baby led weaning | third times a charm

I’ve gotten a TON of questions about how I started Brady on solid foods, so it was definitely time for an update!

when the twins were four months old our pediatrician mentioned at their well check that we could offer them baby cereal mixed with breast milk or formula.  I hadn’t done a ton of research about feeding feeding babies because, well, hello I had two at once and I was just trying to make it to the next day and keep them alive.  so, I did what I assumed I was supposed to do and started with oatmeal and proceeded to months and months of homemade purees.  I would spend an entire Saturday making homemade food for them and couldn’t even look at a sweet potato to eat for myself.  when they hit 12 months old I had yet to offer them anything other than puffs or yogurt melts (huge mom mistake on my part) so the transition to table foods was pretty exhausting.

I learned about baby led weaning long after the twins would benefit but decided that I would give it a whirl with Baker.  a little apprehensive, I still felt inclined to feed her from a spoon.  I started with baby oatmeal at six months old and eventually got up the courage to offer her table foods only, and it went pretty well!  she was only halfway interested in food, so even still I wasn’t super impressed with solely doing BLW.this third time around, baby led weaning has sort of (un-intentionally) fallen into our lap.  I had decided I was going to make Brady purees, starting with baby cereals and working our way through the vegetables.  I was excited to be making baby food again but I hadn’t figured out when I would fit it in- ha!  around 7 months Brady showed interest in real food (aka started swatting/grabbing/dive bombing for whatever food I was eating), and its been really fun to see what else he might like to eat. initially I was going to do a mixture of both purees and solid foods but thinking about it now, he hasn’t has a pureed food in almost 2 weeks.

I started with avocado:: literally cut open an avocado and scooped out a slice to put it on his tray and it was gone in about a minute:: and I have gradually increased to other foods and we’ve got a fun list going of things he likes to eat!  something to also keep in mind is that breastmilk/formula should still be your baby’s main source of nutrition. BLW “meals” should not replace a bottle feeding but it is okay if it lengthens the time between feedings.  Brady is eating “breakfast” meal and a “dinner” meal which has pushed his bottles from about 3 hours in between to four hours before he’s ready for more milk.  a mid-day meal is hit or miss because of his nap schedule, but I do offer him something informally if we are eating out during the day (and he is awake). B A B Y – L E D   W E A N I N G

basically:: baby-led weaning is all about babies feeding themselves real food.  instead of buying or making pureed foods, give them “table” foods starting around 6 months of age. instead of spooning bites into their mouth, put the food on the tray and let them feed themselves.  while this is the technical term for BLW, I do more of a modified BLW approach and offer Brady some things on a spoon like whole milk yogurt and oatmeal.T H E P R O S to B L W:

  • greater exposure to fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods from a jar.
  • early introduction to different textures and flavors- in hopes that they might be less picky eaters
    • Baker is a prime example to this benefit. the twins remain pretty picky and Baker will eat/try anything I give her.
  • skip the cost of jarred baby food (organic “fresh” jarred foods cost on average greater than $1 each)
  • your child literally just eats what you’re already eating, so there is no additional prep for the baby and prep for the family.
  • there’s no kid food vs adult food, there’s just food.
    • we’ve been able to sit down as a family more often and eat together rather than they all eat and I feed the baby.
  • hand/eye coordination development and fine motor “pincer grasp” control.
  • perhaps the biggest benefit in my eyes, it’s easier to go places, because you don’t have to pack up special food for the baby in addition to whatever you’re already bringing or buying for yourself.

T H E C O N S to B L W:

  • your baby will sometimes gag when they’re learning with solid foods. the biggest concept you have to understand as the parent is that gagging is different from choking. babies will gag as a way to move food around in their mouth and it’s totally fine and normal!  obviously you have to be watching your kid when they eat no matter what.
    • I don’t give large whole grapes, or any other food that’s a choking hazard in the beginning.
  • in the beginning it is MESSY. you can expect that at least half of the food will end up on the floor or smushed in the high chair. but in just the short time Brady has been eating real food he’s gotten a lot less messy and has seemed to pick up this whole “eating real food” thing faster than I thought he would!


  • scrambled eggs + shredded mozzarella cheese
  • organic refried beans // we like Amy’s vegetarian organic beans 
  • brown rice
  • macaroni + cheese // we like Annie’s macaroni 
  • whole milk yogurt  // we like stonyfield farms organic yogurt
  • toasted whole grain waffles + nut butter // we like the VAN’s or Kashi brand waffles
  • sliced strawberries
  • homemade baby pancakes // we like Kodiak Cakes protein mix + breastmilk or water
  • grilled cheese sandwich cut into stripes
  • graham crackers (plain)
  • sprouted whole grain toast + all natural peanut butter
  • crock pot chicken // chicken breast + zesty italian dressing on LOW for 6 hours.
  • rolled oats + peanut butter // whole oats cooked with water and 1 tbsp PB mixed in
  • grilled chicken breast cut into strips
  • hummus + wheat toast
  • toasted English muffin + butter

pin for later!

I’m always looking for fun food ideas for my kids!  recommendations + corrections + fun new things to try are definitely welcome!

November 6, 2017

  1. Casey says:

    I am so glad you posted this and I wasn’t the only one asking ? Thank you!

  2. Alisha Pearson says:

    The refried beans and rice, do u still let them pick up from tray or do u feed him that on spoon?

    • amber says:

      rice yes! but beans I have been offering it on a spoon. he’s not very good at the rice yet! but we’re working on it!

  3. Carrie Brune says:

    Thank you! Would you recommend starting out with this instead of single ingredient foods? My little one is 4 months, so I still have time. Thanks, Amber!


    • amber says:

      Single ingredient foods are very important when starting out because they help to single out allergies and reactions to certain foods if they come about! we’ve been eating whole foods for almost two months now, but we started with the single foods around 5 months (purees) and table foods around 6 months.

  4. Jenn says:

    Thanks for sharing this! My son is almost 7 months and so ready to move on from purées. This gave me some direction and motivation to look into BLW and see how I can fit it into our lives 🙂

  5. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for posting! I found your page years ago when I was searching how to make my own baby food, and have come back time and again for toddler meal/snack ideas, as well as recipes for the whole family. I have never once been disappointed! Thanks for making it easy for us mama’s just trying to figure out where to start!

  6. Morgan says:

    I would add that the only off limit food for babies under a year (besides choking hazards) is honey and that you should monitor salt intake to keep it under 200 mg a day. He is so cute! Baby led weaning is so much fun and so much easier for moms who don’t like/have time to meal plan haha!

  7. Emily says:

    I gather you aren’t much of a fish family, but some of the first foods I gave my son were catfish and salmon, and a year later they are still his favorite. Fish is great for choking-paranoid Moms (like myself) because it’s really hard to choke on flaked fish. If you don’t make it at home, I suggest you order when you’re out!

    • amber says:

      we eat fish every single week! We love fish. Salmon was one of the first foods for the girls and I’ll def be giving it to Brady soon!

  8. Kara says:

    I want to give my daughter cheese but her pediatrician said to hold off until after age 1… she is 11 months. What is your take since I see Brady eats cheese!?

    • amber says:

      cheese is totally fine IMO- it is recommend that NO liquid dairy be given to a baby until 12 months of age but cheese and yogurt are okay.

  9. Erika says:

    This list seems like stuff he’s eating now – did you start with these at 6 months when you started table food? Or did you have a list of more beginner type options?

  10. Ashton says:

    This is an awesome read. Thank you for sharing. My little man is 7 months old but doesn’t have any teeth yet. He is also my first so I have a few questions I’m hoping you can help me with. I am current giving him purées but I wasn’t sure if I needed to wait to give him real foods until he gets teeth.

    • amber says:

      Teeth are not a problem! Brady has two bottom teeth which help him to bite into chicken and other meats, but he gums it to break it down before swallowing. Soft cooked foods are easily mushed with the gums and so I would stick to to those in the beginning!

  11. Amanda says:

    Would you feed the same food everyday for a week to make sure of allergies? Like scrambled eggs all week? Or can you do a different food everyday?

    • amber says:

      If you have a history of food allergies in your family then the “4-day wait rule” is appropriate- you’ll usually see an allergic reaction within 24 hours if there is a true allergy, but in the four days you’ll also see if your baby might have gas/tummy troubles related to that food- so not necessarily an allergy but maybe just doesn’t agree with his tummy. Our pediatrician, and my professional opinion working with pediatrics + food, suggests that babies may be introduced to a variety of foods, all at once, even during the first days of introducing solid foods- the thought is that offering a wider variety of tastes and textures, early and often, will get baby’s tastebuds excited and “trained” to new flavors and allows them to be more willing to try new things.

      OF COURSE do what works for you and your baby and what your pediatrician recommends! every baby is different, I didn’t not have this experience with the twins at all- it was a huge fight to get them to be interested in food and Brady is killing it. If you feel safe to follow the four day wait rule then by all means there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  12. Allyson says:

    Hi! Where did you get his beanie? Love it!

  13. Kelly says:

    THANK YOU!!! My youngest son is 2 weeks older than your babe so I’ve been following along trying to grasp this BLW from your instastories lol =) my husband is so freaked out our baby is going to choke so I’m sending him this post!

  14. Lindsay says:

    BLW has been a huge hit in our house!! Worked for both my daughter (3) and son (13mo) and they currently will eat anything I give them ALL veggies included!! Started with purees at 4 months and then dived right into “real” food 🙂 LOVE your blog – I’ve been following you since I had my daughter and I just can’t get enough!

  15. Shannon Clark says:

    This could not have come at a better time! My daughter just turned 6 months and at her check up Monday she dropped to the 7th percentile in weight. She was 20th at 4 months! The doctor has asked me to add in another nursing (she’s EBF) and start solids. My ‘plan’ has been to offer purees for a month then move into BLW as you did but I would really like to get some calories in her stat. Any recommendations to do that? So far I’ve been offering oatmeal cereal with BM, infant yogurt, bananas, apples and peas (which she hated).

    • amber says:

      Calories for your babe def should come from breastmilk- so I would stick to your pediatrician’s recommendation to add in another feeding.

  16. shanna says:

    So PB is fine under a year old? Didn’t know that! PS….I made the same mistakes with my first and she is still the pickiest eater! Kicking myself!

  17. Jamie says:

    Did your little guy have teeth when you started BLW? I would like to try it with my little guy who will be 6 months on the 1st! So this post is SO helpful, and I cant wait to try this with him! He has no teeth yet but is maybe getting two bottom ones.

    • amber says:

      he only has his two bottom teeth and they had just broken through when we started BLW. Most of the breakdown of food for a baby is done with their gums and tongue, so just make sure foods are pretty soft!