Your baby is 6 months old and ready to start eating solids. What an exciting milestone for mom and baby!
You may have heard about the concept of baby led weaning.
If you’re not familiar with this, be sure to read on, where I will explain the general idea, some tips I found useful, and 8 vegan food ideas.
Baby led weaning is a method of feeding solids to your baby.
Instead of pureeing fruits and vegetables and spoon-feeding them to your baby, you can serve them soft, finger size foods that they can eat on their own.
This is the basic definition of baby led weaning.
However, some people actually serve their baby whatever foods they eat, just without sugar and salt. This makes it easier for cooking for baby since you cook for the family instead and portion off a small amount before adding sugar or salt.
How do I begin?
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A simple example is to take a carrot and peel and slice it into strips the size of your pinky.
Steam it using a steam basket until it’s soft. The best option is to put the steam basket straight in a pressure cooker and then you don’t need to keep monitoring the food so it won’t burn. That was my mistake the first time I tried steaming foods.
Wait for the carrots to cool down completely before serving them to your baby.
You can offer the carrot slices to your baby one by one, or place several slices on your baby’s highchair tray and let them explore. Read more about how to safely cut foods for baby led weaning here.
At first, it’s going to be a mess.
Your baby will likely smash the food, throw it on the floor, offer some to your pet, and rub it all over their face. Let them enjoy the process.
When babies begin solids at 6 months old, it’s not only about the nutrients they consume. A large part of it is for them to experience more than just their sense of taste.
They feel different textures. See different colored foods. Smell different spices. These are all important parts of the learning experience.
Check out my full 7-day meal plan with recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your little one!
3 tips for baby led weaning beginners
Here are some tips which I found useful when first starting out with baby led weaning:
- Buy a splat mat to place underneath your baby’s highchair. This will make the cleanup a lot easier. Instead of sweeping and mopping the whole area of the floor, you can simply shake the mat into the garbage. It’s also machine washable so it’s excellent for those tough stains.
- Prepare everything you will need for the meal before putting your baby in the highchair. Once baby is in the highchair, he may start getting fussy as he waits until you’re ready. Once you bring the food, he may not be interested anymore since he waited for so long. I like to have the food I will be serving, a sippy cup, a washcloth for clean up, and water/snacks for myself nearby.
- Use long sleeved bibs. I first bought those cute, silicon bibs that just cover the baby’s chest. However, after using it a couple of times, Haylee’s sleeves were all dirty and it was a nightmare to clean her clothes after each meal. Instead, I bought long sleeve bibs which are much better for protecting her clothes.
If you’re unsure of which sippy cup is right for your little one, check out my review on 5 popular baby sippy cups, with thorough pros and cons. I’ve tested them all so I can easily share my opinion on them.
For more tips and helpful guides, check out my eBook Baby Led Weaning Made Simple. Click below for more details!
8 vegan baby led weaning foods
Now that we’ve covered the basics and prep tips, it’s time to dive into the food ideas. I really enjoy baking for Haylee. I love seeing her taste new foods and make cute faces as she figures out if she loves them or hates them, usually, it’s the former.
I hope you will enjoy this experience too since it’s amazing to see the transition from your baby only drinking breastmilk or formula, to eating complex foods that you eat.
This post covers excellent first foods for baby led weaning.
Here are some of Haylee’s favorite foods which are quick and easy to make:
- Mixed berry oatmeal muffins This recipe calls for eggs which I substituted with flax eggs. 1 egg = 1 tbsp flax seeds + 3 tbsps water. Mix it together and let it sit for about 15 minutes. This recipe also calls for honey which I omitted since I’m vegan and babies under 1 are not supposed to have it. The recipe still came out phenomenal and my baby devoured these muffins.
- Butternut squash pancakes
- Beet and carrot cookies
- Oatmeal banana cookies
- Garlic potato wedges
- Sweet potato chickpea patties
- Healthy teething biscuits
- Fruit and veggie smoothies
I like to make a few sweet and a few savory foods and then I freeze them. Every night, I defrost whatever foods I plan to serve Haylee the next day.
All the above-mentioned recipes can be frozen and defrosted. These recipes are either vegan or can be veganized with the tips I mentioned on the side.
Find a comprehensive list of breakfast ideas for babies and toddlers here!
To wrap up
For a free 5-day meal plan, enter your email address below and you’ll get it straight to your email. All the recipes are plant-based or can easily be changed to fit your dietary needs, and they are baby/toddler approved!
I know you’re so busy doing all the mom things, as well as trying to find time for yourself. One less thing for you to do – meal planning.
Do you have your own tips that worked for you? You have recipes that your baby loves? Drop them in the comments below.