks.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

 

Negative Review 

“I thought this would contain recipes and actual practical feeding advice such as when to introduce each type of food, but it seems mostly to be about the idea of baby-led weaning. Probably my fault for not researching properly but I was hoping for a guide on what to actually give my baby, rather than a book about why the author thinks baby led weaning is best” –Review on Amazon.

 

2. ‘Baby-Led Feeding: A Natural Way to Raise Happy, Independent Eaters’ by Jenna Helwig 

If you’re looking for a more laid-back approach, this title might suit you. Unlike other “strict” baby-led weaning books, this one gives a friendly and flexible approach. 

Written by Jenna Helwig, food director at Real Simple and a culinary instructor, this book is filled with beautiful photos and age-appropriate recipes. 

A “visual glossary” helps parents and caregivers cut the foods into safe sizes and shapes. The book uses a friendly and simple tone in explaining important topics like choking, nutrition, allergies, proper food preparation, and more. 

It has over 100 recipes you can try for your baby and family. Recipes are clearly described, complete with estimated preparation and cooking time. 

If you plan to make plan-ahead meals, the book states if the recipe freezes well and how long it can be kept. It also has a daily meal outline you can follow. 

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review 

“This is the book I wish I’d had when I started feeding my son solids! I was curious about baby-led weaning, but still also wanted to feed him purees (especially at daycare). This book offers a nice, flexible approach that let’s you do both–and tells you the best way to make finger foods safe for Baby. The recipes are healthy, easy-to-prepare and my son has liked the ones I have made so far. I’d recommend buying this and the author’s other baby food book, if you want a really comprehensive recipe repertoire.” – Review from Amazon

 

Negative Review

“It’s an ok book. Not too clear of size of foods and when appropriate to feed. Not enough pictures if it’s supposed to be more of a cookbook. The recipes look great but they don’t address food allergies which are very common in babies being exposed to foods for the first time. Doesn’t provide ideas on substitutions for many allergens”  – Review from Amazon.

 

3. Baby-Led Weaning Made Easy: The Busy Parent’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers with Delicious Family Meals’ by Simone Ward

If you’re a parent or caregiver who has lots of questions, but little time to read, this might be the book for you. Simone Ward is the mom behind the popular Instagram account Zayne’s Plate, where she shares healthy kids’ meals. 

This book’s main theme is “ultrapracticality.” It shows that baby-led weaning is achievable, and meals don’t have to be expensive. 

It also  promises to show how to do BLW  in a “safe and realistic way.” 

It has 50 practical recipes and suggests the best first foods. The layout of recipes is great in identifying nutritional facts. The recipes are not intimidating and can easily be made. It also gives time-saving tips and experts’ advice on preparing your baby’s meals. 

Using less scientific terms, this explains the dos and don’ts of the method. At the same time, it also encourages you to trust your baby’s instincts. 

If you enjoy browsing beautiful images, this one has 50-full pages of photos to keep you interested.

 

What Customers Say:

Positive Review:

“I checked this book out from the library to give it a try before purchasing, and the first two recipes I made were delicious! I made the Spiced Carrot and Lentil Fritters and the Herby Hummus Dip and since both recipes I tried were successes, I’ve ordered the book to try the rest of the recipes. The layout is great for identifying the key nutrition like iron and protein, and the recipes aren’t intimidating. Can’t wait to try more of the recipes!” -Review on Amazon.

 

Negative Review:

“Some of these menus will make great family meals when baby is abit older. In terms of taking you through the weaning process which is what I was looking for it really doesn’t do it. There’s one short paragraph on allergens. Charlotte Stirlings book how to wean your baby is much more informative.” – Review on Amazon.

 

Books On Safety & Allergies

4. ‘Simple & Safe Baby-Led Weaning: How to Integrate Foods, Master Portion Sizes, and Identify Allergies’ by Malina Malkani MS RDN CDN 

If you prefer something quick and easy to read on baby-led weaning, this might be the one for you. Written by Malina Malkani, a registered dietitian nutritionist, the book gives practical advice for creating safe and balanced meals.  

True to its title, it gives a “simple” introduction to baby-led weaning. With less than 150 pages on paperback, some readers say they can finish the book overnight. 

This book provides a basic overview of baby-led weaning but focuses on safe food preparation and good kitchen habits. It illustrates the suggested portion sizes. 

The book will also help you identify allergies and risks. It contains practical tips on keeping your baby safe as they try their first solid food

 

What Customers Say

Positive Review

“Very helpful information on the basics of starting solids. This book would be great as a foundation for a menu of foods/meals to prepare for baby (I will definitely use it as such to help reduce some of the stress around buying and preparing nutritious food for my baby). I’m feeling more confident on what/how to serve in a way that promotes self-regulation and a healthy relationship with food!” – Review on Good Reads.

 

Negative Review

“I appreciated the portion size and serving suggestions that were pictured to scale, I found the overall book lacking. It didn’t make me feel more confident about baby-led weaning or fully addresses some of my questions and concerns. I So Liked It for a basic overview, but not as a go-to resource. This is one I’d suggest getting from the library, rather than buying.” – Review from GoodReads.

 

5. Baby Led Weaning in 5 Easy Steps: A New Parent‘s Guide’ by Courtney Bliss

With so much information there is to know about baby-led weaning, this book sums it up in five steps. Courtney Bliss is a pediatric registered dietitian and a mom of two. This book is another quick and easy read on the basics of BLW. It can be helpful for new parents or caregivers unsure of where to start. 

It uses a friendly and encouraging tone that can help boost parents’ and caregivers’ confidence to start BLW. An excerpt of the introduction goes, “I want you to feel like I’m there with you at the table cheering you on…”

The safety, allergen, and “troubleshooting” sections are a great addition. It illustrates the size of the foods for different developmental stages. The differences between gagging and choking are clearly explained. 

It has meal plans that cover the baby’s transition to sharing family meals. The sections are color-coded, so it’s easier to find and go back on a topic you like. This book can be your easy-to-use guide when you want simple answers to your questions. 

 

What Customers Say

Positive Review:

 

“This book is a great resource for parents who are in the moment and trying to figure out baby-led weaning. Having babies and learning a new process like this can be overwhelming and some resources out there can overcomplicate things but this really does break it down into 5 easy steps. I also love the troubleshoot guide in the back! Overall I would recommend this book and love the recipes that I can use with my toddler as well to get extra nutrition in! – Review on Amazon

 

Negative Review:

“I don’t know much about BLW and this book was a good introduction to BLW and how to know if your baby is ready to start solids. However, I was under the impression that salt should be avoided until the baby was 2 years of age and many of these recipes include salt or reduced sodium soy sauce, which still has 590mg of sodium in one tablespoon.” -Review on Amazon

 

Books On Whole Food Nutrition

6. ‘The Big Book of Baby Led Weaning: 105 Organic, Healthy Recipes to Introduce Your Baby to Solid Foods’ by Aubrey Phelps MS RDN CLC

If you’re looking for healthy, whole-food meals, this might be the book for you. The author, Aubrey Phelps is a dietitian specializing in perinatal and pediatric nutrition. This “big book” is filled with organic meal plans. It has complete sample menus and even grocery lists. 

The book also has money-saving tips so you’ll get the most out of what you pay for. 

It also has a step-by-step guide on introducing new flavors and textures to your baby. 

 It highlights the importance of cue-based feeding and trusting babies to self-regulate. 

Aside from the vegan options, the book also has plenty of gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free options. Disclaimers are placed in recipes with common allergens. Recipes have no photos but a detailed explanation of how to serve them safely.

The book’s tone is reassuring, acknowledging that each baby is unique. Some babies may quickly grasp the method, while some may need time–it’s ok. 

The author reminds readers to stop focusing on food but the experience of baby-led weaning. Many readers also enjoy the heartwarming short stories shared by the author. 

 

What Customers Say

Positive review:

“What a great resource this book is for not just baby food but also transitioning into those different phases of your child’s diet and an excellent source to continue to use for the entire family as our babies grow! So many recipes!! I cant wait to try them! This gave me so many ideas on what, when, and how to feed my kids. It was informative, organized and an easy to follow book. I’ll be referring back to this one for sure!” -Review on Amazon

 

Negative review:

“Not one picture of the recipes, no clear outline on food groups baby can eat depending on their month only recipes pertaining to the certain month. Also the recipes are not for me I only thought a couple were worth trying. Will keep searching for another one.” – Review on Amazon

 

BLW Cookbooks 

7. The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: Delicious Recipes that’ll Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods―and That the Whole Family Will Enjoy’ by Gill Rapley PhD, Tracey Murkett

Gill Rapley’s Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook is more than just a cookbook. Before getting to the recipes, you will also be given a comprehensive guide on baby-led weaning

It’s like a summary of Rapley’s Essential Guide to remind you what to consider while preparing meals. The book details the importance of baby nutrition and safety.

Recipes are made not just for the baby but also for the rest of the family. The book provides a huge range of recipe ideas. It offers simple meals and healthy and nutritious store-cupboard meals to new recipes. 

With more than 130 recipes, there’s always something for everyone. Even your family’s picky eaters can find something they might enjoy. This big book has plenty of meal plans from baby snacks, healthy sweets, and filling meals for the family.

There are stories and messages from parents who practice baby-led weaning to keep readers inspired. There are also easy-to-follow tips on minimizing the mess during the baby’s feeding time.

 

What Customer Says:

Positive Review:

“I heard about baby-led weaning from a friend in England and wanted to know more about it, so I bought this book. It is extremely useful, easy to read, and you can skip around chapters if you wish. It also includes stories from parents who have used baby-led weaning, as well as adorable pictures of babies eating. I highly recommend this book to any parent looking for an alternative way of introducing solids without purees.” -Review from Barnes and Nobles

 

Negative Review:

“Informative for someone who has no knowledge of BLW, but I feel a lot of this information could be gathered by researching online. As a FTM, I was hoping this book would be more of a step-by-step guide with tips on BLW but it has more facts/info about BLW. If you don’t feel like researching different online sites then this would be a good purchase but if you already have researched BLW then this won’t have anything new.” – Review from Amazon

 

8. ‘Annabel Karmel’s Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Book: 120 recipes to let your baby take the lead’ by Annabel Karmel

Bestselling author Annabel Karmel shares more than a hundred baby-led weaning recipes. Karmel has become one of the UK’s No. 1 children’s cookery authors with 43 cookbooks under her name. The book suggests ensuring babies get optimum nutrition while developing motor skills. 

Recipes vary from easy-to-make baby meals to fancy meals that can be shared with the family. Karmel focuses on flavors, tastes, and textures using herbs and clever food combinations. 

Baby foods don’t have to look and taste bland. Karmel’s recipes are creative, appealing, and healthy. Foods also don’t fall apart and have age-appropriate sizes and textures for babies.

 Some of the recipes are Salmon Quinoa, Mini Energy Balls, Spinach Balls, Broccoli Chicken, and more. If you’re looking at shaking up your baby’s food options, this book might be for you. 

 

What Customers Say

Positive Review:

“I had this & used it a lot during my baby’s first year (then it got destroyed by me accidentally dropping some water on it!) The recipes are good & inventive & healthy, a good resource for a first time mum who wants to learn about weaning. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because some of the recipes are a bit over the top, i.e. too complicated (for god’s sake, you don’t make home-made stock when you’re a new mum with a non-sleeping 6 month old!) But all in all, I would recommend this, at the very least, it’s inspiring.” – Review from Walmart

 

Negative Review:

“I was expecting a book of simple baby-led weaning balanced meal ideas for my baby. This book has fancy recipes that require too many ingredients and are far too time-consuming and complicated for preparing for a baby daily. This book is for someone that likes spending all day in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up. Has a few good kid-friendly recipes.” – Review from Amazon

 

9. ‘The Super Easy Baby Led Weaning Cookbook: 55 Simple Recipes to Introduce Your Baby to Solids’ by Tok-Hui Yeap RD CSP LD

As the title says, recipes are meant to be no-fuss, easy-to-prepare meals. This can be your go-to recipe book if you don’t have enough time to whip up creative baby foods

Tok-Hui Yeap, the author, is a registered dietitian and pediatric nutritionist. Her goal is to make baby food meals hassle-free but packed with nutrition.

The book also provides detailed guidance on safe preparation and good healthy habits. It provides practical tips to prevent choking and recipes for each developmental stage.

Recipes are simple and easy to remember. This book can be good for those parents or caregivers who don’t have the time and patience to be creative. 

This book offers a wide selection of protein-rich meals for babies. Most of the meals are baked rather fried. 

Recipes are easy to follow, and ingredients may already be in your cupboard. Some recipes included in the book are Banana Oat Waffles with (optional) Peanut Butter and Easy Blueberry-Oat Blender Muffins.

 

What Customers Say:

Positive Review:

“Love the quick and easy recipes. One major highlight of this book which I found different from other BLW books is the incorporation of flavors and seasonings and introducing the baby to textures at different stages. Also Tok Hui gives alternative to dietary allergies. Tok Hui was a huge resource when my preemie son was dealing with long standing feeding issues post NICU and airway surgery. He is now discharged from her care as he is doing so much better but I’m so glad we get to keep her with us in the form of an awesome book! Thank you for this and I’m sure many other moms will benefit from this”– Review on Amazon.

 

Negative Review:

“Returned almost immediately after receiving. I was looking for easy recipes but these are not easy nor includes ingredients that are easy to acquire.” – Review on Amazon

 

10. BLW Baby Food Cookbook: A Stage-by-Stage Approach to Baby-Led Weaning with Confidence’ by Ellen Gipson MA RDN LD, Laura Morton MS RDN LD 

This book encourages feeding babies with the right whole foods appropriate for the stage. The author, Ellen Gipson is a dietitian and the founder of Square One Wellness, a center that offers BWL workshops and classes.  The book says their simple recipes are “served with a side of fun!” It reiterates throughout the book that it’s just a guide, not a hard set of rules.

 Aside from the information on safe food preparation, it also gives more practical guides, like performing CPR.

The book also uses research to recommend the early introduction of common allergens to help prevent the development of allergies. Recipes have “at-a-glance labels” as warning signs for common allergens.

It has 102 recipes arranged according to the baby’s stage-by-stage transition. It also provides gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives. 

Recipes explore a variety of tastes and flavor combinations so that babies can’t develop a “sweet only” preference. Some recipes are Better Than Boxed Macaroni and Cheese, Sweet Corn Fritters, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and more.

 

What Customer Says

Positive Review:

“With three kids ages 3 and under, I am always looking for fun, healthy recipes to keep my kids eating a variety of foods. This book offers tons of intel about feeding little bodies and so many amazing recipes. It also helps that recipes are labeled with helpful tags like gluten or nut free. Introductory paragraphs about each recipe also help you learn more about it.”.- Review on Amazon

 

Negative Review:

“The information about BLW was good, but the recipes are terrible. A lot of the recipes call for a fair amount of sugar, salt or are fried, many are extremely time consuming, and three of the dishes got thrown directly into the trash after my family tasted them – lots of wasted time, food and money.” – Review on Amazon

 

FAQs On BLW

Is Baby-Led Weaning Evidence-Based And Safe? 

There are many studies focusing on the benefits and safety of BWL. Studies have shown that baby-led weaning doesn’t lead to more choking incidences than spoon-feeding baby purées. Still, experts advise parents or caregivers to learn how to prevent and handle choking episodes. (3)(4) 

If you want to learn more safety and choking prevention tips, here are detailed pieces on baby-led weaning choking and baby-led weaning’s safety. 

 

Will My Baby Get Enough Nutrients? 

Some parents or caregivers fear that baby-led weaning might not give the necessary nutrients for proper growth and development. This may not be the case. Studies show no significant difference in nutrient intake between baby-led and spoon-fed babies. (5)

 

What Are The Benefits Of Baby-Led Weaning?

It may prevent babies from becoming picky eaters. Because babies learn to self-regulate, they might also have a lower risk for obesity or becoming overweight. It’s also a good opportunity to bond during mealtimes with the rest of the family. To better understand the benefits, we’ve written a comprehensive BWL Guide.

 

Does The AAP Recommend Baby-Led Weaning?

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that babies start exploring solid foods at six months of age. However, many pediatricians and experts already give the go-signal at four months. If you want to know if your baby is ready, you can check the sign of readiness. (6)

BLW isn’t suitable for all babies, though. It can be helpful to talk with your pediatrician about your approach to starting solids, especially if your baby is younger than six months old. It’s recommended that babies continue breastfeeding or formula-feeding until one year old. (6)

 

How Do I Start Baby-Led Weaning?

After making sure your baby is ready for solids, you can start preparing. You need a good quality high chair. Choose food-grade silicone, stainless steel, or at least BPA-free utensils, bowls, and cups. BPA is a compound in plastics that can be harmful to babies. (7) 

In preparing baby-led weaning foods, there are important factors to consider in order to lower choking risks. . For starters, foods must be cut in sticks or slices the size of adult fingers. For a complete guide, our BLW Guide might help you.

 

What Are The Best Baby-Led Weaning Foods I Should Try First?

Wherever possible, try to choose organic whole foods or foods that are minimally processed, unrefined, or contain additives. Some best first foods are:

For more food options and proper preparation, we’ve also written a piece on baby-led weaning foods. It’s best to ask your pediatrician’s approval before giving any solid foods to babies under six months.

 

Safety Tips To Keep In Mind When Practicing Baby-Led Weaning

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for babies, there are basic dos and don’ts to ensure our babies’ safety. Here are some basic tips:

  • Self-feeding teaches your baby to self-regulate. Babies don’t have to be forced to finish their portions.
  • Offer healthy foods according to their age and developmental stage. Wherever possible, choose organic and/or non-GMO foods that are minimally processed, or with additives. 
  • It can be helpful if you learn more about identifying choking hazards, allergens, and food safety
  • Your baby should be in a fully upright highchair during mealtimes.
  • Let your baby eat at his/her own pace. Teach good eating habits.
  • Offer pieces of food that your baby can grab and hold.
  • Supervise your baby during feeding time, or even better, let them join family mealtimes.
  • Let your baby try a variety of foods in small portions.
  • Watch out for any allergic reactions, especially when trying out new food.
  • Don’t stick your finger inside your baby’s mouth to check on the food.
  • Raise an adventurous eater. Let your baby explore and be messy!

 

 

 

References:

  1. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/141/1_MeetingAbstract/101/5461/Chew-on-This-Not-All-Products-Labeled-First-Finger
  2. http://www.rapleyweaning.com/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29205569/
  4. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-abstract/138/4/e20160772/52372/A-Baby-Led-Approach-to-Eating-Solids-and-Risk-of?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5438437/
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/when-to-introduce-solid-foods.html
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331#:~:text=Exposure%20to%20BPA%20is%20a,2%20diabetes%20and%20cardiovascular%20disease.
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