Are you interested in trying baby led weaning with your baby?
Have you been trying it already but find yourself running out of recipe ideas?
Are you just looking to increase your recipe repertoire so you can start cooking for your baby at home instead of relying on packaged foods?
If any of these are true, you’ve come to the right place! This article is here to help you get started with plenty of meal ideas for baby led weaning no matter what age your baby might be. You’ll find a little something for everyone within these 21 simple recipes, so whether you want to spend 10 minutes in the kitchen or devote a couple hours a day to cooking for your baby, you’ll be able to find the perfect recipe to suit your needs.
In the first part of this article, you’ll learn about what makes baby led weaning such a good idea in the first place. You’ll find out about the nutritional needs your baby will face, and you’ll see the benefits and challenges that might come along with this process.
The bulk of the article is devoted to baby led weaning meal ideas to help you get started or give you more ideas for your weaning baby. For each age from 6 months to 1 year, you’ll find a breakfast, lunch or dinner, and snack recipe to help jumpstart your cooking experience.
Get ready to learn a lot about baby led weaning and cooking for your little ones!
As babies grow, they need more and different types of nutrition in order to continue thriving. For the first six months of life, babies can get everything they need out of breast milk. Baby formulas have been designed to contain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins they need as well, so even babies that aren’t raised on breast milk get what they need from their bottles. However, as you begin to wean your baby, you’ll need to be concerned with a few types of nutritional needs.
When you prepare your baby’s food at home, you’re getting a lot of benefits out of this practice. While buying prepackaged and premade baby food may seem like a time saver, there are a lot of great reasons to make the switch to prepping everything your baby eats at home on your own. Check out this list of just some of the benefits you can enjoy from home baby food prep.
There are a few challenges you might come across when you and your child participate in baby led weaning. However, when you prepare your food at home, you’ll be able to get around these challenges easily.
When it comes to baby led weaning recipes 6 months is a great time to get started. This is when many people first start working with their children on baby led weaning, but remember that if your baby doesn’t seem interested in the process at this time, that’s okay. You can usually wait a month or two without any trouble, and you’ll just want to start your baby at this stage no matter what age he or she reaches before being ready to begin weaning.
Stick to: pureed veggies, pureed meat, pureed fruit, partially liquid cereal
When it comes to baby led weaning food ideas 6 months is an easy age to feed. You can’t go wrong with a little puree here and there. While some parents choose to skip purees altogether, this can be a great way to introduce the idea of solid foods without suddenly startling your baby completely with a handheld meal that doesn’t make sense. Best of all, this recipe only has two ingredients!
1. Prepare your avocado and take care to remove the whole pit, stem, and peel.
2. Add avocado flesh to a small bowl along with mint leaves.
3. Mash together with a fork.
4. Add to a food processor or blender and pulse until pureed smoothly.
These are nice and soft meatball-style bites that are sure to be baby led weaning foods 6 month old children will love. If your baby isn’t quite ready for the full experience of solid foods, don’t be afraid to let him or her mash this and chew on a few little pieces here and there to experience the texture difference between these bites and pureed foods.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, garlic, and mushrooms to a large blender or food processor.
3. Pulse on high until chopped and almost pureed, but not quite.
4. Heat oil over medium in a large skillet.
5. Cook vegetable mash in skillet for about 5 minutes to crisp but not burn.
6. Add chickpeas to the food processor along with oats, mayonnaise, orange juice, and flour.
7. Pulse on high until chickpeas are diced into very small pieces.
8. Add parsley and pulse a couple more times.
9. Combine chickpea mix with the vegetable mix until thoroughly blended.
10. Roll into balls by hand and place on a lined baking sheet.
11. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
12. Let cool before serving to your baby.
Get your baby started on solids with this easy to make homemade rice cereal recipe. With only two ingredients, you can be sure this is a healthy and simple treat for your little one that won’t upset a sensitive and growing tummy. If you like you can add some breast milk or formula to the cereal to make a variety of baby led weaning foods for 6 month old infant tastes.
1. If you don’t have rice powder on hand, cook about a cup of brown rice as normal and let it cool. Add it to your blender or food processor and pulse until a fine powder has formed.
2. Boil your water in a small saucepan.
3. Stir in rice powder, and continue stirring constantly.
4. Cook for 10 minutes while stirring.
5. Whisk in breast milk or formula if desired.
6.Let cool until slightly still warm, then serve.
When choosing baby led weaning recipes 7 months is an important milestone to keep in mind. While 6 months might be a little early for some babies, most are ready to get started by 7 months, so you might consider this more like a “true” age for the first steps of baby led weaning. Whether your baby is well on his or her way to eating solid foods or he or she has just gotten started, these recipes will help you transition your baby to the next step of this process.
Stick to: strained fruit, strained vegetables, pureed tofu
This is a good soft recipe that’s great if your baby hasn’t gotten many teeth in yet at this point. With only a handful of ingredients, this one should be very easy for your child to digest. In fact, it’s made up of easy to digest foods that are great for your baby when he or she has a tummy ache throughout most stages of childhood. When you need baby led weaning food ideas 7 months can be a good chance to offer some in-between meals like this one.
1. Cut whole wheat bread into squares. Remove crust if desired.
2. Place banana in a food processor with milk and cinnamon. Blend on high until smooth.
3. Dip bread into banana mixture to coat well on both sides.
4. Crisp in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides. Optionally, you can fry them in a very small amount of butter—just enough to coat the bread.
5. Let cool, then serve.
If you want to introduce tofu to your baby, give this easy recipe a try. Be sure to use the softest type of tofu you can find so you don’t have to worry too much about pureeing it until it’s soft. You can mix and match ingredients in this recipe to suit your baby’s specific needs or preferences, but this is a great place to get started with baby led weaning foods 7 months and up can enjoy!
1. If your rotini is not already cooked, prepare according to packaging directions. Overcook by a couple of minutes so it’s very soft for your baby.
2. Add the cubed tofu and optional garlic to a skillet with olive oil and cook over medium-low heat until slightly golden.
3. Add spinach and cover with a lid. Remove from heat and let stand 3-5 minutes to wilt the spinach.
4. Stir together with rotini.
5. Let cool to room temperature and serve.
You can serve these baby led weaning ideas for 7 month old infants with applesauce if you want your little one to try dipping, but they taste amazing on their own as well. Don’t be put off by the word “fries”—you won’t use anything unhealthy in the preparation of this simple snack! Make plenty of extras for the whole family to enjoy along with your baby.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Scrub and clean sweet potatoes, then peel and cut into thin strips.
3. Place olive oil in a large bowl.
4. If desired, you can season this with cinnamon, ginger, or brown sugar. For a 7-month-old baby, however, it might be best to leave this unseasoned.
5. Toss sweet potato slices with olive oil until coated well.
6. Pour sweet potatoes onto a lined baking sheet. Stir to be sure they’re well-coated in oil.
7. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until tender.
8. Let cool completely before serving to your baby.
When you’re trying to choose the right baby led weaning foods 8 months can be an important step in your baby’s life, too. 8 months is a great age to start progressing your baby to the next step of solid food. Your baby needs some different nutrients than he or she did in the first couple of months, and you might notice your child’s own personal tastes starting to shine through at this point as well. Remember, though, that babies at this age are still young and need to be given the right kind of food for their needs.
Stick to: strained fruit, strained veggies, pureed legumes, unsweetened yogurt, cereal
This is a very customizable recipe that’s sure to please your baby—and maybe your whole family, too! Adults will enjoy this with a poached or over-easy egg on top, but leave the egg off for the little ones. This is a great way to give your baby a lot of vitamin C, vitamin K, and tons of nutrients. Best of all, if you haven’t introduced any of the ingredients yet, you can get a head start on that with this recipe!
1. Heat the oil over low heat in a large skillet.
2. Add carrots and sweet potatoes first, then season with salt and cinnamon.
3. Stir, then cover and cook over medium-low for 5 minutes.
4. Stir again, then cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Repeat this process one more time for a total of 15 minutes of cook time with three stirs in between.
5. Add apple, stir, and cover. Cook for 10 minutes more.
6. Stir again and check softness. If you feel like it isn’t soft enough, keep cooking in 5-minute intervals until it is.
7. Let cool to room temperature and serve.
If you’re looking for a very healthy recipe to start introducing legumes to your baby, try this simple quinoa patty for a tasty treat that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. If you want to, you can leave out some of the herbs, but this is a great way to start your baby on more flavorful food as well. If you’re looking for baby led weaning finger foods 6 months is a good time to start, but 8 months can be the best time to start working with more flavors.
1. Add bread slices to a food processor and pulse to make breadcrumbs.
2. Add zucchini, beans, and optional ingredients if using.
3. Pulse on high until mixture is chopped finely and thoroughly mixed.
4. Add quinoa and stir to combine well.
5. Shape into patties by hand.
6. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
7. Add 1 tbsp oil to a skillet over medium-high heat and cook patties one side at a time for 2 minutes per side.
8. Flip and finish cooking.
9. Let cool before serving.
If your baby has a little bit of a sweet tooth already, you might want to treat him or her to baby led weaning snack ideas like this one. These snacks are great for making ahead of time, and they’re packed with plenty of healthy vitamins and nutrients your baby needs to grow well. Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice to give your baby all that good vitamin C!
1. Prepare a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, yogurt, and vanilla and stir until smooth and well combined.
3. Pour mixture into a Ziploc bag and close it.
4. Cut a hole in the corner and squeeze drops of yogurt mixture evenly spaced onto the parchment paper.
5. Freeze for 2 hours.
6. Store in the freezer in a freezer bag until needed.
7. Serve slightly thawed.
By 9 months, you’re probably noticing your child starting to explore a lot more in terms of flavors, textures, and personal preferences. Things that he or she ate happily as a younger baby might suddenly not appeal to your child’s changing tastes, and for the most part, that’s okay. As long as your baby is still getting everything necessary for healthy growth, it’s okay to allow a little more freedom in terms of flavor at this age.
Stick to: mashed vegetables, mashed fruit, very small pieces of meat, cereal
If you’re concerned about your 9-month-old with some of these ingredients, you can use egg substitute in place of eggs, olive oil in place of butter, and formula, soy milk, or even breast milk in place of cow’s milk in baby led weaning breakfast foods like this recipe. However, most 9-month-old babies will be able to handle these ingredients in pancake form well, so don’t be afraid to give it a try!
1. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and milk.
2. In a separate bowl, sift flour together with baking soda.
3. In a third bowl, whisk together butter or oil, egg yolk, and honey if using until smooth.
4. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the milk and lemon until smooth.
5. Whisk egg white until soft peaks form.
6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ones slowly and mix until just combined.
7. Fold in egg whites gently with a rubber spatula.
8. Put a small amount of oil or butter in a skillet and heat to medium.
9. Add spoonfuls of mixture and fry pancakes. Flip and fry on the opposite side until golden.
10. Serve on their own or with fresh fruit or applesauce.
Meatballs are a great way to get your little one introduced to meat ingredients as well as combination foods in baby led weaning lunch ideas like this recipe. Once you’re sure your baby can handle the individual ingredients included in this recipe, go ahead and give it a try! You’re sure to find out soon enough that your little one is a big fan of meatballs in all shapes and sizes.
1. Cook chicken breast until soft but cooked through. The best way to do this is to skillet cook or boil the chicken in a small amount of water, but you can also use a small amount of olive oil.
2. Add butter to a small skillet and cook finely chopped leeks for a few minutes until softened. Remove from heat.
3. Add fully cooked and cooled chicken to a food processor along with Dijon and parsley.
4. Process on high until diced well.
5. Combine chicken mixture with leek and quinoa in the blender and pulse a couple more times to mix well.
6. Roll mixture by hand into small balls.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place meatballs on a lined baking sheet.
8. Bake for 30 minutes.
9. Let cool, then serve.
You can’t go wrong with a tasty combination of carrot and simple spices for your baby led weaning snacks! These cookies are easy on your little one’s stomach and easy to bite and much on, too. You can always leave out some of the ingredients if you feel like your baby hasn’t gotten to the point of eating all of them just yet. This recipe is a winner from 9 months and on!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Sift both flours together in a small bowl with spices and baking powder.
3. Add carrots, oats, apricots, raisins, applesauce, and coconut.
4. Stir in oil until just combined. Don’t overmix once the oil has been added.
5. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on a baking sheet.
6. Flatten each ball gently with your fingers.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just golden.
8. Let cool before serving.
By this point, your baby should be very well settled into the baby led weaning process. You should notice your baby growing a lot at this point, and many changes will be taking place. This is a very exciting time in the life of your child! Along with all these physical changes, your baby will need more nutrients for healthy and proper growth, and it’s up to you to be sure you’re providing these through the foods you prepare at home.
Stick to: mashed vegetables, mashed fruit, very small pieces of meat, beans as finger food, small amounts of cottage cheese
Start your little one’s day off right with this sweet and delicious treat that’s sure to put a smile on the face of any baby! This is a tasty little recipe that you might catch yourself wanting to indulge a little in, too. Lots of adults are fond enough of this recipe to join in, and your baby will like knowing he or she is eating the same thing you are when you try breakfast ideas for baby led weaning like this one!
1. Peel and cook your sweet potato ahead of time. Let it cool before you start this recipe.
2. Mash the sweet potato in a small bowl.
3. Place the butter in a small microwave-safe container and melt in the microwave in 10-second intervals until completely liquid.
4. Remove the apple core and any seeds. Scoop out some of the apple flesh to make a hollow space.
5. Chop the scooped flesh and mash it in a bowl with your cooked sweet potato.
6. Add butter and cinnamon and mash to combine well.
7. Spoon mashed mixture back into hollowed apples.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place apples in a small baking dish.
9. Bake for 30 minutes.
10. Let cool to room temperature. Serve, or cut into bite-size pieces first and then serve.
If your little one loves the taste of sweet potato, you can’t go wrong with this simple but incredibly tasty treat for a midday meal or even for dinner! This recipe takes about an hour to complete, but when it’s done your baby is sure to be excited by the yummy smells and excellent textures in every bite. Lunch ideas for baby led weaning often include sweet potato, and this one is a great option.
1. Peel the sweet potato. Wrap it in tin foil and bake it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven for 1 hour or until fork tender.
2. Let the sweet potato cool completely before you continue the recipe.
3. Cut the sweet potato into 1-1/2 inch wedges and lie flat on a plate.
4. Scoop a small hollow into each piece of sweet potato.
5. Combine the cottage cheese with the pineapple and stir.
6. Fill each piece of sweet potato with a scoop of cottage cheese mixture.
7. Top with cinnamon and serve. You might need to cut the pieces into smaller bites first.
Give your little one a flavor sensation that can’t be beaten with this easy recipe for peanut butter balls. These little bite-sized treats can be made in sizes small or large enough for your baby’s individual needs, and they’re sure to put a smile on his or her face every time!
1. Add dates and coconut to a food processor or high-speed blender.
2. Pulse on high until well chopped.
3. Add chia seeds, peanut butter, and rice puffs.
4. Pulse on high until a crumb like texture has formed.
5. Roll individual balls from the mixture by hand into the desired size.
6. Place in an airtight container and chill for about an hour to set.
7. Store in the refrigerator for 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
8. Serve at room temperature.
Babies at 11 months are usually doing very well on baby led weaning. If you’ve noticed a lot of problems leading up to this point, you might be a little concerned, but most of these should be evening out by this point. Your baby will be able to eat much more solid food at this point, and you might even notice your child wanting to mimic you and other adults in the way you eat with utensils. This is a good time to start introducing the idea of self-feeding with safe plastic baby utensils, but always monitor your child with these items.
Stick to: small pieces of fruit, mashed vegetables, cottage cheese, small bites of meat, cereal, eggs
These muffins contain a few ingredients more than younger babies would be able to digest well, but they’re perfect for 11 months and up. You might be able to make a variation on them for younger members of the family by leaving out the sugar and butter, but with the recipe below, you’ll have the perfect breakfast to help your older baby start the day off on the right foot.
1. Add milk, butter, and eggs to a blender or food processor and pulse on high until combined.
2. Add flour, baking powder, oats, and sugar, and pulse again until well combined.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Pour mixture evenly into greased muffin tins.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until springy and cooked through.
6. Let cool before you serve.
7. You can freeze these muffins for up to a month if desired.
This easy recipe is filled with incredible smart foods to help your baby’s brain develop properly and encourage good memory skills well into the future. With only four ingredients, you can put this recipe together quickly even in the middle of a busy day, or get it ready ahead of time and serve your baby this tasty meal no matter what’s going on. Baby led weaning dinner ideas like this recipe are great for busy families!
1. Remove avocado from skin and throw away pit.
2. Place avocado in a small bowl with tuna or salmon.
3. Add egg yolk and mash everything together until it’s smooth.
4. Spread onto half of the bread and fold it over.
5. Cut the bread into small bite-sized pieces.
If you’re looking for something sweet and delicious to give to your little one, why not make a batch of banana cake the whole family can enjoy? Be aware that this is not a very sweet banana cake recipe, but it is packed with nutrients and vitamins that will help all the younger members of your family grow up big and strong.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour with allspice if using.
3. Work butter in with your fingers, then stir in raisins.
4. In a separate bowl, beat banana together with egg until mashed.
5. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture.
6. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
7. Turn oven down to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Bake for 1 hour in the middle of the oven.
9. If desired, you can top with a combination of cream cheese and jelly. However, this is better for slightly older babies.
10. Let cool and serve.
You’ve finally reached it—a year old! Congratulations! Your baby is growing up fast, and you’re still tasked with making sure he or she gets all the right nutrients to stay healthy and grow up strong. Now that your child is a year old, you’ll be able to get a lot more feedback about preferred foods directly from your baby. Just remember that you still need to offer a balanced, healthy diet, and keep in mind that the baby led weaning process often continues well into the second year of your baby’s life, too.
Stick to: soft cooked bite-sized vegetables, small pieces of fruit, small pieces of meat, eggs, small amounts of cow’s milk, macaroni and cheese
This is a very easy to make recipe that’s sure to satisfy the morning cravings of any little ones who have a few extra teeth to chew it with! These bars do come out a little bit gooey and chewy, so don’t give them to babies under 12 months of age. They make great treats for older kids in the family, too, and even the adults might want to grab one or two on the way to work sometimes!
1. In a small bowl, combine oats with brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, raisins, and cinnamon.
2. In a separate small bowl, beat banana together with egg white, skim milk, and vanilla extract.
3. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix to combine thoroughly.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Pour mixture into a lined baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Let cool, then cut into bars.
7. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or serve right away.
This is a tasty little combination meal that will give your 12-month-old a lot of flavor in a small, bite-sized, baby-friendly package! Your child will feel like he or she is getting a real meal with the whole family when you serve up this batch of easy to make ravioli packed with vitamins and nutrients.
1. Prepare your sweet potato ahead of time and let it cool before you’re ready to cook.
2. Combine both flours in a small bowl.
3. Slowly add the water and oil while mixing well. You can do this with an electric hand mixer or, to make cleanup even easier, do it in the food processor or in a high-speed blender.
4. If you don’t see a ball of dough starting to form, add a little more warm water until this happens. Don’t add too much, or the dough will get runny.
5. Knead the dough and divide it into two pieces.
6. Roll out each piece of dough thinly.
7. Mash cooked and cooled sweet potato together with a small amount of ginger.
8. Place teaspoons of sweet potato an inch or two apart on your first sheet of pasta.
9. Cover it with the other sheet and press down to make mounds filled with each teaspoon of sweet potato.
10. Cut around each mound with a sharp knife. If you want, you can press the edges with a fork to crimp.
11. Drop the ravioli into a pot of boiling water. When they float to the top, remove and drain.
12. Let cool and serve. They go great with applesauce!
Mix up a batch of these yummy muffins and your baby will always have a healthy snack at the ready no matter how busy your day might get. These are a great make-ahead recipe, and you can even freeze them for up to a month if you’re looking for something you can simply reheat at a moment’s notice. Older kids often like these muffins, too, so make extras for the whole family to enjoy!
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a small bowl, combine yogurt with egg and oil until smooth.
3. Chop broccoli into pieces and add to mixture.
4. Crumble in cheddar cheese and add everything to the food processor.
5. Pulse on high until broccoli is cut into small pieces.
6. Combine flour and salt with a fork in a large bowl.
8. Do not over-fold. Stop as soon as the mixture has combined.
9. Spoon out mixture into muffin tins.
10. Bake for 15 minutes.
11. Let cool, then serve or freeze.
Have you found enough baby led weaning food ideas to help you get started? There are a lot of options out there, and depending on the individual needs of your baby, you might want to choose some of these recipes over others. Bear in mind that each baby works through this process at different speeds, so if you have an 8-month-old who has just started to show interested in weaning, that’s okay. Simply start with the 6-month-old recipes and work your way up from there. Your baby will catch up in no time!
Remember that some of the best food ideas for baby led weaning can be easily adaptable to serve the older kids and even the adults in your family, too. Many of these recipes will taste great to adults if you just add a few more spices or ingredients like butter to the mixture. Give them a try and have fun experimenting. You and your baby are sure to have a great time when you’re both eating more or less the same thing for the meals you share together!
Baby led weaning isn’t for everyone, but if it works for you and your baby, you have tons of excellent recipes to try out. There are plenty more where that came from, too, so don’t be afraid to dig even deeper.