Using Baby Food While Baby Led Weaning (+ Easy Recipes!) (2024)

Thank you Beech-Nut® for sponsoring this post—all opinions are my own! Photos by Mary Ware

Wondering what it’s like to use baby food while doing baby-led weaning?

Then this post is for you!

I’m sharing a few reasons I did a combination of both and an easy 3 ingredient baby led weaning muffin recipe that uses baby food as one of the ingredients!

I’m also sharing several other baby led weaning finger foods for toddlers to introduce as your child is ready.

(Make sure your baby doesn’t have allergies to any of theingredients and that your doctor has given the okay to introduce those foods)!

My little one loves to eat and I’ve shared various clips or photos on my Instagram that have both baby food purees and regular food, and I’ve gotten questions about whether or not I’m doing one or the other.

I actually do a combination of baby food purees and baby led weaning, and it works for me and my family.

I know some people feel strongly one way or the other, but if you are curious about why we went this way, or are thinking about doing it yourself, here are my reasons and thoughts!

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Deciding to Start with Baby Food Purees

With my second child, I knew I wanted to start baby led weaning earlier, but also really appreciate how easy baby purees are for introducing a wide range of foods.

I waited for Ellie to learn to sit up independently before starting baby led weaning, but she was showing signs of readiness (opening her mouth when we were eating, stealing her sister’s food out of her hand and trying to eat it, etc.) before that.

So, I decided to let her explore the idea of food with purees in the meantime.

Beech-Nut Naturals

I used Beech-Nut® Naturals™ Stage 1 baby food as her first food when she was about 5.5 months old. I chose this specific food because it was important for me to have single, high-quality ingredients.

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She went crazy for the food! She loved it right from the start and was so receptive to different flavors. Some of her favorites were Beech-Nut® Naturals™ Just Butternut Squash (Stage 1), and Just Carrots (Stage 1).

Single-ingredient was important for us at the start because it helped us see if she had any allergies or reactions to certain foods.

She actually seemed to be sensitive to either some fruits or other purees with acidic preservatives, so it was easier to narrow down foods that worked well when there was strictly a food ingredient (such as carrots only without any artificial preservatives) and then working up to blends of two or more foods together.

One of the reasons I chose Beech-Nut® Naturals™ was that it is made with real ingredients that are simply prepared. They contain real fruits and vegetables, without anything unnecessary or unnatural, and are gently cooked and pureed cold to preserve nutrients.

Shortly after we started solids with purees, she started sitting up on her own and I started baby led weaning as well.

However, life with a toddler and a baby is hectic, so I continued incorporating purees because it worked for our family and because it let me try certain foods on her without having to spend extra time prepping (such as steaming apples or roasting sweet potatoes).

Not only did we do a combination, but I started trying out different ways to create first foods using baby food. This is such an easy way to create fun table food for baby led weaning easily!

Homemade Baby-Led Weaning Muffins with Baby Food Puree

Take these mini muffins for example—they are easy for Ellie to grab and eat, and super quick to put together.

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All you need for the muffins are:

  • A jar of Beech-Nut® Naturals™ Apple, Cinnamon & Granola (Stage 2)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup of flour

The bananas help bind the muffin mix together, and the combination of ingredients in the baby food give it a great flavor. Combine all ingredients (mash the bananas well) and bake at 350 for around 10 minutes.

They were a huge hit!

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Using Baby Food While Baby Led Weaning (+ Easy Recipes!) (5)

You can also use baby food as a base ingredient for other first foods, like baby pancakes, popsicles, or to create more savory foods like veggie muffins.

These, for example, are made with Beech-Nut® Naturals™ Just Spinach, Zucchini & Peas (Stage 2), and quick oats.

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Using Baby Food While Baby Led Weaning (+ Easy Recipes!) (7)

There are lots of choices out there for how to introduce solids to a baby. This is what has worked for my family, and it is a great way to ease into baby led weaning while still making sure your baby gets to try lots of different types of food.

It is really important to read labels however—all baby food is not created equal! Simple is definitely better when it comes to ingredients!

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More Baby-Led Weaning Recipes

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Using Baby Food While Baby Led Weaning (+ Easy Recipes!) (10)
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Using Baby Food While Baby Led Weaning (+ Easy Recipes!) (12)
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Using Baby Food While Baby Led Weaning (+ Easy Recipes!) (20)

Have you used pureed baby food to make other food for your family? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! If not, tell me what your experience introducing solids was like with your kids!

Using Baby Food While Baby Led Weaning (+ Easy Recipes!) (2024)

FAQs

What foods should babies avoid during led weaning? ›

Foods to avoid
  • popcorn.
  • jelly cubes.
  • marshmallows.
  • boiled sweets (or any hard, gooey or sticky sweets, including cough sweets)
  • peanut butter by itself.
  • chewing gum.
  • ice cubes.

What do pediatricians say about baby-led weaning? ›

Pediatric experts now recommend starting solid foods at 6 months. Most 6-month-old infants can grasp food, bring it to their mouth, chew and swallow. These skills mean babies can more independently feed themselves while weaning from human milk or formula nutrition.

How many meals should a baby eat during led weaning? ›

To start BLW, ensure readiness and begin with one solid meal a day during family mealtime. Use a highchair in a safe setting, allow exploration and play with food, offer age-appropriate soft foods in manageable sized pieces, and let the baby lead the feeding process.

Are eggs safe for BLW? ›

Serving eggs for baby-led weaning

As your baby's feeding skills improve and their pincer grasp develops, typically around 9 - 12 months, you can progress to smaller, diced pieces. This could look like scrambled eggs, bite-sized pieces of omelet, hard-boiled eggs, egg muffins, or banana-egg pancakes.

Is cheese OK for baby-led weaning? ›

Cheese can form part of a healthy, balanced diet for babies and young children, and provides calcium, protein and vitamins. Babies can eat pasteurised full-fat cheese from 6 months old. This includes hard cheeses, such as mild cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and cream cheese.

Is bread safe for BLW? ›

If you're trying baby-led weaning (an approach that introduces solids in the form of soft, gummable finger foods instead of spoon-feeding your baby purées), your mini muncher can take her first bite of bread early on after starting solids, usually around 6 months.

What is bliss feeding? ›

An alternative, baby-led approach bypasses purees and introduces whole foods right from the start of complementary feeding, which the baby feeds themselves.

Can you mix purees and baby-led weaning? ›

A combined approach that includes both finger foods for self-feeding and the spoon-feeding of purees is fine when babies are fed responsively, and there is no evidence that a combined approach is detrimental. A misconception about BLW is that purees should be avoided.

What is the difference between BLW and TW? ›

There are different ways of doing it – whether pureeing everything for traditional weaning (TW) or letting a baby learn to bite and chew from the get-go through baby led weaning (BLW). You might have heard of doing both at the same time, but in fact, that confuses your baby at the initial stage and is not recommended.

What is 100 foods before 1? ›

If the idea of feeding your baby 100 foods before one sounds overwhelming…it doesn't have to be. This approach simply involves introducing 1 new food per day, 5 days per week. That's 20 foods per month and in just about 5 months your baby will have tried 100 new foods before turning one.

What can I feed my 6 month old BLW for breakfast? ›

Breakfast ideas from 6 months
  • Banana.
  • Buttered wholemeal toast.
  • Eggs – any which way – try hard boiled, scrambled or omelette cut into strips.
  • Almond butter thinned with a little of your baby's usual milk and spread on rice cakes.
  • Wholemeal English muffin spread with a soft cheese like Philadelphia and cut in half.
Aug 1, 2022

What are the best soft foods for baby-led weaning? ›

The best foods for baby-led weaning are large pieces of soft foods that are easy to grab and chew, such as banana spears, thin slices of toast, and soft-cooked meat. Here are other foods that are good to use with BLW: Well-cooked vegetable sticks, including steamed carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and beets.

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