Tuesday 2 August 2016

Baby led weaning: Top tips & first foods

This week, we have delved into the world of Baby led weaning with Aria. We did it with Sienna and loved it but for some reason I was really nervous this time round so we started with purees at 5 months. Aria's now 5.5 months and has the start of her two from teeth and is trying to chew everything so I felt ready and excited to start her. I have heard a few people say they are nervous about Baby led weaning or don't know what to give their baby so I thought I'd put together a post of my top tips on starting and the best first foods .

Top tips for starting baby led weaning

Don't panic
Easier said than done I know! Choking is a hazard but what occurs more often is gagging. Gagging is your babies way or getting the food back to the front of their mouth if it's gone too far back, so if they are gagging, their reflex is working which is a good thing and they're handling it. Try not to swoop in with the 'OMG she's choking' or you will then confuse and upset your baby and they might then associate this with eating and it might put them off. Wait until the gagging has stopped and then offer a drink.

Forget 'baby food'
When doing baby led weaning, you can pretty much give them everything you eat within reason along as there's no added salt or sugar. Avoid allergens before 12 months (nuts, honey, shark, swordfish, marlin, goats' and sheep's milk/yogurt & mould-ripened soft cheese) and make sure they're big pieces for baby to pick up. 

Don't make it bland
A lot of people think babies will only like bland food but in our experience, it's the opposite. They love the flavours so if you're eating spag bol or a mild curry, try them with it!

Don't expect much eating
Don't expect your baby to eat much at all at the beginning. They will start of by exploring the textures with their hands and probably just mush it before actually attempting to each much at all. For before one, is just for fun! 

Expect mess
Baby led weaning is messy but that is part of the fun! Make sure you're prepared with a plastic highchair with tray, all in one wipe-clean bibs and a sip clean splash mat under the highchair. 

First baby led weaning foods
Ensure you give your baby these foods in slices or wedges so they are easy to grab and hold.

Fruit - Banana, (leave part of the skin on so it's easier for them to hold), mango, melon, peach, pear.
Avocado - A ripe avocado is the perfect first food and so nutritious. 
Steamed soft veggies - Steamed soft veggies such as carrots, sweet potato/white potatoes, courgette, butternut squash or broccoli are perfect. Broccoli is a fab texture to explore!

Raw veggies - Carrots, cucumber and pepper strips are perfect for baby to chew and suck and also help with teething too!
Toast strips - There's no reason why you can't try carbs.. toast strips with a little spread of butter is perfect. 
Unsalted ricecakes - Rice cakes are great, they tend to go soggy and dissolve quite quickly when sucked. 
Cooked pasta - Pasta is great for them to nibble on! With sauce is a bit messier but will add more flavour, just make sure there isn't too much salt or sugar, it's best to make your own so you know what's in it. 
Pancakes - Whip up some homemade wholewheat pancakes (1 cup wholewheat flour, 1.2 cup milk, 1 egg) and cut into strips for baby.
Houmous - Houmous is a great source of protein and easy for babies to swallow. Making your own is so easy too!
Yogurt - Full fat plain/greek yogurt with fruit is a great easy breakfast option. Give baby the yogurt spread on the fruit or put a dollop on the highchair for them to use their hands or dip the fruit in themselves. 
Porridge - Make the porridge a bit thicker or bake it and put it onto the tray so they can use their hands to eat it. 
Cheese - Grated or sticks.
Meat/fish - Sticks of cooked meat or fish. Cut up homemade beef burgers/meatballs or fishcakes work great too.
Eggs - Hard boiled eggs, strips of omelette or scrambled eggs are brilliant.

This is just a little list.. you really can pretty much give them anything but I hope this is a good starting point! 

You might also like my 'pros and cons of baby led weaning' post and don't forget to pin this post for future reference!

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