Baby led weaning (BLW) is the idea of letting your baby feed themselves. The phrase was given this name by Gill Rapley, see more on her website.
What is baby-led weaning?
Baby sets their own rate of discovering food as they explore the different options offered. Have fun with the mess and hopefully you get some great tips from our parents on good food options to get started on your baby led weaning journey.
What age did you get started at baby-led weaning? What food did you start with? Why did you do baby led weaning? Are there any foods you avoided?
- I did baby led weaning with my little boy! He had reflux really bad and couldn’t eat puréed food without vomiting straight after! My child health nurse suggested it! I started him at 6months, gave him everything we ate cut up into fingers, easy to hold pieces. Veggies, pumpkin, potato, carrot, broccoli, sweet potato etc. meat, chicken legs, sandwiches, fruit, pasta…pretty much anything! I’d put a few choices on the high chair tray and let him go! He took to this so well ate what he wanted and never brought it back up! He Still eats everything I offer him now and he’s about to turn 3! He is not fussy at all! I highly recommend baby led weaning!!! Tegan
- I started at 6 months, when i introduced food to my son. I started with things like fingers of toast; cucumber peeled and then sliced longways into quarters; chunks of banana; bits of roast pumpkin; very softly steamed broccoli; tofu fingers that had been fried with garlic oil; tempeh fingers (very nutritious); and then i moved onto other steamed veg and just bits of what i was eating generally. We avoided anything hard like carrot sticks etc for safety reasons to avoid choking, and we also avoided all artificial colours, flavours, sweetners etc – NO processed food – no sugar, low salt etc. And we avoided cereals like farex and baby porridge etc. Why BLW? Because the child eats what they are capable of, when they are capable, and they are not overfed. Giving them control gives them time to explore food, enjoy food on many levels, and starts their relationship to food in a positive way. My son will now eat anything and everything. We have done some spoon feeding, like yoghurt and soup when we were eating it ourselves but if it can be held then it goes straight to him. I would also like to say that gagging is totally normal, and its them learning to swallow – which is way different to choking. I never took my eyes off my son at first, and i was a little nervous but the best thing to remember is not to panic when they gag, just make exaggerated chewing faces at your bubba so they learn to copy you. Its heaps of fun! Pheebee
- I’ll be reading with interest, didn’t do it with my now 3.5 yr old son and he is SO picky. Daughter is 5 months so possibly start in about a month but definitely doing baby led weaning! Lana
- How many teeth did you babies have? I have thought about BLW but worried my ds won’t be able the chew it. He’s got 3 bottom teeth and one too. Keira
- I’m also very interested. How big are the pieces of food that you give? My son has been eating purée for a few weeks now and has almost tried all fruit and veg. But so scared of my son choking. Samantha
- Babies don’t need teeth for blw! The munch and chew with their gums 🙂 Renee
- We started BLW at around 6 months with avocado and banana. For some reason the thought of baby cereal never sat quite right with me, so I went researching and came across BLW. I have loved how easy it all has been – she eats what we eat. There has never been the stress at mealtimes of forcing her to eat. DD is small for her age (was born small) but can eat so much food sometimes! At 13 months, at her insistence, she started using metal cutlery and is doing reasonably well. Like others, we gave a loaded spoon for yoghurts, soup etc and she has always managed quite well- I often wonder think she wouldn’t have allowed us to spoon feed her if we’d tried. Cassandra
- Also, my DD had no teeth until around 9 months old and was able to eat most foods offered to her with no issues. Sometimes we would cook her food a bit longer. The food would get a bit mashed by her hands, trying to coordinate picking the food up and get it to her mouth, plus their gums are quite hard. Cassandra
- I’m doing baby led weaning now with my daughter. She’s 9 months old and i’ve been doing it since about 6 months. I would say she doesn’t eat much at all, a couple of bits here and there, maybe a slice of bread and vegemite at lunch few bites of meat and veg or pasta for dinner. Whatever we are eating. I started with broccoli, arvo, pork chop bones, peas, corn, carrot. She’s never had purees or baby cereal its all been whatever we eat. Not too worried that she doesn’t eat much cause i know i’m providing her with the best source of food. I choose to do BLW cause i’m lazy… Lol. No blending or freezing, you don’t have to take anything with you when you go out because they just eat what you eat. I only wish i knew about it with my first too. Kathleen
- Correct me if im wrong, but if there choking its silent and if there gagging its noisy… Gagging is like dry reaching. And baby’s have a very high gagging reflex when starting out. Kathleen
- I started at 4 months with my DD with roast leg like pumpkin, sweet potato, potato for dinner along with gradually adding peas, corn, broccoli and breakfast was porridge using bm or water and toast with butter. I added peanut butter, vegemite or jam closer to 6 months alternate days. I chose it because I found its easy to cook just one meal for 3 than 2separate meals plus I am lazy. She now at 20 months eats a wide range and has great pincer grip for holding pens etc just from picking up peas. Still a messy eater. I know I held off with eggs and honey and milk she’s lactose sensitive and sugar if I could works out chocolate is not good for her or lollies too often. Amazed a few people on how she can eat then and now. Brooke
- Started close to 6 months. Started with banana, avocado, roast pumpkin, steamed carrot all in finger style pieces so they were easy to pick up. Did BLW because it’s easier, they get to feed themselves, you can’t over feed them, you don’t have issues transitioning from puréed to mash to lumpy etc, they eat what you’re eating so no need to prepare different meals and there is no fighting at meal times!! We avoid anything hard that can’t be squashed by our fingers. My tips are, it’s good to have a dog to lie under the high chair and catch all the thrown food 🙂 Shelly
- My son didn’t have teeth til 11 months, i started him at 6 months, gumming is perfectly fine. Pheebee
- After trying my DD at 5 months on puree – which she had no interested in – I looked into BLW and started at 6 months as recommended. She didn’t really eat much at all for the first few months…more playing with textures, etc…which is all part of it. Under pressure I did do some spoon feeding at 7.5 months (as her weight hadn’t increased). As she was use to chunks of food never did purees tho. and we did a combination for a while – which worked well for her. Now 12 months, she’s very independent with eating on her own. Even using her spoon herself now. I really liked the concept of BLW…do your research, a LOT of good material on the web…just Google. Plus join a few facebook groups/pages…like this one. Will definitely be doing it with our next one…no pressure this time. Katie
What are your experiences with baby-led weaning?
- Hello i have noticed a lot of mummas asking questions about feeding bubbas 6 months plus finger foods. so i thought i would share my experience with baby led weaning. we started at 6 months with my daughter she has been having rice cereal and puree vegies for about a month so we decided to give something else a go ( i was really sick o…f pureeing vegies). i did a bit of research and found this new way of feeding called baby led weaning that suggests you dont bother with puree’s at all and go straight to bubbas feeding themselves finger food. so i tried her with a slice of avocado and worried… the whole time! then after she scoffed through 2 slices without any trouble i started to relax a little. from there we went onto fingers of carrot beans broccoli ect. not without a few scary moments where i freaked out thinking she was going to choke but soon learnt that a babies gag reflex is amazing.we then tired pea’s and corn (her favorite) she loves to sit and pick each one up. then she started on the same dinners as us. so now at 11 months she eats everything!!!!. for instance last night she had beef and black bean stir fry and loved every bit of it. i personally have found she is much more accepting to new foods since she is the one in control of putting the food in her mouth. dinner time is so enjoyable for us all we all sit together and eat at the same time. baby led weaning is not for everyone it is very messy! but if you are wanting to give t a go and have any questions feel free to message me 🙂 i hope this helps some of you mummas who are a bit confused about what to start and where to start with finger foods 🙂 Tamara
- I am also going to start my baby boy with BLW when he turns 6 months in July. As we are waiting until 6 months to start solids there is no need for purees, baby can start straight onto chunks of food and feed himself. The main principle is …that baby should be the only one to put food in his mouth ie no spoon feeding (though you can pre-load the spoon and hand it to baby). You should not be concerned about the amount of food he is “eating” as milk is baby’s primary source of nutrition, and baby then gradually weans himself onto more solids as he learns that food supresses hunger. The book by Gil Rapley is excellent. We are very excited! Francesca
- I started with scrambled egg… And my 14 month old eats what we do!! Gums are just as good as teeth… And feeding them selves teaches them to chew properly. So much fun watching her Taste different foods! Stacey
- Tamara I’ve done this with my kids before I even knew there was a name for it, lol, its worked beautifully. It’s definitely the way I’m going to go with this bub too. Natasha
- I’ve done blw with all mine, my eldest is 9 and it didnt have a name then 🙂 Emma
- Same here. My 9 month old eats everything we do. The only thing she let’s me feed her are weetbix, yogurt and purée fruit. Also I discourage people from starting babies from starting solids before 4 months. Babies don’t need anything except milk before 6 months plus it can cause allergic reactions. Kayla
- Ha ha ha Stacey we did whole egg very early mchn almost fell offher chair when I told her. We have no family history of allergies and being an x childcare worker I am trained to know what to do in case of anaphylactic shock so i just went …for it. Indi has also tried a small amount of peanut butter and has no trouble. I suppose when you think about it baby led weaning isn’t a new thing at all it’s what our grandparents grandparents would of done when they didn’t have “rules” and bucket loads of information at their fingers tips. I agree the book by Gil Ripley is fantastic. I have a few friends who are still feeing their 11-12 month olds puree’s I don’t know how they manage I would hate to be doing puree’s. I’m 26 weeks pregnant and when this bubba is 6 months it will be going straight to finger foods 🙂 Tamara
- I ended up doing BLW with my daughter simply because she only let me feed her off a spoon for about a month. I had heard of it but dismissed it for fear of choking but it turned out to be what my daughter wanted. I had so many comments at f…irst with people amazed at the stuff I would give her and that she would eat but now I have a 13 month old who is an amazing eater. I have to admit, when she was younger I would sneak the purée in while she was eating something with her hands because I worried she wasn’t getting enough, that way we were both happy. Next time round I will prob do things the same, but will be much more relaxed about bubs feeding themselves. Emma
- Thanks for sharing its great hearing about other people’s experiences. However I think it’s important to keep in mind that all babies are different & this technique will not be suitable for some. I actually went straight from pureed fruits …& vegetables to soft boiled veggies & other soft finger foods with my son when he wouldn’t let me spoon feed him at 9 months of age. Unfortunately because we skipped the stage in between (mashed) my son has developed chewing/speech issues. He is now 18 mths old & we are working closely with a speech therapist using various ‘therapy’ foods to encourage his chewing. It has also lead to delayed sppech development. Because he didn’t learn how to deal with the chunks in mash he now swallows his food whole & has had a bad gag reflex. We also couldn’t get him to eat & he became iron deficient which they’ve linked to the fact that meat was too hard to chew & swallow whole (no matter how small I made the pieces). Just thought I’d share my experiences as it has been a difficult time for us. I’m a first time Mum too… Renee
Baby Led Weaning
Baby Led Weaning – Let Your Babies Feed Themselves
Baby Led Weaning – Facebook Group