Our Adventure with Baby-Led Weaning + Tips


I will admit I am a sucker for messy baby faces full of food. Seeing the joy and excitement of that first taste is one of my favorite milestones. My husband and I knew that the way we chose to introduce food would lay the groundwork for healthy eating habits. When the time came, we decided that baby-led weaning was the path for us. It was an adventure that we were excited for.

» » » » » » » » »  RELATED READ: My Do’s and Don’ts for Raising Healthy Eaters  « « « « « « « « «

As any new parent would do on the horizon of a new milestone, we researched and talked to our pediatrician about starting solids. Baby-led weaning is the method of introducing food to an infant in which an infant feeds themselves. The focus is on family mealtime and allowing baby to eat the same foods mom and dad are eating with minor modifications. I know this sounds scary, but I hope to leave you with some tips that helped us on our baby-led weaning journey.

Do What You Are Comfortable With

It’s okay to start with purees. Instead of hand feeding baby with a spoon, load the spoon and let them feed themselves. They will explore the texture, and it will get all over their chubby cheeks. Another alternative is smashing their food. For example, smash an avocado or steamed fruit and load their spoon. They will pick it up, and I promise you they will find their mouth. Many times, they will also grab the mashed-up mixtures and feed themselves with their little hands. This builds eye-hand coordination.

It Will Get Messy!

Lean into the mess. It’s easier said than done. Baby is exploring textures and perfecting their fine motor skills. I warn you, they will miss their mouth! They will want to squish, squeeze, and smash. Arm yourself with the rubber bibs with the catch-it-all built in. Or a baby feeding smock like this one from Amazon.

lean into the mess of baby led weaning.
Lean into the mess of baby-led weaning.

You Don’t Have to Give Up Taco Tuesday

The beauty of baby-led weaning is that baby gets to enjoy a meal with the family with minor modifications. There have been a few times when my husband and I don’t have some sort of options to feed our sons. We have enjoyed taco Tuesdays and Chick-Fil-A dates and everything in between. At first, it may take some planning to ensure that there are options at mealtime. If you are planning a family dinner at a restaurant, look at the menu ahead of time and have different options in mind for baby. Small steps like this will make baby-led weaning more enjoyable. If you are making a spicy dish at home, portion out a small amount of what you will be eating and remove the jalapenos or spices. Being able to enjoy the same meal as a family encourages healthy eating habits for everyone around the table.

Safety First!

Sit with your little one and enjoy the meal with them. They will learn from you. This also ensures that they are not unattended during mealtime. No matter what method you use to introduce foods to your baby, it is always a good idea to have knowledge of infant and child CPR. The American Red Cross offers Infant and Toddler CPR training in our region. Review this list of upcoming training classes.

Where to Start

Some signs that baby is ready to start solids are:

  • Ability to hold their head up while sitting.
  • Showing an interest in food.
  • When offered food, they are able to move it around their mouth.

When your little one has hit these milestones, you are ready to start baby-led weaning! Make sure your highchair is armed with a straight back and adjustable footrest. Before you jump into a full meal with baby, start with simple foods that are cut the size and length of your finger. Here are some easy finger foods to introduce:

  • Aguacate spears
  • Banana lollipops (small finger-length cut banana with part of the peel taken off, it looks like baby is holding a lollipop!)
  • Roasted sweet potato spears
  • Steamed apple spears
  • Steamed or roasted broccoli florets
  • Avocado toast spears
  • Omelet cut into strips
  • Purees loaded onto baby spoons.
Avocado Spears, finger foods
Finger-sized handheld foods, like this avocado spear, are easy first foods for baby-led weaning.

The list could go on, but if you can cut it into a spear or a handheld bite-size piece, it will work! Once your little one’s fine motor skills start to develop more, you can start with smaller food items.

Stress free mealtime
Mealtime can be stress-free and fun.

Mealtime can be stress-free and fun. Baby-led weaning has allowed us to prep one meal and have the entire family enjoy it together. This journey has expanded the palates of both our little boys and has created a foundation of good eating habits.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of El Paso Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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Vickie Enriquez
Victoria Enriquez is known to her family and friends as Vickie. She was born and raised in El Paso and spent some time away after grad school launching her career in engineering. By day she is an Environmental, Health, and Safety Engineer, and by night mama to Emiliano, Emi for short. She has been married to her husband Roger since July of 2015. She is a coach’s wife and loves every second of their sports-filled, busy lives! In the fall, you can find her and Emi in the football stands, and in the spring, you’ll find them on the baseball diamond cheering on their #1 guy. In 2018 she became a mom to a perfect rainbow baby, Emiliano. He is a true miracle in her and her husband’s life, and he is the center of their world. Her husband and son are the greatest joys. Vickie spends her free time volunteering with the Junior League of El Paso giving back to her community. She wants her son to grow up in a life of service and giving back, teaching him kindness and compassion. Follow Vickie on Instagram here.


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