How to do Baby Led Weaning + Free Guide!

When I was pregnant with my first baby, the talk in all of the online forums I was in was about how to do Baby Led Weaning.

I had no idea what it meant but it was such a buzz phrase!

After a little online research, I found out about Gill Rapley and bought her book about how to do baby led weaning – you can grab it here (affiliate link).

Rapley had coined the phrase ‘baby led weaning’. The concept being that instead of giving your baby mashed up fruit and vegetables or other purees and spoon feeding them, you go straight on to them eating ‘proper’ food and learning to feed themselves.

Whilst most of my friends were looking forward to creating culinary masterpieces in the kitchen for their little one (and then pureeing them to pieces), I wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to cook. But with that, I love to eat too! So with the promise of letting our baby learn to feed herself, I was hooked.

Baby eating Watermelon

We had an open mind, the forums I was in spoke of babies who just didn’t like it. Or parents who didn’t. We decided to give it a go though. You can read more about our experience of baby led weaning here.

How to do Baby Led Weaning

I’m sharing some of my top tips on how to do baby led weaning from what worked for us. If you have any concerns about your baby starting solids, please check with your GP first.

1.  Keep it simple at first

In the beginning, we started with soft fruits and vegetables like bananas and soft-cooked carrots and sweet potato. We chopped them into finger food sticks so that our baby could pick them up easily.

Chopped up banana for Baby Led Weaning

It took a few goes for my baby to get the food to her mouth – we watched in excited anticipation for day! Then after just a few days we saw her developing her pincer grip and getting some success!

After a few weeks we introduced buttered bread and toast fingers and she loved them!

2.  Be prepared for mess

For the first few weeks (at least), expect most of the food to hit the floor or at best cover your baby from head to toe. We invested in some full-coverage bibs that definitely helped to keep her clothes protected.

Don’t feed them on a carpeted floor – or if you do, spread a garbage bag under their high chair or a surface you can wipe clean. It gets messy!

3.  Add variety when you’re ready

After my baby had gotten the hang of what she was doing, we introduced more variety. We found that in the meals we were eating ourselves, there was a lot of food she could try to.

This included soft-cooked vegetables, penne pasta, rice, pieces of cooked chicken, grapes cut in half etc.

It was so lovely to see her enjoying the food we were eating too – plus meant we didn’t have to cook anything differently for her.

We could literally seat and eat our own food while she was sitting and eating her own food – brilliant!

4.  Persevere

When we introduced new foods, 9 times out of 10 my baby would turn her nose up at it.

It took 3 or 4 days of trying the same food before she adapted to liking it. So don’t give up at the first hurdle.

5.  You don’t have to be ‘All or Nothing’

Some of my friends did only BLW and some only purees. We decided to do a bit of both as we were a family who were out and about a lot.

Through a combination of baby led weaning and some purees, my baby had the chance to not only learn to feed herself but to also try a variety of different textures, shapes and flavours.

I really think that doing baby led weaning has helped both of my kids to love all food and they are not picky eaters at all – I hope I haven’t jinxed that for myself! I just want my kids to grow up making good food choices.

Do you have any tips on how to do Baby Led Weaning?

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4 Comments

  1. Jordana
    8th May 2017 / 4:11 pm

    We started BLW in the last week – so far we’ve given our son boiled carrot sticks, rice crackers and banana he is yet to actually eat much at all but he has so much fun playing with the food ancient exploring! He actually chewed the carrot sticks yesterday and swallowed some, I was so proud!
    I found your blog over the weekend hun – fantastic blog, I love it!

    • 8th May 2017 / 4:26 pm

      Oh thank you and that’s so wonderful – it’s so much fun to see them trying :) x

  2. 1st May 2017 / 2:34 pm

    Perfect timing for me Mim, 2 weeks into introducing solids with baby no. 2 :)
    With baby no. 1 we were all about the purees, curious about BLW but feeling that it was not really encouraged by Well Child advisors here in NZ. Certainly all the printed material they distribute recommends spoon feeding to begin with.
    Doing it all over again, spoon feeding feels a little bit like force feeding. I want my precious daughter to have a healthy relationship with food from the get-go, so I’m wanting to take more of a baby-led approach this time. BLW will be a bit of a learning curve for both of us though – thanks for the tips!!

    • 1st May 2017 / 2:45 pm

      Oh good timing! It suited us so well – and by that I mean it suited my kids first but we had the benefits too :) A lot of my friends whose babies didn’t take to spoon feeding thrived once they could learn to feed themselves too. Good luck lovely! x

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