Everything you need to get started with cutting foods in a safe manner for your baby
When starting to feed your baby solids, it can be daunting to figure out the right way of cutting food for baby led weaning, so that it’s safe for your little one.
You may wonder what fruits and vegetables are appropriate for your baby at each stage, and how to cut them into small pieces safely.
No need to worry – this post has you covered!
In this guide, you’ll learn the different developmental milestones for babies and which types of foods are appropriate for each age group.
Most importantly, you’ll get the necessary tips for cutting food into safe pieces for baby led weaning.
Eating milestones for babies
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According to Alisha Grogan, a pediatric occupational therapist, there are several key milestones that babies go through from 6-12 months.
From 6-8 months, babies learn to drink from a sippy cup. There are lots of different kinds on the market, but from my experience, the Munchkin 360 sippy cup worked best.
Read about some more recommended sippy cups here.
From 7-9 months, babies should be able to munch on finger food, not just purees. Finger foods include soft peaches, steamed broccoli, and avocado slices. You can find more baby led weaning starter foods here.
It’s important to mention that gagging is completely normal at this age. It’s your baby’s way of moving food around in her mouth to help with swallowing.
However, if your little one is gagging a lot of the time, it’s best to speak with your pediatrician to see if baby led weaning is best at this point.
Most babies develop the pincer grasp, the ability to pick up objects with the thumb and index finger, between 6-10 months old. This milestone is important for baby led weaning, as it’s around this time that babies are able to pick up food and feed themselves.
Types of food to serve
When it comes to baby led weaning, you can give your little one pretty much anything that you’re eating. In the next section, I’ll discuss cutting food for baby led weaning, which is key to any food you serve.
You can start with soft fruits and veggies, pasta, and tofu.
As your baby gets older, be sure to introduce a variety of textures so he can explore food in different ways, such as toast and other crunchy foods.
You can find lots of vegan breakfast ideas for babies here. This will help when you’re running low on ideas.
Now that we’ve discussed baby milestones regarding eating, as well as the kinds of food they can eat, let’s explore ways of cutting food for baby led weaning.
Cutting food for baby led weaning
The first thing to keep in mind when cutting food for your little one is making sure she can hold it.
If she hasn’t developed the pincer grasp yet, she will need the food to be larger.
The safest way to cut food for 6-8 months is in long, thin strips, about the size of your pinky. Not only is the size important, but the texture is also critical.
It needs to be soft enough that you can easily smush it between your thumb and index finger. If it’s difficult to squeeze it, then it’ll be too hard for your baby to gum on it.
Remember, at this age, most babies have 1 or 2 teeth. That’s not enough for chewing. They’re using their gums to eat, so it needs to be soft for those gums.
Once your little one develops the pincer grasp and she can pick food up with her thumb and index finger, you no longer need to cut the food into strips.
Instead, you can start cutting it into smaller pieces to help them practice picking up different size items.
Harder foods such as raw carrots and apples should still be avoided, even if they’re cut into long, thin strips. Under 1, these foods pose a choking hazard.
The best way to serve them is by grating or shredding them. My daughter, Haylee loved when I would grate an apple for her and mix it with almond butter and chia or flax seeds.
Remember, round foods such as bananas and cucumbers should always be cut lengthwise. Never cut them across, forming small disk shapes, since this is a choking hazard.
For foods that have a peel or skin, such as peaches and tomatoes, it can be helpful to remove the layer so it’s easier for your baby to eat.
The same applies to oranges. Besides removing the peel, it’s also a good idea to remove the thin skin around each slice since your little one can’t digest it properly.
It’s important to mention that mealtime is not just a time for your little one to gain calories and nutrients. It’s also a vital time for learning and developing in different areas.
When Haylee started with baby led weaning, she would play with the food, smush it, spread it around her highchair tray, and just have fun with it. It’s great to let them since they’re experiencing play in a different setting and with new textures and smells.
Easy recipes to get started with
If you’re new to baby led weaning, like I was with Haylee, it can be really helpful to have a bunch of easy, go-to recipes to cycle through.
I love the Whisk app and every time I found a baby-friendly recipe that I liked, I would add it to my Whisk list and that’s where I turned to when I ran out of ideas.
Some of my favorites include:
- Soft Beet and Carrot Cookies for Babies
- 5-Minute Healthy Baby Oatmeal Cookies
- Perfect Vegan Meatballs for the Whole Family
- Vegan Oatmeal Muffins That Are Perfect for Breakfast (replace the sugar with a banana)
I know meal planning can be tough, especially when you have lots of other things to do. That’s why I highly recommend this 7 day baby meal plan. It includes baby-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Find lots more vegan baby led weaning recipes here.
To wrap up
Baby led weaning is a great way to introduce your baby to solid foods, and it can be a lot of fun for both of you.
By following these guidelines on cutting food for baby led weaning, you can ensure that your little one gets the most out of this experience, in a safe manner.
Do you have more questions or concerns regarding baby led weaning? Comment below and I’ll be happy to help!