AN INTRODUCTION TO BABY LED WEANING

By Natalie Peal

Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) is the process of weaning where you skip past the purée stage of traditional weaning and offer your baby smaller portions of your own food from the age of six months. BLW is focused on your baby experiencing real tastes and textures at the very beginning of their weaning journey. This method also promotes family mealtimes: everyone eating the same delicious food at the same time. This not only cuts down on your preparation time, but also means that you can eat your food at the same time as your little one, without having to help them by spoon-feeding.

The Benefits of BLW

Gives your baby the opportunity to explore the taste, texture, colour and smell of food Helps your baby to develop hand-eye coordination

Establishes healthy eating habits as baby is allowed to eat as much as he needs, in his own time

Saves time not having to cook separate food for baby

Promotes family mealtimes

You are less likely to have a fussy eater

What to Expect

Your baby will view the food you offer in the same way that he does his toys, so don’t be surprised if a lot of it ends up on the floor. Expect lots of gagging and try not to confuse this with choking: a choking baby will make no sound and rapidly turn blue. Gagging describes when your baby turns very red and coughs/splutters very loudly (almost as if they might be sick). This is your baby’s way of learning how to move food around in their mouth and prepare to swallow, so although rather unpleasant to listen to, it’s actually a positive sound!

Equipment You Will Need

  • A highchair
  • Bibs, smock style with arms are best
  • A splash mat
  • A water beaker
  • Suction plates and bowls
  • Plastic or silicon spoons
  • Baby wipes or washable cloths

When to Get Started

It is recommended by the NHS and Department of Health not to start weaning your until your baby reaches 6 months, by this age your baby should be more able to feed themselves. Before you start baby-led weaning please ensure your baby can sit unaided and has good neck control.

Please consult your GP or Health Visitor if you are unsure whether your baby is ready for solids.

How to Get Started

There is no right or wrong way to get started with Baby-Led Weaning. Some parents, prefer to offer their baby smaller portions of their own meals from 6 months and some parents, especially those who are exceptionally nervous or have a family history of allergies, prefer to take a slow and steady approach – offering one new food a day for the first four weeks. If you are taking the more gradual approach, then my Baby Led Weaning Recipes app has a comprehensive guide on exactly how to do this.

Great First Foods and How to Prepare Them

Carrots

1. Peel and cut into long, thick batons (use your index finger as a size guide)

2. Steam for 8-10 minutes

3. Serve once cooled.

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Broccoli

  1. Wash the broccoli well under cold water
  2. Cut into florets
  3. Steam for 10 minutes
  4. Serve once cooled.

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Cauliflower

  1. Wash the cauliflower well under cold water
  2. Cut into florets
  3. Steam for 10 minutes
  4. Serve once cooled.

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Potato

  1. Wash the potato well under cold water
  2. Cut into long, thick batons (use your index finger as a size guide)
  3. Place onto a baking tray and drizzle with vegetable oil
  4. Roast at 200°C for 30-35 minutes
  5. Serve once cooled.

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Sweet Potato

  1. Wash the sweet potato well under cold water
  2. Cut into long, thick batons (use your index finger as a size guide)
  3. Place onto a baking tray and drizzle with vegetable oil
  4. Roast at 200°C for 30–40 minutes
  5. Serve once cooled.

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Butternut squash

  1. Peel the butternut squash
  2. Cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds
  3. Cut each half into long, thick batons (use your index finger as a size guide)
  4. Place onto a baking tray and drizzle with vegetable oil
  5. Roast at 200°C for 25-35 minutes
  6. Serve once cooled.

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Celery

  1. Wash the celery well under cold water
  2. Cut the celery stick/s in half
  3. Place into a microwave-safe bowl with 30ml water
  4. Microwave for 4-5 minutes
  5. Serve once cooled.

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Aubergine

  1. Wash the aubergine well under cold water
  2. Cut the top off the aubergine and then cut it in half lengthways
  3. Cut each half into long, thick batons (use your index finger as a size guide)
  4. Place onto a baking tray and drizzle with vegetable oil
  5. Roast at 180°C for 25-30 minutes
  6. Serve once cooled.

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Pepper

  1. Wash the pepper well under cold water
  2. Cut the pepper in half and de-seed 
  3. Cut each half into long, thick batons (use your index finger as a size guide)
  4. Place onto a baking tray and drizzle with vegetable oil
  5. Roast at 180°C for 25-30 minutes
  6. Serve once cooled.

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Parsnip

  1. Peel the parsnip and remove the top
  2. Cut into long, thick batons (use your index finger as a size guide)
  3. Place onto a baking tray and drizzle with vegetable oil
  4. Roast at 200°C for 30-35 minutes
  5. Serve once cooled.

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Courgette

  1. Wash the courgette well under cold water
  2. Cut the top off the courgette and then cut it in half lengthways
  3. Cut each half into long, thick batons (use your index finger as a size guide)
  4. Place onto a baking tray and drizzle with vegetable oil
  5. Roast at 180°C for 25-30 minutes
  6. Serve once cooled.

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Banana

  1. Peel the banana halfway
  2. Cut off the hanging skin
  3. Serve.

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Strawberries

  1. Wash the strawberries well under cold water
  2. Hull the strawberries by removing the green cap and stem
  3. Serve.

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Pear

  1. Select a very ripe pear and wash it well under cold water
  2. Top and tail the pear
  3. Slice in half and discard any seeds
  4. Cut each half into thick wedges
  5. Serve.

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Apple

  1. Wash the apple well under cold water
  2. Cut in half and discard of any seeds
  3. Slice each half into thick wedges
  4. Place into a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of apple or orange juice
  5. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until soft
  6. Serve once cooled.

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Mango

  1. Wash the mango under cold water
  2. Cut the mango in half and remove the seed
  3. Cut each half into long, thick batons (2cm approx.)
  4. Serve.

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I hope you have found this introduction to Baby-Led Weaning helpful, below I have provided you with a very popular Two Ingredient Cookie recipe from my Baby-Led Weaning app, it’s effortless and suitable from 6 months:

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup (90g) oats

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease or line a baking tray with baking paper

2. In a bowl, mix together the mashed banana and oats— add any extra fillings of your choice

3. Shape the mixture into cookie-size patties and place them onto the baking tray

4. Bake your cookies for 15 minutes, or until golden brown

5. Serve once cooled.

Natalie Peall

Creator of the Baby Led Weaning Recipes app and book Baby Led Weaning Made Easy.

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