What’s better for my baby—pureed baby food or baby-led weaning? Like with almost every parenting style, the answer may be different for each baby. Both have their own advantages and you can also combine both techniques, if you can’t decide between the two. Pureed baby food can be homemade or store-bought and is typically fed by parents with a spoon and accompanying choo-choo train sounds. Baby-led weaning is when parents prepare soft foods babies can easily grip and allow them to feed themselves until full. If your baby was not born prematurely or showing signs of oral motor delays, you can try out baby-led weaning at around 6 months old. Every baby’s experience will be different, so stay flexible and follow what your intuition says about what works for you and your baby. Are you ready to start on the solid food journey with your little one? Check out these six simple recipes you can cook up in the kitchen, no matter the culinary experience!
When talking about baby-led weaning first foods, soft fruit and steamed vegetables are usually top of mind. While it’s important to start slow, you can also get a little creative with the food as long as you’re mindful of its size and texture. First food should be sizable enough for babies to pick up with their baby grip strength and soft enough to mash between fingers for less of a choking hazard.
This is probably the most basic French toast receipt you’ve ever seen, which is why it’s the perfect introduction to the world of solid foods for your baby. You may also opt to serve the French toast sticks with a few slices of fresh fruit. The texture of the bread ends up very soft and its stick shape makes it even easier for your baby to manage.
Instructions: Slice the bread into stick shapes and then whisk the egg and milk together. Dip the bread sticks in the mixture and cook on a pan greased with butter or oil. Make sure to both sides until brown.
Basic scrambled eggs are always a good idea, but these omelette fingers are little more fun and a lot more colorful. Change up your staple eggs recipe to one the whole family can enjoy. Just make sure to save the seasoning for after you’ve set aside the little one’s share.
Instructions: Crack the egg into a bowl and beat. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the onions and peppers until soft. Pour the egg into the pan and cook until the egg is set and golden. Allow the eggs to cool before slicing into finger slices and serving.
The goal of baby-led weaning recipes is for your baby to explore different textures and flavors, as well as enjoy the food the family is eating at the same time. Now that your baby started to develop his or her own unique palette, it’s time to introduce more complex flavors.
Pancakes are a great way to start the day! A stack of these will sure get your little one excited before even having a taste. Unlike most pancake mixes in the market, this easy recipe has no added sugar or flour. You can serve them plain or spread a layer of nut butter of your choice. Do be careful and watch out for possible allergens!
Instructions: Crack the egg into a bowl and beat. Add the banana and cinnamon and mix well. Melt butter on a non-stick skillet and scoop batter by the tablespoonful onto the pan. Cook pancakes until golden brown and cool before you serve.
Your baby will definitely have his or her fair share of fast food and french fries in the future, so let’s stick to a healthier alternative while we can. These sweet potato wedges are baked, not fried, to intensify their natural sweetness. If you’re also baking a batch older kids and adults, try and sprinkle a little salt and pepper at the end.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the sweet potato wedges on a baking tray and toss in oil and cornflour. Roast the wedges for 20 minutes, and make sure to turn them over after 15 minutes. Add the parmesan and sage and put back into the over for another 3 minutes or until the cheese has just melted.
Now that your little one knows how to self-feed, he or she may already be starting to reap the benefits, including greater hand-eye coordination and healthy eating habits. Continue to support their journey and discover even more things you both enjoy.
Baby bolognese is much like the traditional version, minus the alcohol and packed with added vegetables. It’s a great source of iron for babies as well as toddlers too! Serve it with rigatoni pasta to make it easier for the little ones to pick up and enjoy the different flavors and textures. Also, this recipe makes a big batch of bolognese, so you can easily store and serve it up again the next day.
Instructions: Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for about 10 minutes. Increase the heat and add in the ground beef, continuously stirring until meat is brown and broken down into small pieces. Add the oregano and tomato paste and mix in well. Add the canned tomatoes, eggplant, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and then cook for 1 to 2.5 hours.
These simple, savory muffins are sure to please your baby’s taste buds. They’re a great option for lunch or snack time and are ready to serve in under 30 minutes!
Instructions: Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine the corn, cheese, carrots, oil, eggs, and milk in a large bowl. Add the sifted flour and baking powder, and fold in gently until combined. Divide the mixture into a lightly-greased 12-mini muffin pan. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- My Kids Lick the Bowl, Eggy Bread, April 2020.
- Start4Life, Omelette Fingers.
- Jenna Helwig, 3 Baby-led Weaning Recipes for Finger Food, March 2020.
- Annabel Karmel, Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges.
- Healthy Little Foodies, Baby Bolognese, March 2021.
- One Handed Cooks, Cheesy Corn and Carrot Muffins.