A unique approach to starting solid foods, baby-led weaning involves jumping straight to finger foods and bypassing purees. Here’s why you might want to consider it and how to pick start up foods for your Baby.
Baby Led Weaning is the ability of a baby to show when they are hungry and full around food together with breast milk or formula milk. It is done by offering whole, solid, finger foods and allowing them to eat by themselves. Deciding on how much and how fast they will eat, it is the process of skipping purees and spoon-feeding.
Nowadays, many parents do choose to introduce solids in the form of purées, but there is an alternate approach you can also consider into giving solid foods to your baby. There is a growing number of parents are bypassing purees and mashed baby food altogether in favor of a practice called baby-led weaning offering finger foods to serve as start up foods to give babies more control over what and how much they put in their mouths.
Baby-led weaning allows babies to learn how to chew first, then swallow. It also prevents parents from pushing foods, since babies are in control of how much they put into their mouths. It is also need to consider what are the specific start up foods that babies can easily grip and eat by themselves.
According to some research, the potential perks of baby-led weaning include: The Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
- Encourages babies to become familiar with a greater variety of textures and flavors.
- Could reduce the risk for child obesity
- Promotes fine motor skill development.
Best Start Up foods for baby-led weaning
There are things to consider before giving start up foods to your baby, first it has to be soft, cut into manageable pieces and not on the list of foods that pose a choking risk, it’s on the baby-led weaning menu. In the first few months, do your best to serve up a well-rounded diet, and ask your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns about how much or little your baby is eating. Do focus on offering a variety of foods from different food groups each day to ensure that your baby is getting enough nutrients. Some tasty options to try:
Fruits for baby-led weaning
Soft, smooshy ones can be served raw, while harder ones like apples should always be cooked can serve as one of the best start up foods for babies.
- Sliced bananas
- Thinly sliced strawberries
- Halved or smushed blueberries
- Orange wedges (seeds and tough membranes removed)
- Steamed, peeled apple slices
- Pear slices (steamed or peeled if hard, but can be served raw if soft and very ripe)
- Sliced avocado
Vegetables for baby-led weaning
- Steamed or baked sweet potato or butternut squash fries
- Steamed carrot strips
- Steamed green beans
- Thinly sliced tomato
- Steamed broccoli
- Steamed or roasted zucchini or summer squash strips
- Steamed beet strips
Proteins for baby-led weaning
- Shredded poached chicken
- Hard-boiled eggs, quartered
- Shredded boiled beef
- Baked or grilled flaked fish, bones removed
- Smooshed beans
- Raw or lightly baked tofu strips
Whole grains for baby-led weaning
- Whole grain toast strips
- Whole grain pita strips
- Whole grain English muffin strips
- Baked oatmeal strips
- Whole wheat pasta, cooked until very tender
- Whole grain pancake strips
Dairy for baby-led weaning
- Plain, full-fat yogurt (regular or Greek-style)
- Ricotta cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Swiss and cheddar cheese
When you prepare start up foods you don’t need to add salt, sugar or artificial sweeteners to your baby’s foods, since they don’t add any nutritional value. What’s more, they mask the innate flavors of baby’s foods and some research has even found that babies don’t actually have any preference at all for these tastes. As we learn the foods that are best to give for Baby Led Weaning babies always consider that consistent use of salt or sugar sets kids up to prefer salty or sugary foods in the long run. Refrain from giving chips, cookies and other prepackaged, prepared foods, too, since they tend to be devoid of nutrients and full of additives and unhealthy trans-fats.