Won’t it be amazing if you could take a break from spoon-feeding your little one all the time? What if we told you that there is an amazing alternative to offering pureed and mashed food to your baby? If the age of your baby is 6 months or more, it is absolutely safe to give solid foods. However, there’s a method to be followed and that’s what BLW (baby led weaning) is all about. Intrigued to learn how to do it right and what are its advantages? In this blog, I will answer all your questions about BLW and share some easy and nutritious baby led weaning recipes that you can prepare within minutes.
Definition of baby led weaning
In simple words, a baby’s introduction to solid foods or encouraging a baby to self-feed is known as the baby led weaning style. When a baby is born, it mainly survives on breast milk or formula for the first few months. Doctors also recommend giving fruit juices and vegetable purees. On the other hand, BLW involves giving finger sized edibles from your meals to your baby. This approach will add variety to a baby’s boring diet comprising liquids only.
Baby led weaning benefits
By now it is already clear to you that BLW is among the most interesting infant self-feeding ideas. But what do dieticians have to say about it? Why should you prepare baby-led weaning recipes at home? Here’s why:
1. Develops motor skills
When it comes to developing their motor skills, babies require constant practice. Baby-led weaning fine tunes the motor development of a baby by giving them several opportunities to work on various skills throughout the day.
2. Teaches self regulation
One of the risks of spoon-feeding is that you may end up overfeeding the baby at times. But with a baby-led weaning breakfast, this can never happen. The baby will stop the intake as soon as its tummy is full. So, the baby will also not become overweight.
3. Exposure to a range of textures and foods
A lot of babies throw a tantrum when it’s food time mainly because they hate what parents serve them. When you add some variety, your baby will be thrilled to explore the texture, aroma, color, and taste of the food. Scientific studies have proved that BLW has a positive impact on a kid’s eating habits, palates, and food preferences.
4. Saves money and time
As a new parent, you have already witnessed that baby products – be it baby food or baby clothes – are expensive. So, by choosing safe weaning foods, you neither have to spend money of baby food nor cook, blend, freeze, and defrost homemade food for the baby. Naturally, you will save a lot of time.
5. Involving the baby in family meals
Won’t it be wonderful if the whole family (including your baby) can sit and dine together? One of the perks of trying BLW is that you won’t have to feed your baby separately. As they munch on tiny bites while you have your food, they will learn healthy eating habits from you and interact with the rest of the family. Family meals also give children a sense of togetherness and security. With BLW, you can even dine out without having to pack and carry special food for your sweetie pie, given that you pick dishes containing baby-friendly ingredients.
Signs that your baby is ready for solid foods
How do you figure out your baby is old enough to enjoy homemade baby foods or start solids? Look for the following signs that usually develop when a baby is 6 months old:
- They are able to keep their head up even without someone’s support
- They have some control over their tongue movements and they shop sticking it out whenever food is offered
- They can stay seated (with support) in a high chair
- They can chew as well as swallow properly
- They can use their hands to put food into their mouth
Baby led weaning recipes
Now comes the fun part which is selecting nutritious weaning meals for the apple of your eye. Have a look at these easy BLW recipesthat can be made in no time and are extremely tasty:
1. Kids’ omelette
Omelette is among the soft food recipes for babies and to make one, melt some butter in a pan, add a few sliced tomatoes and cook until they are soft. Pour in the eggs and keep the flame low. When the egg is cooked, grate some cheese and cut the omelette into small pieces.
2. Chickpea fritters
Chickpea fritters are so yummy that even the adults in your home won’t be able to resist them. The ingredients required are grated carrot, garlic cloves, plain flour, chopped coriander, grated lemon, vegetable oil, chickpeas, and grated ginger. First, crush boiled chickpeas with the help of the back of a fork and mix all the other ingredients with it. Give the shape of small balls and fry on vegetable oil or olive oil for 3-4 minutes.
3. Chicken meatballs
Does your toddler love chicken? Then you can make fresh meatballs and serve them with rice for a fulfilling dinner. Blend chicken, carrot, chives, and celery in a food processor and make small balls. Then grease the baking tray with some oil and bake the meatballs for 10 minutes. Make sure they are cooked through, crispy and brown on the outside. Meatballs can be served with steamed veggies, and this is one of the favorite baby-led weaning recipes.
4. Sweet potato and salmon muffins
Baby weaning meal planning in incomplete unless you give some superfoods. Sweet potatoes and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, and they should be fed when a baby is ready to start solid foods. To prepare this easy recipe from scratch, boil the sweet potato and remove the bones from the salmon after baking it. Beat eggs with some chives and black pepper and stir in the salmon and the potato with the help of a spoon. The baking time is 10-12 minutes and you’ll need a knife to remove the cute muffins carefully.
5. Spinach and sweetcorn fritters
Your quest for scrumptious baby finger foods is here. Spinach and sweetcorn fritters have protein and vitamin C, thus making them perfect foods for babies 6 months old. Blend sweetcorn, spinach leaves, crushed garlic, chopped onions, baking powder, milk, egg, and plain flour in a food processor. Heat some oil in a pan and then take small portions of the mixture with the help of the spoon. Fry each side until it turns golden brown and serve them warm.
6. Baby pasta
Iron-rich pasta recipes are perfect for a baby to pick and relish. Simply make a sauce with ripe tomatoes (no sugar or salt). You can add colorful vegetables and the bigger the size of the pasta, the easier for babies to grab.
Points to remember when you start baby-led weaning meals
Whichever weaning style and recipes for baby-led weaning you choose, you should be alert and respond to your darling child’s hunger cues. Keeping an eye on the baby when it eats is mandatory. Here are some tips for first timers:
- Give liberty to the baby to smell, touch, and taste the food.
- Introducing solids does not mean you should stop the breastfeeding or baby cereal. The baby needs to be breastfed for at least a year.
- While some gagging is not unusual, avoid giving foods that might choke the baby.
Is BLW advisable for all babies?
While offering finger foods to a baby and toddler can be a fantastic option for most families, you must note that some babies might not benefit from it. For instance, a baby with neurological issues or developmental delays should begin eating solids the conventional way. So, if a baby has any such issue, the best thing to do is consult an experienced pediatrician.
We may conclude by saying that eating should be an enjoyable experience for a baby. So, irrespective of the baby led weaning meal ideas you have in mind, you should not scold or pressurize your child to eat as that can cause trauma. Whether you prefer to give purees or finger foods, pressure from parents can adversely impact the willingness of a baby to accept new dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are some simple and safe baby led weaning recipes for beginners?
When it comes to healthy eating for infants, sweet potato fries, pumpkin pasta, roasted veggies, cheesy broccoli bites, carrot cake, and whole grains crackers are some of the best first foods perfect for babies.
Q. How can I ensure nutritional balance in my baby’s diet through baby led weaning recipes?
To ensure your baby is on a balanced diet, you should serve nutritional baby meals that are rich in protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals (like iron, zinc, etc.). Additionally, avoid giving foods that have added sugar, too much oil/ spices, or are packaged.