Attachment parenting

A Beginner’s Guide to Introducing Solids with Baby-Led Weaning

Jun 24, 2023

Welcome to the world of baby-led weaning! As a parent or caregiver, you want the best for your little one. Introducing solid foods is an exciting milestone in your baby’s development, but it can also be overwhelming. You may have heard about baby-led weaning, a method of introducing solids that emphasizes self-feeding and independence. In this tutorial, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on how to introduce solids with baby-led weaning.

What is Baby-Led Weaning?

Baby-led weaning is a method of introducing solid foods to babies that emphasizes self-feeding and independence. Instead of spoon-feeding purees, babies are offered soft pieces of food that they can pick up and eat on their own. The idea behind baby-led weaning is that babies are capable of feeding themselves when they are developmentally ready, and by allowing them to choose what and how much to eat, they learn to regulate their appetite and develop healthy eating habits.

Baby-led weaning has become increasingly popular in recent years as more parents seek a natural and intuitive approach to feeding their babies. While it may sound daunting at first, many parents find that baby-led weaning is a fun and rewarding way to introduce their babies to the world of solid foods.

When Should You Start Baby-Led Weaning?

Before starting baby-led weaning, it’s important to make sure your baby is developmentally ready. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most babies are ready to start solids around 6 months of age. Some signs that your baby may be ready for solids include:

  • Sitting up with support
  • Showing interest in food
  • Reaching for food or utensils
  • Losing the tongue-thrust reflex (pushing food out of their mouth with their tongue)

It’s important to note that every baby is different, and some may not be ready for solids until closer to 8 or 9 months. Always consult with your pediatrician before starting solids to make sure your baby is ready.

How to Start Baby-Led Weaning

Starting baby-led weaning can be intimidating, but with a little preparation and patience, it can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your baby. Here are some steps to help you get started:

Step 1: Choose the Right Foods

The first step in baby-led weaning is choosing the right foods to offer your baby. It’s essential to choose foods that are safe, easy to chew and swallow, and nutrient-dense. Some good options include:

  • Soft fruits, such as bananas, avocados, and peaches
  • Cooked vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans
  • Soft meats, such as chicken or fish
  • Eggs (scrambled or hard-boiled)
  • Toasted bread or crackers

Avoid foods that are choking hazards, such as nuts, popcorn, grapes, and hot dogs. Also avoid high-sugar or high-fat foods that offer little nutritional value.

Step 2: Prepare the Food

Once you’ve chosen the right foods, it’s time to prepare them for your baby. Cut the food into small pieces or strips that are easy for your baby to pick up and hold. Soft fruits may need to be mashed or pureed slightly if they’re too slippery for your baby to grab.

It’s important to note that babies don’t need teeth to eat solid foods. They use their gums to mash and chew the food, so make sure the pieces are soft enough for them to manage.

Step 3: Offer the Food

When it’s time to offer the food, sit your baby in a high chair or at the table with you. Offer a few pieces of food on their tray or plate and let them explore. Don’t worry if they don’t eat much at first; the goal is to let them get comfortable with the textures and flavors of solid foods.

It’s important to supervise your baby closely while they’re eating and never leave them unattended. Choking is a risk with any type of solid food, so be prepared to intervene if necessary.

Step 4: Follow Your Baby’s Lead

The key to baby-led weaning is letting your baby take control of their feeding. Let them choose what and how much to eat, and don’t force them to finish anything they don’t want. If they’re not interested in a particular food, try offering it again another day.

It’s also important to pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues. Babies have small stomachs and may not eat much at each meal, so offer breast milk or formula as needed between meals.

Tips for Success with Baby-Led Weaning

Here are some additional tips for success with baby-led weaning:

  • Start with one food at a time to help identify any potential allergies or sensitivities.
  • Offer a variety of foods and textures to help your baby develop a taste for different flavors.
  • Be patient! It may take several tries before your baby accepts a new food.
  • Make mealtime fun and enjoyable. Offer finger foods that your baby can play with and explore.
  • Don’t worry about the mess! Let your baby explore their food without worrying about the cleanup.


Baby-led weaning is a natural and intuitive way to introduce your baby to solid foods. By offering soft pieces of food that your baby can pick up and eat on their own, you’re promoting self-feeding and independence. With a little preparation and patience, baby-led weaning can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your baby. Remember to choose safe, nutrient-dense foods, supervise your baby closely while they’re eating, and let them take control of their feeding. Enjoy this exciting milestone in your baby’s development!