Fertility

BLW Guide: The Do’s and Don’ts of Baby-Led Weaning

Updated on 19 July 2022 • 18 minute read

 

What Does BLW Mean?

BLW or “baby-led weaning” is a feeding approach that lets your child be in control of their mealtime experience. Babies feed themselves from the start, with finger foods instead of being spoon-fed purées.

Parents introduce foods and the baby controls how much of it they actually eat. In this complementary feeding approach, your child continues breastfeeding or bottle-feeding while also trying out a variety of foods.

Dr. Gill Rapley is recognized as the BLW pioneer who started talking about this feeding approach in 2001. She published “Baby-Led Weaning: Helping Your Baby To Love Good Food” with Tracey Murkett in 2008. 

According to Dr. Rapley, it may be wrong to say that BLW is the opposite of spoon-feeding because it’s not exactly a feeding method. Instead, she defines it as a “fundamental approach to food and babies.” (1)

The concept of BLW includes all of the following:

  • Ensuring your child eats independently (they decide how much they eat, how long the mealtime will be, and they should be self-feeding)
  • Offering your baby healthy foods
  • Providing finger foods they can grasp with their hands
  • Sharing family mealtimes

 

Dr. Rapley further explains that deciding to feed your child with finger foods trying to sneak in some food in their mouths isn’t BLW. Doing so is simply conventional weaning with finger foods. (1)

In the same manner, independent feeding with finger foods can’t also be considered real BLW if your child is frequently doing it outside of family mealtimes.

Dr. Rapley also explains that trust is a big factor in BLW

Your task is to prepare baby-safe foods, but you should trust your baby to know whether they’ll eat or not, what to eat from the options you prepared, how much to eat, and when they’ll finish eating.

This means that in BLW, you shouldn’t force your baby to eat everything you prepared. It can get quite messy, but you can’t pick how your child wants to eat their food.

Safety is of primary importance, of course. You should supervise your baby’s meals, but you can’t interfere unless they’re choking. (2)

How can you start baby-led weaning? At what age can your baby start BLW, and what are the best first foods to give them? Can you do a mix of baby-led weaning and purées? What choking hazards should you avoid? Find answers below.

 

Benefits Of Baby-Led Weaning

Studies show that BLW can be beneficial for your baby in many ways. Benefits can include: (3(4)

  • Improvement of their fine motor skills, chewing skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity.
  • May help prevent your child from fussy or picky eating
  • Lower risk of obesity or becoming overweight
  • Easy food preparation because your baby eats the same food as the rest of the family
  • They get to share the mealtimes with the family
  • Early introduction to a variety of foods
  • Independence (your child is in control)
  • Appetite control (they learn how to stop when they’re full)
  • Fewer costs (you won’t need to buy purées)
  • No worrying about baby food recalls
  • Homemade baby foods let you know exactly what’s in their food
  • Ease with dining out because your child can eat regular table foods
  • You child enjoys a full sensory experience as they explore, inspect, and taste different food flavors and textures 
  • Good eating habits
  • Studies also show that introducing a variety of foods, including common allergens like eggs and peanuts, can even help your child avoid developing allergies in the future. (3)

 

But always consult with your baby’s pediatrician, especially if your child shows signs of possible allergies to certain allergens or if there’s a family history of allergies.

Since your baby can also learn self-regulation thanks to BLW, they may be more likely to understand the feeling of fullness and will stop eating then.

If you’re doing the traditional spoon-feeding method, it can be easier for you to sneak in a couple more bites (while distracting your child with “airplanes,” for example), even if they’re already full.

By learning self-regulation, your child may be able to control their food intake more efficiently. 

 

At What Age Can I Start BLW

Though the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends exclusive breastfeeding through your baby’s first six months, some children might be ready for eating solid foods at four months. (2)

But you have to ensure they’re really ready before giving them solid foods for the first time.

 

Can I Start BLW At 5 Months? 

Yes, but only if they show signs of readiness to eat solid foods. Starting too early can increase their risk of choking

Check if your child shows these signs:

  • Sits on their own
  • Exhibits neck control 
  • Shows interest in food (leans forward, opens mouth, or tries to grab food)
  • Can use jaw movements to move food to the back of their mouth
  • Shows diminished tongue-thrust reflex (pushes tongue out to spit something you put in their mouth)

 

Preparing For BLW As A Parent

Your baby isn’t the only one who should be ready for baby-led weaning. It’s also important that you’re prepared to support your child in learning how to wean themselves through this practice.

 

Educate Yourself About BLW

Baby-led weaning has plenty of differences from traditional weaning or spoon-feeding. It’s important to do it properly so your baby can get the most benefits out of this feeding approach.

But Dr. Rapley also assures parents that you don’t have to do it perfectly, noting that some online clubs ostracize moms who aren’t “true BLWers.”

However, while she’s in favor of letting you find what works best for you and your baby, she also notes that your baby can fully enjoy BLW lifelong benefits if you follow the proper way. (1)

So, though it’s tempting to make your baby eat all the food you prepared, don’t do it. Instead, you should learn to trust your child’s instincts. They’ll come to know what they like, how much they should eat, and eat it at their own pace.

In doing BLW, you have to make sure you follow all these factors:

  • Provide your child with healthy foods
  • Prepare age-appropriate finger foods 
  • Let your child join mealtimes with the rest of the family
  • Allow your child to eat independently

 

Seek Advice From Health Professionals

Baby-led weaning isn’t for everyone. 

It might be inappropriate or unsafe for kids with motor, developmental, or medical issues. For example, premature babies might develop later and will only be ready when they’re around six months from their original birth due date.

Discussing your approach to starting solids with your child’s pediatrician can be helpful. 

Your pediatrician might refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist if your child needs a special diet to meet certain nutritional needs.

If your little one has a known food allergy, you might also need to seek advice from other healthcare professionals, such as an allergist.

 

Learn Difference Of Choking Vs. Gagging

Choking and gagging might appear the same, but they’re different. (3)

Gagging is due to your baby’s gag reflex, a safety mechanism that can prevent choking. 

Your child might also gag on food they taste for the first time because it’s something new to their taste buds.

Signs of gagging can include:

  • Loudly gurgling, coughing, or sputtering
  • Regurgitating swallowed food back into their mouth
  • Baby’s tongue may be thrust forward
  • Possible spitting up or vomiting
  • Possible red face

 

It’s often mistaken for choking, but it’s a normal part of trying new foods

If you recognize the signs of gagging, don’t try to help your baby or stop them from vomiting. Doing so can lead to choking.

But if your baby is choking, it’s important to find ways to remove the blockage. Because it’s dangerous, learn to recognize these signs of choking:

  • Struggling to cough or breathe
  • Terrified look
  • High-pitched sounds while breathing
  • Face and lips might also turn blue

 

Choking babies might have a hard time making a sound.

 

Learn First Aid

Babies and young children are curious and love putting things (edible or non-edible) in their mouths. So, they can potentially choke on various items, whether they’re spoon-fed or doing BLW.

It’s always a good idea to learn common first-aid procedures, including:

  • CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Heimlich maneuver (to dislodge an item that caused choking)

 

These can save your baby while you wait for emergency services to arrive.

Depending on where you live, you can take online classes or join live courses in your area.

 

Recognize Choking Hazards

One of the biggest obstacles faced by BLW is that many parents and health professionals believe it has a higher risk of choking than traditional weaning.

But studies show that BLW babies aren’t more likely to choke on their food than spoon-fed babies. (4)(5)

Still, it’s important to recognize choking hazards to minimize the likelihood of your child suffocating on their food. You can also discuss it with your pediatrician.

Some foods can pose a high choking risk, depending on how they’re prepared. Avoid giving these known choking hazards to your baby:

  • Hard fruits and veggies (celery, carrots, apples, etc.)
  • Whole cherry tomatoes
  • Whole cherries, grapes, raspberries, and berries
  • Melon balls
  • Dried fruits (such as raisins, dates, prunes, etc.)
  • Whole or chopped nuts
  • Sticky peanut butter and another nut butters
  • Tough chunks of meat
  • Hot dogs and other hard, processed meat foods
  • Fish with bones
  • Large chunks of cheese
  • Tough bread
  • Hard cookies and snacks (such as granola bars, teething biscuits, cereals, pretzels, popcorn, and corn chips)
  • Hard candy
  • Jelly beans
  • Marshmallows

 

You can still give some of these foods to your baby, but make sure to prepare them so they can’t be a choking hazard.

For example, you can cook fruits, vegetables, and meat until tender. You can also cut round fruits and vegetables such as grapes, berries, cherries, and cherry tomatoes into manageable slices.

 

Other Foods To Avoid

Some foods aren’t exactly choking hazards but should still be avoided because your baby isn’t developmentally ready to digest or handle them.

  • Avoid giving honey to children below one year of age because it can cause botulism, a toxic condition that a young child’s still developing tummy can’t yet handle. (6)
  • Undercooked meat and runny eggs can pose a foodborne illness risk. (7)
  • Unpasteurized dairy products and lunch meats can increase the risk of listeria, a serious bacterial infection. (8)
  • Avoid cookies, chips, cereals, and prepackaged foods, even if some are marketed as “iron-fortified.” They can be full of additives, contain unhealthy trans-fats and vegetable oils, and lack nutrients.
  • It’s also important to avoid junk foods and chocolates.
  • Babies actually need fat (healthy fats such as MUFAs or monounsaturated fats) for proper growth and development. So, try not to pick low-fat foods (vs. full fat) for your baby unless advised by your pediatrician. (9)
  • Your child’s tummy can’t digest full cow’s milk (unless it’s in infant formula) until they’re at least one year old. (10)
  • Avoid adding salt, sugar, or artificial sweeteners to your baby’s food. They don’t have any nutritional value, can mask the foods’ natural flavors, and may affect your child’s food preferences. Frequently eating salty or sugary foods can increase the risks of obesity and other health concerns. (11)

 

While you should avoid salt and sugar, it may be fine to use some herbs and spices to add a variety of flavors to your child’s meal.

 

Introducing Allergens

In the past, parents were told to keep allergens out of their children’s diet until they were sure that the child wasn’t allergic to them.

But recent studies and clinical trials show that early allergen introduction might help prevent food allergies even in children with risk factors. (12)

To prevent peanut and egg allergy, you can introduce these foods when your baby is around six months old, but not before they’re four months of age.

You should feed your child a diverse diet to promote allergy prevention, including other potential allergens

According to studies, using hydrolyzed formula (with broken-down milk proteins) in the first year of life doesn’t appear to have the same protective benefits against food allergy or food sensitization as introducing allergens. (12)

The guidelines above are recommended by the following:

  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
  • American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
  • Canadian Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology

 

These allergy experts don’t require screening before allergen introduction, but some parents might prefer getting their children tested before introducing them to these foods.

If you believe that your child might be allergic to something, you can go through pre-screening. Also, make sure to talk to your pediatrician before introducing these allergens.

Of course, it’s important to closely watch for signs of an allergic reaction after introducing your child to a potential allergen. Some symptoms can include:

  • Hives
  • Itchy lips, eyes, mouth, and skin
  • Swollen lips
  • Teary eyes
  • Breathing difficulties

 

Immediately seek medical attention if your baby shows any sign of breathing difficulties. A severe allergic reaction can be life-threatening.

 

Continue Milk Feeds

Dr. Rapley explains that baby-led weaning is not about replacing breast milk or formula with food. Instead, it’s about introducing your child to foods that complement their milk feeds. (13)

It’s still important to continue providing the same amount of milk or formula to your baby while also learning to eat more of these complementary foods.

 

You Might Need Diet Changes

BLW promotes letting your baby join family mealtimes, but foods prepared for adults and older kids might not suit your little one.

Some diet changes might be needed, especially because BLW promotes healthy foods. 

Avoid highly processed and refined foods. 

If you can’t help it, then it’s important to teach your older kids, other family members, or caregivers not to give the baby some of their food.

 

Accept The Mess

BLW can be messier than traditional weaning because your child controls the food and might play with it, especially during the first few weeks of following this approach.

Accept that it can be messy, but you can also find ways to minimize the mess:

  • Pick a large bib or smock to put around your baby’s shoulder and chest.
  • Choose a highchair with an easily removable, washable tray cover.
  • Line the floor with garbage bags or other floor mats to catch the mess.

 

Also, don’t keep on cleaning your baby’s face during the meal unless food gets in their nose. 

 

Understanding Your Baby’s Cues

Is your baby throwing food around or just playing with it and dunking food into their cups? They’re not trying to defy or annoy you, mama. 

According to Dr. Rapley, these are all part of your child’s explorations and can actually be cues for something they can’t explain in words. (14)

Throwing Food Around

Possible reasons why your child is doing this:

  • They aren’t hungry yet
  • They’ve eaten enough
  • They want some food but not this particular food
  • They’re tired or feeling sick
  • They’re frustrated over something, such as feeling “trapped” in their highchair.

 

Dr. Rapley suggests doing the following:

  • Accept (and try to decipher) what your child is trying to tell you.
  • Don’t offer more of the same food they’re throwing.
  • Move on to the next food options.
  • Don’t pick up the food and return it to their tray.
  • Pick up the dropped food and put it at the edge of your own plate. If your child can see the food and later become interested in it, they can always ask for it from you.

 

Playing With Food

These may be some reasons why your child is doing this:

  • They’re just experimenting with things such as shape, gravity, etc.
  • If they’re dunking their food in cups, they might just be imitating adults who dunk their bread in a bowl of soup or cucumber sticks in a dip.

 

Dr. Rapley suggests doing the following:

  • Let your child experiment all they want unless it’s really annoying to you.
  • If you really want to stop them from doing it, you can gently intercept their hand and stop them.
  • Don’t get angry. Instead, you can tell your child, “Not in there, baby. Can you give it to me, please?
  • You can also opt to keep the cup out of reach until your child wants to have a drink.
  • Don’t scold or punish your child. Instead, remain calm and focused.

 

Turning Finger Foods Away

Possible reasons why your child is doing this:

  • They want to copy others.
  • They’re trying to learn new skills (like spoon-feeding themselves) and want to become more competent.

 

Dr. Rapley suggests the following:

  • Go along with what your baby wants (it’s baby-led weaning, after all).
  • Welcome and recognize your child’s achievements.
  • Support them in trying to learn how to use feeding utensils.
  • But don’t be surprised if your child also wants to go back to using their hands to eat. It can happen even after learning how to use a spoon. Again, just support what they want to do.

 

Be With Your Baby

Show support to your child by being with them during mealtimes

Make sure to also be there throughout the meal for their safety. You can keep watch for signs of choking or possible allergic reactions.

Eating with your baby can also let you model good eating habits.

Letting your baby join family meals can also help promote their social skills.

 

How Do I Start Baby-Led Weaning

Before starting your child on BLW, make sure that you (or your child’s caregiver) and your child are ready by following the recommendations above and checking for signs of readiness.

Once you’re sure that you’re all set, you can start BLW by doing the following:

 

Pick The Right Equipment

  • Get your child a high-quality highchair or booster seat that can safely support their body. Make sure it has a footrest, and your child can sit in a position that keeps their hips and knees within a 90-degree angle.
  • An adjustable highchair can be ideal because it can grow with your baby.
  • Choose food-grade silicone spoons or stainless steel cups and other feeding utensils (if your baby is ready to use them). If you’re going to use plastic, please make sure it’s BPA-free. BPA (bisphenol-A) is a common toxin in plastic products. (15) 
  • Provide your child with a smock or oversized bib to catch all the mess.
  • Find options, such as garbage bags, to line the floor for easier cleaning after the meal.

 

You can still choose bowls and plates for your baby’s food or put them directly on the highchair tray.

 

Prepare Foods According To Age & Developmental Milestones

To minimize choking hazards, consider these factors in preparing your child’s meal.

Younger babies will use the palmar grasp (all fingers trying to hold the food), so they might find it difficult to grab onto little pieces of food.

Start by giving them food in sticks or slices the size of adult fingers. They can grab the bigger piece of food and eat off the end that sticks out of their hand.

Always watch your child while eating to prevent them from putting or pushing the entire food stick in their mouth. It can turn that piece of food into a choking hazard.

As they begin to master grasping food, you can give them smaller food cubes.

While doing BLW, your baby might also do a “raking” movement to try picking up a small piece of food. In this kind of grasp, your child will try to curl their thumb and first two fingers together.

Smaller, pea-sized foods are ideal for self-feeding if your child already knows how to use the pincer grasp (index finger and thumb to hold food). The pincer grasp might develop when they’re seven to eight months old.

You might notice that your baby will have a better, well-controlled pincer grasp by the end of their first year.

 

How To Cut Foods For BLW

Some examples of foods you can prepare according to your child’s age:

 

For 4-9 Months

  • Apples: Don’t give raw apples to your baby. Instead, cut and steam or cook until tender.
  • Avocado: There are several ways to serve ripe avocado in BLW. You can cut it into manageable cubes or thick slices with half of the peel still on for your baby to hold.
  • Bananas: Peel the banana and cut it in half then cut the halves in half. This will leave you with thicker pieces that are easier to grab.  
  • Broccoli: Steam the florets until tender.
  • Eggs: Whisk the egg until it’s well mixed and cook it as an omelet. Cut the omelet into thick strips. You can also serve hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters. Don’t give runny or half-cooked eggs to your baby.
  • Meat: Cook meat until tender. Meat on the bone (such as drumsticks or ribs) may be ideal for this age group. Your child can nibble on the meat without choking on a bigger piece.
  • Pancakes: Cut the pancake in half or slice it into smaller pieces.
  • Sweet Potato: Cut it into thick wedges and steam or roast until tender.

 

For 9-12 Months

  • Apples. You can serve cooked or steamed apples in small pieces.
  • Avocado: You can opt for small chunks or thin slices of ripe avocado. You can also add hemp seeds or gluten-free bread crumbs for texture.
  • Bananas: You can serve bananas as thin strips or small cubes. You can also add some crushed baby puffs.
  • Broccoli: You can give your child roasted or steamed florets (with or without some spices for seasoning).
  • Eggs: You can serve chunks of hard-boiled eggs or scrambled eggs (but not too big for them to be choking hazards)
  • Meat: Meat should always be cooked until tender, but you can serve thicker strips, shredded, or ground meat (such as meatballs) to this age group.
  • Pancakes: You can chop them into small pieces.
  • Sweet Potato: You can serve steamed or roasted sweet potatoes in thick wedges or chopped smaller pieces.

 

For One Year And Above

  • Apples. You can give your child cooked or raw apples, but still, monitor that they don’t bite large chunks that can be choking hazards.
  • Avocado: You can serve avocado as a “boat.” Cut the avocado in half (lengthwise), then provide your child with a spoon they can use to scoop the soft flesh.
  • Bananas: You can serve whole bananas they can bite from the top. Your child can also learn to peel the banana at this age if they want to eat more.
  • Broccoli: You can cook the florets with or without some spices for seasoning.
  • Eggs: Your child can be the one to cut the omelet or hard-boiled eggs the way they want to.
  • Meat: Meat should still be cooked until tender, but you can serve bigger strips and shredded or ground meat.
  • Pancakes: Whole pancakes that your child can cut into small pieces.
  • Sweet Potato: Don’t serve raw. You can give your child some cooked wedges or chopped pieces.

 

As your baby nears their first birthday and beyond, their food options can become increasingly similar to yours.

You can begin introducing them to foods like spaghetti, deconstructed tacos, and larger portions of the food they ate at a younger age. You can put these foods on a plate without cutting them into smaller pieces.

But even with older children, you still have to make sure there aren’t choking hazards or the foods are in manageable cuts before giving it to your child.

 

Keep First Foods Simple

Keep your child’s first meals simple for BLW beginners and even in traditional weaning. Offering one food at a time can also help you determine possible allergy triggers.

Avoid putting too much food on your baby’s plate or food tray. It can be overwhelming. Instead, you can begin with a handful of options and see which one your child will pick. 

You can add to their food tray if they want to eat more. Check for visual cues and adapt to your child’s preferences. 

 

Gradually Offer Food Varieties

BLW is all about providing your child with healthy foods. So, you can gradually offer more food varieties. 

You can also keep mealtimes interesting by offering your child different food textures. 

Soft, ripe fruits like avocados and bananas can be the best baby first foods. But meat and eggs can provide them with added texture and flavor.

Plus, these are iron-rich foods that can help address issues of babies not getting enough of this essential mineral from their food while doing BLW. (16)

 

Dine Together & Follow Family Mealtime Schedules

Though you might want to focus on your child and let them eat by themselves, Dr. Rapley explains that eating with family is one of the important factors in BLW. (1)

So, you can also try to incorporate feeding baby with family mealtimes.

 

BLW Safety Tips

  • Avoid choking risks and prepare foods according to age or developmental stage.
  • Closely supervise all mealtimes and try not to multitask while your child is eating.
  • Monitor for any allergic reaction.
  • Ensure your baby sits up during mealtime.
  • Your baby should also be alert throughout the meal. If your baby begins to look sleepy while eating, remove the food.
  • Choose safe feeding utensils and a high chair with a tray.
  • Explain BLW to older children and other caregivers.
  • Don’t let your baby move around, especially if they have food in their mouth or hands.
  • Don’t let your toddler eat in the car unless there’s an adult who understands BLW that’s sitting with them.
  • Always check the food’s temperature and tenderness before giving it to your child.
  • Check your baby’s mouth if they have some food left in the sides of their cheeks or stuck on the roof of their mouth. 
  • Don’t stick your finger in to get the food. As much as possible, try to let your child manage taking care of food stuck in their mouth. If necessary, you can encourage them to continue chewing, swallow the food with milk or water, or spit it out.

 

Baby-Led Weaning Foods

Fruits For BLW

As a rule, soft foods like fruits can be served raw, but always cook harder ones (such as apples) to reduce the risk of choking.

Here are some fruits that you can let your baby try:

  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced bananas
  • Smashed, thinly sliced or halved blueberries, strawberries, or other berries
  • Sliced melon (with pits or seed removed)
  • Sliced ripe mangoes
  • Orange wedges (but remove the seeds and tough membranes)
  • Sliced pear (can be served raw only if soft and very ripe)
  • Sliced apple (cooked until tender)
  • Sliced ripe peach or nectarine

 

Vegetables For BLW

Like fruits, vegetables also need to be cooked until they’re tender enough for your baby to eat. Exemptions are soft ones that can be eaten raw, such as tomatoes.

These are some of the vegetables you can give your baby; make sure they’re cooked (steamed, baked, roasted, or sauteed):

  • Sweet potato
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini or summer squash
  • Beets
  • Spinach

 

Is Cucumber OK For Baby-Led Weaning?

Yes. Cucumber can be a good choice for BLW because its outer portion is harder and can make holding a slice easier for your baby. But the inside part is softer and can be easy to munch on.

 

Proteins For BLW

Never serve your child raw or half-cooked meats, poultry, or fish. This can put your child at risk for food-borne illnesses, especially since their tummies are still developing and they may not digest these foods properly.

Here are some meat and plant sources rich in proteins you can give your child, make sure they’re served well-cooked:

  • Hard-boiled eggs or omelet
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Baked or grilled fish (such as cod or salmon), scales and bones removed
  • Hummus
  • Baked beans, cut or mashed
  • Lightly baked tofu strips

 

Some fish contain high mercury levels. It’s a toxic heavy metal that can affect your child’s development and health. (17)

In choosing your baby’s food, stay away from the following high-mercury fish:

  • Tuna
  • Shark
  • Orange roughy
  • Swordfish
  • Albacore
  • Blue marlin
  • Grouper
  • Sea bass
  • Common sole
  • Atlantic bonito

 

Whole Grains For BLW

If possible, choose gluten-free whole grains for your baby’s food, especially when starting out. 

But if you also want to introduce gluten (an allergen) to your child as part of allergy prevention, make sure to check with your pediatrician

Make sure whole grains and bread options aren’t too hard or dense (choking hazards).

Some options you can try:

  • Whole-grain toast 
  • Gluten-free muffins
  • Baked oatmeal strips
  • Whole-grain pancakes
  • Whole wheat pasta, cooked until tender (if you’re OK with gluten-containing food)

 

Dairy For BLW

Dr. Rapley recommends continuing milk feeds even while starting with baby-led weaning. She points out that complementary foods are introduced at this stage but shouldn’t replace breast milk or formula as your child’s primary source of nutrition. (1)

Dairy is a common allergen. But like peanuts or eggs, you may also introduce dairy to your 6-month-old child to possibly prevent food allergies. (12)

Still, you should check with your baby’s pediatrician before giving the following foods, especially if your child has known allergies to cow’s milk proteins:

  • Plain, full-fat yogurt (Greek-style or regular)
  • Mild cheddar cheese
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Cream
  • Cottage cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Swiss and cheddar cheese

 

Ensure that the cheese cuts aren’t too large because this sticky food can be a potential choking hazard.

It’s always important to check the food label to ensure that you only give your child pasteurized dairy products.

Don’t give your child cheese from unpasteurized milk or mold-ripened soft cheeses, such as:

  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Roquefort

 

Can You Do A Mix Of Baby-Led Weaning And Purées?

Yes. Mixing BLW and purées can be tricky, but you can still do it. However, you shouldn’t hand your child spoons preloaded with puréed food.

According to Dr. Rapley, helping your child eat with a spoon while also giving them finger foods isn’t a mix of BLW and spoon-feeding. Instead, the BLW pioneer thinks that’s just conventional weaning. (1)

Remember that BLW is about trusting your child to pick the food they want to eat.

Here are some ways to let your child self-feed purées:

  • Put the purée directly on your child’s food tray or bowl and let them dip their hand into it. You can model dipping and putting your fingers in your mouth.
  • Another option is to put several preloaded spoons on the plate, but they should be the ones to decide which spoon to pick. However, it might be difficult, especially if they don’t know how to hold a spoon yet.
  • You can also offer purées as a dip for their finger foods. For example, they can dip their toast or carrot stick in an avocado purée.

 

Some BLW Recipes To Try

Avocado Slices With Coating

Ingredients

  • One ripe avocado
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Coating materials such as hemp seeds, gluten-free bread crumbs, or crushed baby puffs

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Cut the avocado in half.
  2. Remove the seed.
  3. Scoop out the soft flesh.
  4. You can also peel and cut to your desired size and shape. It’s alright to leave some peel at the bottom portion for your child to hold.
  5. Lightly mix in the lemon juice. It can help keep your avocado cuts from discoloring.
  6. Sprinkle some coating material on the avocado spears or cuts.
  7. Serve.

 

BLW Salad

Ingredients

  • ½ cup broccoli florets
  • ½ cup green beans
  • ½ cup cucumber sticks
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • One hard-boiled egg, quartered

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Steam the broccoli florets and green beans until tender. Cool down.
  2. Mix the broccoli florets, green beans, cucumber sticks, chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, and EVOO in a bowl.
  3. Top with the egg.
  4. Serve.

 

You can find other baby foods to prepare in our article on BLW recipes.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/Defining_BLW_v2.pdf

(2) https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Starting-Solid-Foods.aspx

(3) https://preventallergies.org/baby-gagging-vs-choking/

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6202902/

(5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23183112/

(6) https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/botulism.html

(7) https://www.scph.org/sites/default/files/editor/ConsumerAdvisoryRequirements.pdf

(8) https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/prevention.html

(9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15141428/

(10) https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/formula-feeding/Pages/Why-Formula-Instead-of-Cows-Milk.aspx

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959843/

(12) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33250376/

(13) http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/Breastmilk_vs_solids.pdf

(14) http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/Throwing_food.pdf

(15) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331

(16) http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/Iron.pdf

(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7923435/

 

 

 

as seen on
We Got You, Mama.

Self-Care Rituals & Self-Love Practices To Support You & Your Family.

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