Baby-Led Weaning


Allowing Babies to Feed Themselves

Typically parents and nannies slowly introduce purées of fruits and vegetables, rice cereal, and oatmeal to babies on spoons at about six-months-old.

With Baby-Led Weaning caregivers allow the babies to feed themselves. Parents and nannies provide soft, appropriate, cut up, finger-sized foods and allow the child to reach for foods and play with it and eat as they are naturally designed to do.

In the article “Rethinking Baby Food: Baby-Led Weaning Basics,” Cynthia Ramnarace explains that some of the benefits of Baby-Led Weaning include saving money on store-bought baby food. The author states that Baby-Led Weaning also encourages hand-eye coordination, while introducing the baby to a wide variety of food, and teaching the baby early decision-making skills. Also, Baby-Led Weaning encourages healthier eating for the whole family.

Baby-Led Weaning Basics:

Breastmilk or Formula:
Breastmilk or formula should still be a baby’s primary source of nutrition until 12-months-old. Solids at this age are for exploring taste and texture.

Baby Should Sit Up on Their Own:
Before eating solids babies should be able to sit up to avoid choking on food.

Pincer Grasp:
The pincer grasp is when a baby can use their thumb and forefinger and pick up a single, tiny object (like a Cheerio). The pincer grasp is a developmental milestone that the baby will use for tasks like eating.

No More Tongue-Thrust Reflex:
Before 6-months of age, the baby’s tongue will thrust forward and push foreign objects out of his mouth reflexively. Once this reflex fades, the baby can begin self-feeding.

Don’t Feed Baby:

Let the child put the food in their mouth themselves.  Most babies are ready to do this at about 6-months-old.

Don’t panic about the mess. It’s only food. Babies will drop a lot of food and food will wash out of clothes and bibs.

Supervise, Supervise, Supervise:
Never leave a baby alone when they are eating.

The Best First Foods for Baby Led Weaning:
From Taste of Home

1. Steamed Carrots: Babies will do best with carrots that are steamed and soft.

2. Cut-Up Cucumbers: You can cut them into coins or spears. Baby will love gnawing on this cool treat — especially if they’re teething.

3. Bananas: They’re naturally the perfect texture for a new eater.

4. Avocados: These are a great source of healthy fat and the perfect texture.

5. Steamed Zucchini: This squash’s mild flavor makes it a great way to introduce veggies.

6. Eggs: Hard-boiled egg yolks are a great source of protein for baby and easy to eat.

7. Broccoli: Make sure to steam it longer than usual to achieve a soft texture. Baby will love grasping the stalk and exploring the texture of florets.

8. Sweet Potato: Cut up sweet potatoes and steam or sauté until soft.

9. Ripe Fruit: Baby will love the soft texture and sweet taste of a ripe peach or pear.

10. Sliced Meatballs: The light, juicy texture here makes it an ideal way to bring a little meat to baby’s palate.

To avoid choking, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against giving a child 12-months or younger any food that requires teeth for chewing. Remember that babies will be using their gums to explore first foods.

When you try Baby-Led Weaning, foods to avoid for risk of choking include:

• Hot dogs
• Nuts and seeds
• Chunks of meat or cheese
• Whole grapes
• Dried fruits
• Popcorn
• Raw vegetables
• Cherries
• Anything diced too small, like fruit chunks
• Hard gooey, or sticky candy

Have you tried Baby-Led Weaning? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest if you prefer the traditional spoon feeding method of feeding babies or Baby-Led Weaning.


1. American Academy of Pediatrics

2. “Rethinking Baby Food: Baby-Led Weaning Basics” by Cynthia Ramnarace


4. Taste of Home

5. Photo By:

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