Once you’ve got a plan together for how you want to feed your baby, it's time to talk all about the foods you can start with. Keep reading for some baby led weaning first foods ideas!
Once you’ve decided on baby led weaning, what foods should you begin with? The options are endless!
I recommend building your plate with food from 3 different groups: A high-calorie food, a high-iron food, and a fruit or veggie. There's no need to start with only one food at a time, I recommend just diving right in by serving balanced plates with these foods. Just keep in mind that you only want to be serving one or two pieces of each item to keep from overwhelming your baby.
There's also no need to be overly concerned with serving vegetables or fruit first. Serving balanced meals and including both fruits and vegetables over the course of a day is a great way to help your baby learn to like them.
The ideas that I'm giving you here today are separated by the three different categories you need for a balanced plate.
Avocados are a classic starter food. They are full of healthy fats, and are soft for your baby to eat.
Sweet potatoes are another food that is a great option for this category. They’re a pretty dense source of calories for your baby.
Breads can be a great starter food that will also help you get other foods into your baby… if you keep a couple of things in mind! You don’t want it too soft and gummy, or too crumbly. Often, the best way to achieve this texture is to toast it. You also want to look for a bread with no added sweeteners and either low, or no, added salt. It can be a tall order, but there are breads out there that fit the bill. Check out this post for what you should look for when buying bread for your baby.
Arguably the most important of the food groups, there are some great baby friendly options.
Red meat is a great first option. Choose something like beef and cut it into strips. The idea is that your baby will suck on it and get out the juice, not actually chew it or break any off.
Lentils are another great option, and can be served many different ways including just cooked plain and in a stew or curry. My favorite, and the most convenient option, is a lentil pasta. There are several different brands and styles out there of lentil pastas. Cook them until they are soft enough for your baby, and they are an easy way for your baby to handle lentils.
Beans of all kinds are also a great source of iron. Mash them up lightly with a fork before serving to help your baby digest them easier, and expect them to eat them using their palm and a raking motion.
The sky’s the limit with fruits and veggies as long as they are able to be squished between two fingers. (This means that things like raw apple are out!)
Carrots that have been cut into a finger size and steamed are a great option that can be soft while still holding their shape to allow for easy eating.
Curious how to steam vegetables? Here’s a video showing you how!
Bananas are another great option that are firm enough to hold their shape while still being soft enough to be safe.
Broccoli that has been steamed can be another great option as the stalk provides a handle for your baby to hold. Once your baby chews the top of the broccoli off, it’s often best to take away the stem so there is no chance of choking.
Looking for some more food ideas to help you serve balanced baby plates? Check out my online course Starting Solids: The First Year where we go over everything you need to know to successfully feed your baby during their whole first year. The course includes extensive details on how to build a balanced plate for your baby, as well as in depth lists with foods from each category. Find out more about the course here!
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Learn what you need to know about starting your baby on solid foods, from how to serve them balanced plates to how to set up a positive mealtime environment. No arbitrary rules or judgements, here! Just guidance and tips that will help you feel confident in how you feed your baby!
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