Baby Led Weaning for Beginners – The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods

As a new parent myself, I understand there’s a lot of things to figure out when it comes to caring and raising a baby. I have a lot of friends come to me and ask for tips and ideas. How do I do this, what do I do for that, do I have a unique technique for certain situations … and to be honest, I am winging it for the most part too! Just don’t be too hard on yourself and know that YOU are doing your best. While I am not an expert, I try my best to share some tips, ideas, and some hacks that worked for us in hopes that it will help out other parents too. Also, I often frequent sites like Kids2.com for their bundled, curated solutions of both products and advice to help solve some of the biggest problems new parents face in the first two years of life with their baby –these bundled solutions are called Go2Guides.

On this post, I am sharing all about the “baby-led weaning” approach. If you’re wondering what exactly is baby-led weaning? This is a new technique that parents are using to help their babies get started with solid foods. It is where babies skip spoon feeding and eating purees. Baby-led weaning is letting your baby eat by themselves on their sixth month –with your supervision of course! It’s an intimidating process and might sound scary at first, but baby-led weaning has plenty of potential benefits to your child. Some of its benefits are the early development of oral-motor skill as well as improvement of self-regulation. It also helps your baby to lessen the chance of becoming a picky eater.

Although it has many benefits to your baby, I understand that some parents are uncomfortable with the idea. This is especially the case during your first month of trial. All parents are worried about the risk of choking, but best believe that YOU got this under control.
Always remember that there is absolutely NO right way to introduce your baby to solids. It all comes down to what you’re comfortable with and at your own pace! After all, what might work for one baby might not work for yours, so it is still a case to case basis. Just because you feed your baby pureed food doesn’t mean you already failed with baby-led weaning.

Don’t get me wrong, spoon feeding and baby-led weaning are both excellent. You have the option to choose which method works best for your child. Some parents even try to do both!

Are there signs your baby is ready for baby-led weaning? YES!
1. Your baby can sit up without your support or any assistance.
2. Your baby doesn’t push solid foods out using his or her tongue.
3. When you’re eating, he is she is making “chewing” actions.
4. Eager to join or participate in mealtime and might attempt to try what mommy and daddy are eating.
5. Your baby developed the “pincer” grasp and picked up foods and toys or objects using the thumb and forefinger.
Need some tips to keep baby entertained and engaged while introducing solids? In our household, we love the Rollin’ Rainstick™ Rattle Get a Grip on Playtime™, and Simply Bright Starts™ Bunny Bites Teething Set™.

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Baby-led weaning will allow your baby to be in charge of how they will eat and how much food to take. You’re basically teaching your little one how to be responsible how to eat until they are full. In case you’ve decided to try the “baby-led weaning” approach, here are five things you should know before you start this method.

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1. Don’t Freak Out. YES, Your baby will gag.
Your baby will gag, and it is perfectly fine. Every baby has an inborn gag-reflex where they move the food from the back of their mouth to the front again so they will not choke. It is normal that they make gagging sounds, in case you freak out. Personally, however, it doesn’t hurt (and I highly recommend it anyway) that you learn how to perform CPR and First Aid for babies just in case something happens. Having this skill gives you peace of mind that you have it all under control … which makes it really hard especially for first-time parents like me.

Remember that if you freak out when your baby is gagging, your baby might possibly freak out too. So it is best that you try your best to stay calm, be alert, re-assure your little one and let your baby do his or her thing.

2. Your baby can’t eat what you eat.
Keep in mind that your baby can’t eat the same food you are eating. This should be obvious, but just so you know, it is better to be reminded every so often. Aside from the fact that some texture and size aren’t “baby friendly”, your baby’s kidneys are so fragile, you need to be very mindful of what you are serving. Honestly, you don’t need to prepare a separate meal or purchase a fancy cookbook. Just hold on to the seasonings and preservatives when cooking your meal. Get some for your baby before adding all the spices, and you have food for your baby.

3. Consider the nutritional value.
When choosing what to serve for your baby, you also need to consider the nutritional value of the food. It will help your baby to grow healthy and thrive. Once your baby turns 6 months, it is essential to focus on iron-rich foods, and that includes poultry, fish, meat, eggs, and beans. It is also advisable to give them soft fruits and steamed vegetables. Serve in chunks (bite size), and you have baby-lean food to start with.

4. It is going to be messy.
Accept it; it is going to be messy. One thing is for sure, baby-led weaning is much messier than spoon feeding. It is best to invest in a suitable highchair for your baby. Choose something easy to clean, like the Boutique Collection™ SmartClean ChairMate High Chair™ that grows with your baby. It has 5-point safety harness straps, it reclines, has 4 height position, AND it has removable SmartLevel Tray™!!!
Major tip: Put a plastic mat under the highchair, so you don’t have to clean the floor.

5. Tiny foods won’t work.
If you are thinking of chopping your baby’s food into really tiny pieces to avoid choking, then you are doing it wrong. Tiny food will not work in the baby-led weaning method, as babies don’t have the skills to pick up small pieces of food then bring it to their mouth. They usually learn this around nine months or older. This is the main reason why it is important that you should make your baby’s food into medium sizes pieces so they can grab or hold it. Make sure that the food you’re serving is soft enough to avoid choking. Remember that it is normal that your baby misses their mouth or even drop their food.

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That’s it! 5 essentials to keep in mind for a successful baby-led weaning. Need more tips and support? Make sure to check out Kids2.com for their bundled products and words of advice written by Motherly. Parents can easily find holistic solutions to their needs more easily compared to bouncing from one site to another site.

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Kids2.

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  • Cristina Petrini

    I have no children but you have taken away a curiosity I had about the process of passing children from soft and liquid foods to solids. I am fascinated by the education and piscology of childhood.

  • what corinne did

    I am not at this stage of my life yet but I guess it is always good to be prepared and get as many tips as possible!

  • Michelle

    Lots of great tips here! My second born naturally fed herself from a young age. But my first one had to be fed until she was older. She hated food!

  • Natalia

    I’m not a mom yet, but I suspect that introducing solid foods to your baby may be a hard work at times. I’ll share this article with my mommy friends! 🙂

  • Tara Pittman

    My grandbaby is eating like this and is 8 months. I am so used to babies having small pieces of food so it surprises me when she eats big pieces of cooked broccoli.

  • Andrzej

    Good point of view! I need to share your post with my wife !

  • Joanna

    This was a very interesting read. I don’t have children but it was still interesting, as all I knew about feeding babies is that they eat purees once they stop breastfeeding.

  • Ryan Ashley

    Wow, this sounds really great. My brother has twin one year olds, I’ll have to talk to him about this!

  • Amber Myers

    What great tips! I basically did this for my kids. I waited until I knew they wanted solids and never pushed anything on them.

  • Krysten Quiles

    No kids in my house but this sounds like a solid guide. I have a friend that just had a baby and will forward this along to her!

  • Pilar

    Such a great advice for new mommies! very useful and informative!

  • Jasmine Hewitt

    this is full of awesome tips! we did baby led weaning and it’s not easy for everyone

  • Lydia Smith

    I love the idea of introducing solid food to babies it gets them full and also stay away from breast for a while. Sharing this to my aunt.

  • Jessica Joachim

    Baby led weaning is so great. I did it with both of my kids, and it was really great and a good way to introduce them to real foods.

  • Alvern @ Success Unscrambled

    This one brought back so many memories and experiences with my son. He never liked the baby food in the jars and always preferred scrambled eggs for breakfast. I cannot even remember how old he was when he made this choice.

  • Amy

    love these tips! every single one of them is important. Thanks so much for sharing

  • twinspirational

    Kids2.com sounds like a great website for new parents. We aren’t parents, but this post is so helpful for new moms and dads.

  • Kalyan Panja

    Thanks for sharing your useful parenting tips. It will be useful for those with babies.

  • Alexandra Cook

    I had never heard of this until now. This is definitely a new concept to me and this was very informative.

  • Dalene Ekirapa

    Such an adorable baby you have. Anyway, this reminds me of the time my younger brother was getting into baby-led weaning. He’d pick up bites to eat and even stare at us while eating. And pap! We knew he was ready.

  • DAISY

    I never knew about any of this. Thank you for brightening me up. Luckily, I don’t have kids yet so I still have time to prepare myself… 🙂

  • Lauren

    This is really great information. I’m learned a lot. And will pass this along to some friends with small children as well. I have always been curious about teaching a child to eat so this was helpful. Thank you.

  • aisasami

    What great information, especially for new moms on how to gradually get your kids to eat solid foods. I don’t have any kids myself but my friends do and will appreciate it when I share to them!

  • Irina

    It is such a fun time when babies can actually eat solids but can be frustrating when it is your first child. Thank you for these tips.

  • Swathi

    These are great post. . My daughter and son has different preference of food daughter started 6 months where son little bit late eating solid foods.

  • Jennifer A Tanney

    My son nursed until he was 2.5. He ate baby food during his 1-year-old year and then I tried solid food when he turned 2.

    He never experienced gagging because of his age. I’m also a certified lifeguard, so the day my son actually choked on a piece of hard candy that he managed to get in his mouth without me knowing, he survived. And we haven’t had hard candy in the house since.

    Just be careful with the gagging. That’s nothing to play around with.

  • Stacie

    We did this with our kids. It didn’t really have a name back then, though. We just saw that our kids were reaching for “real” food.

  • Chad

    I don’t have kids but this is amazing information to spread around. It is amazing how much you know about the subject. Sharing this across my network and especially to my friend who just delivered her first baby yay.

  • Sundeep

    Thanks for letting us know more about baby led weaning. I enjoy reading this post and yes I am totally agree you on this that there is no particular stage where kids start eating solid .

  • Pati Robins

    i am way past that stage now , but i agree your tips are just spot on

  • Amy

    love this topic! every single one of them is such an important guide especially for mom when feeding their babies. Thanks so much for sharing

  • Elaine

    I’m not a mother, but I do have to admit it was interesting to read about baby led feeding. You gave us some great reasons and explanations on its benefits.

  • Danielle

    We did baby led weaning and my daughter loved it. It does get messy! I love all of your tips.

  • Krista

    Excellent advice! I’ve followed baby led weaning with both of my littles and plan to with my third as well. While it doesn’t address toddler tantrums or just ridiculous preferences generally, it certainly means both of my kids have a decent palatte, and one that doesn’t include chicken tenders!

  • Danielle Wahlstrom

    These are some great tips for parents with littles. I did baby led weaning with my daughter mixed with some pureed food and she is a really great eater today.

  • Bella and Dawn at Dear Mummy Blog

    We did baby-led weaning and it also helped that my nursery did it as well!

  • Natalie

    That tongue sticking out face – too cute! These tips will come in handy for all parents going through this stage.

  • Sara green

    What an informative article! I have baby-led weak all three of my kids. The hardest was the mess and the gagging! But, it’s so important to know that those are normal!

  • Chad

    I dont have kids but this is great. This is going to be very helpful to my friends. Thanks a lot.

  • Enriqueta E Lemoine

    Beautiful post Angela, as usual. That baby is extremely cute. My kiddos are teens but I enjoyed so much reading you.

  • Amy Desrosiers

    Your son is too cute!! I love his little smile! What a fun age he is at now!

  • Kristi

    Great tips and suggestions. We had twins so feeding time was always an adventure but now that they are in high school I kind of miss it.

  • Stefani Tolson

    These are great tips! I have four children and they each reached steps on their own time.

  • Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place

    I remember when my boys were little. So much to learn as a new parent! Great tips here.

  • Rachel

    I did baby-led weaning with my second and third children. It was so much easier in the end!

  • Catalina

    I remember that time that my kid began to eat solid foods. I had a lot of questions! Thanks for these helpful tips!

  • Annemarie LeBlanc

    This is a great article to share with first time moms. Baby led weaning is a good way to start kids on solid food.

  • Hannah Marie

    This actually has a lot of valid points to consider. This is going to be great for parents and those who will be. That baby looks so adorable!

  • kumamonjeng

    This post so details and it tells what a new mom needs to know, from transition to solid food for toddlers. Glad that you share all the important tips and alert parents not to panic.

  • Celebrate Woman Today

    Excellent post with the tips for 1-st time moms especially. I was looking for such for sure.
    One of the best parts is the Signs for when a baby is ready for solid foods. Great!

  • what corinne did

    I guess changing a baby’s routine can be quite chaotic. I remember the mess when my parents tried to introduce solid food in my little brother’s diet!

  • Ruth I

    I remember when my niece was on this stage. These are all so true. This will be a great guide for Moms!

  • Lyosha

    you guides are always complete and very detailed! I am always grateful for your job

  • Krysten Quiles

    No babies in my life but I have a few pregnant friends that I know will find this interesting. Will forward to them!

  • Heather

    When making any decision as a parent, I like to roll it around till my confidence is built-up with knowledge. Your article is a great resource for those taking this approach.

  • Eloise

    Oh man… my kids are 9 and 10 years old now, so it’s been a while! I do remember the transition, great advice to those parents who have kids in this phase of life ; )

  • Anonymous

    Yes, this techmique is helpful. 5 month old baby in our family started having food and juice by himself

  • Alexandra Cook

    If they love the food then it can be easy! I cannot believe how big he is getting.

  • Kiwi

    He is getting so big!!! So many great tips!

  • Stephanie | Adventures in Aussieland

    The more I read about child rearing the more I know I’m not prepared to be a mum just yet. There is so much to know and I would be so afraid I’d stuff it up somehow. But I do think I would look to the signs my baby was exhibiting before any transitions. I’d want them to be ready.

  • Nancy at Whispered Inspirations

    I definitely practiced baby-led weaning. Whenever she was ready to stop is when we stopped. I miss it though! Baby and that connection.

  • Nayna Kanabar

    This is avery useful post for new mums and I am sure there are many out there who are unsure how to make this transition with their babies.