Are you wondering how to cut foods for Baby Led Weaning? Keep reading below as I walk you through the sizes you should be serving and give you lots of examples!
This might just be the million dollar question! I hear from so many parents that they are worried about cutting foods for their baby so that they are safe. So I thought I would put together a guide to help alleviate your concerns and help give you confidence that you know what you are doing!
Before we get into it, remember that these are just examples. All babies are different, and will like different things. Follow the general safety rules for serving foods to your baby, but beyond that let them lead the way! For more of my take on different sizes of foods, check out this post.
In general, your goal is to make food easy for your baby to pick up and grasp. When they are first learning to eat, they have what we call a palmar grasp, and they generally rake things up with their fingers into their palms. This means that they really can’t pick up small things very easily as they haven’t learned the pincer grasp using their thumb and forefinger, yet.
Beyond ease of grasping, there is really not much to be concerned about from a safety standpoint. Many parents think that if you don’t cut the food just right, it will be a choking risk. But the biggest choking risk is not having the texture right! Size matters for choking when it comes to circular objects like grapes and cherry tomatoes. Other than that, how you cut is primarily to help your baby eat it easily while being able to pick it up.
So just what is easiest? You generally want the food you are serving to be around 1-2 adult finger widths wide, and 1.5-2x the length of your baby’s fist.
This gives them something to easily pick up while also enabling them to still have food sticking out the sides of their hands that they can actually get to with their mouth.
Below you will find several examples of how to cut food for baby led weaning. Again, these are by no means the only way to do it, but should give you a good idea of where to start!
Cucumbers- Slice in to sticks 1/4 or 1/6 of a cucumber wide. Can leave skin on until baby starts to break pieces of it off.
Carrots- Slice into finger width sticks
Bananas- slice into finger width sticks. Can also give a similar length of a whole banana, or cut it into half lengthwise.
Eggs- Fry or scramble omelet style and cut into fingers.
Broccoli- Babies can use the stalk as a handle and nibble off the top
Apple- Whole or raw apples are choking hazards. Cut thinly and be sure to cook until soft, or grate and cook until soft.
Kiwi- many fruits like this are too small to cut as long as other foods. Just cut wide enough that your baby can get it in their palm without it disintegrating, and don't worry about the length.
Strip of meat- the idea is for babies to gnaw at meat and suck out the juices for the iron content!
You can still serve things that are not in this shape, think beans or lentils, you just want to make them as easy to rake up with their fingers and palm as possible. So things that stick together or are lumpy are a better bet than things that need to be picked up using a thumb and forefinger.
In need of some more ideas for food to feed your baby? In my online course Starting Solids: The First Year I have extensive food lists to help you come up with balanced meals. I not only help you with what to feed, though! I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the actual logistics of feeding, too, so you learn how to actually teach your baby to eat well. Feeding goes way beyond just what your baby puts in their mouth, and there aren’t many places that talk about the how of feeding along with the what! Click here to find out more information!
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