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Infant solid starts, Insights on Traditional vs BLW approaches and Best BLW Finger Foods

Baby led weaning: A Self-Eater in the Making

6 minute read, Written By: Momly

6 months – Opening the portal of Solids

Once your baby is over 6 months old, they have a natural instinct to support and digest solid and semi-solid foods. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, breastmilk is extremely important in keeping babies strong and healthy, and mothers should continue breastfeeding rather than discontinue it. Remember that weaning foods are supplements to breastmilk or formula milk, and parents should consider a slow transition to weaning foods, whether semi or heavy solids. Babies have their own way of indicating when they need more solids and can reduce their milk feedings on their own.

6 months is an ideal period to start off with weaning approaches.

While starting with solids for babies, so many questions pop up. The best approach of weaning, how to understand their cues, the best first foods that one should give to the babies, the foods to keep colic and spit-ups away and so on. Let us tell you that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to babies’ milestone and growth. Baby led weaning works for some, it doesn’t work for some. Similarly, traditional weaning has its own pros and cons. So, in this confusing world of infant solids, here we break down some facts that will put a rhythm to the disarray.


Traditional weaning vs Baby led weaning – Whats the difference?

Traditional weaning is a solid-starts approach where babies are fed mashed purees by spoons. Once they latch on to purees, they are graduated to more lumpier forms or textures of foods. Traditional weaning can be started right from 4 months and in some cases, 6 months.

Baby led weaning approach differs from traditional approach since it encourages whole, finger foods right from the start and introduced when babies are able to sit with their back straight and grasp/hold the foods. Here babies are led to Baby led weaning when they are over 6 months and their back have grown sturdy enough to sit on a highchair.

BLW: Promoting Self-feeding and Family pot meals early on

Baby Led Weaning or BLW highly encourages infant self-feeding by either giving whole foods or finger foods or offering foods from the family pot. This approach goes in coherence with babies’ ability to sit and grasp food from the family table and have a keen tongue to explore variety of textures in foods that other members of the family eat.

Strong points of BLW

  • Less pressure on babies – Babies can enjoy the foods and can even explore different foods without any parental pressure. Gives babies a chance to skip purees and move on to solids straightaway.

  • Reduced pressure on parents – As BLW reduces stress on babies and gives them a chance to respond to the food-induced stimuli on their own accord, it poses less pressure on parents in terms of prepping for baby foods, packing mashed purees on travels and can operate on meal times with less fuss.

Everything becomes tricky when baby gets picky – How to deal with the BLW challenges?

While you are treading on the path of BLW, it is crucial to remember that initial days with baby led weaning approach would be hands-down messy. You can certainly not escape the mess. Babies are exploring foods and in the process of exploration, they will indulge in playing with food, throwing and dislodging it away from the plates, and sometimes, putting it all over their faces. Also there will be a hue and cry over the foods like they might dislike certain family foods, not find them to their liking and may react unfavourably to some. It is best to offer foods in consistency for few weeks before changing their diet to a new food. Offering them foods that are easy to grab, bite-sized pieces and does not pose the risk of choking is very important in BLW. Additionally, make sure that you are regulating their diet with all the food groupsand ensuring a balanced plus diverse diet.

BLW First Foods –


Soft foods –

  • Thin slices of Avocado

  • Banana halved

  • Steamed sweet potatoes

  • Steamed carrots/carrot sticks or

  • Steamed broccoli florets

  • Sliced fruits like apples or pears

  • Cheese cubes or grated cheese

Cooked foods –

  • Cooked pasta in different pasta shapes

  • Cooked veggies but cut into easy to grasp pieces

  • Soft cooked beans

Do’s and Don’ts of BLW

  • Check for readiness cues in your baby like if your baby is able to sit up straight without assistance. Also, if they are showing eagerness in grasping the food your are eating.

  • Offer soft finger foods and cut into pieces to prevent choking hazards

  • Keep on monitoring your baby for any reactions and allergies post introducing any new foods

  • Always feed the foods under your supervision. Ensure the process is safe and help your baby self-feed in the initial period

  • Introduce variety of foods. Let it be a plate of diversity and wholesome nutrition.

  • Be patient in the process. Your baby has just started self-feeding so go slow and allow your baby to play around the foods.

  • Have a positive environment. Speak out positive affirmations in the meal times so that they feel happy and motivated in the process.

What are your thoughts on BLW? Let us know some of your baby's best finger foods.

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