The Ultimate Baby-Led Weaning First Foods Guide + Recipes & Sample Menu

BLW first foods, baby-led weaning first foods, first food list for baby, nutritious first foods meal ideas
My baby eating a muffin

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is a beautiful feeding journey that will help you bond with your baby through food.

This guide will walk you through the ins and outs of baby-led weaning first foods, emphasizing the importance of making the right choices from the beginning.

I’ll also share with you some simple recipes and a printable to help you plan out some of your baby’s first foods

You may also like the complete guide to starting baby-led weaning

What Are Some Benefits of Baby-led Weaning?

Click to read my article that explains all the benefits of BLW in detail, along with cited research studies. 

Baby-led weaning is packed with benefits and has a lot of advantages for both parents and babies. Below are a few of them.

Self-Feeding benefits 

BLW encourages self-feeding, nurturing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and a sense of independence.

Healthy Eating Habits

Early exposure to various textures and tastes promotes healthier eating habits as your baby grows.

Reduced Picky Eating

Allowing your baby to choose what they eat may minimize picky eating tendencies down the road.

You may also likePros and cons of baby-led weaning (evidence-based research)

You may also like63 safe baby-led weaning foods you should try today!

Signs of Readiness To Start Baby-led Weaning First Foods

The recommended age to kickstart your BLW journey is typically around six months. That’s when babies usually show all the signs of readiness to begin first foods.

If you’re confused about the signs, make sure to ask your child’s pediatrician to help assess your baby for readiness to begin solids.

Here are the signs to look for to determine if your baby is ready to start solid food.

Sitting Upright Unassisted 

Your baby should be capable of sitting unassisted, ensuring safe self-feeding.

Note that sitting in a bouncer or other types of support chairs does not meet the requirements of sitting upright.

They must be able to sit unassisted on the floor without any support to be ready for their first food.

Tongue-Thrust Reflex

The tongue-thrust reflex is what helps babies feed from the breast or bottle. It also helps them push foreign objects like solid food out of their mouths.

As babies mature, they develop the ability to move food to the back of their mouth and swallow, as opposed to pushing it out with their tongue.

You know they’re ready to start solids when they no longer have this tongue-thrust reflex.

Tongue-thrust reflex in babies 

Showing Interest in Food

If your baby exhibits curiosity about the food you’re eating and reaches for it, they may be ready for BLW.

You may also like – Baby-led weaning vs. Traditional Weaning (a complete review)

20 Nutritious Baby-led Weaning First Foods Ideas

Selecting the appropriate first foods for BLW is important for your baby’s safety and enjoyment. 

The best suggestion when starting solid food is to serve soft fruits and vegetables. 

You can either cook or steam them until they’re soft or buy fruits that are naturally soft. 

Below are some BLW first food suggestions. 

Vegetable Ideas For BLW First Foods

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Avocados are great first foods for baby-led weaning. You can serve them sliced or roughly mashed on toast. 

Click to read my complete guide on how to serve avocados as a baby’s first food. The guide has step-by-step instructions as well as simple avocado recipes.

Here are some avocado recipes for babies:

Cooked Carrot

Carrots are another nutritious BLW first food. To serve carrots for babies 6-9 months old, you need to cut them lengthwise and cook them until soft. 

For babies 9-18 months, you can either grate the carrots or cut them into bite-size pieces before cooking them.

Carrots should be cooked soft enough to be squished between your fingers. This article will help you learn how to feed carrots to babies. It has a step-by-step guide and cutting instructions.

Check out some of my carrot recipes for babies:

Sweet Potato

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Sweet potatoes are a very popular first food for babies. They are soft and sweet, which makes them a great choice for babies.

You can roast them, cook or bake them into foods like muffins for your baby.

Check out my sweet potato recipes for babies:

Broccoli Florets

Broccoli florets are great vegetables to introduce textures to your baby. To make them more edible, steam or boil them until they’re soft. This will make it easier for your baby to eat. 

Sweet Peas

Peas are simple and tasty vegetables for babies. You can use canned peas to make things easier. Just boil or microwave them for a few minutes before serving them to your baby.


Beans are another great option for baby-led weaning first foods. They’re packed with protein and fiber and easy for your baby to scoop up and eat.


Lentils will make a great first food for your baby. That’s because they’re packed with nutrients such as iron, proteins, B-Vitamins, magnesium, calcium, etc. (source)

These are all essential nutrients for babies to grow. 

You can either cook lentils yourself or use canned ones. Some lentil recipes include lentil and chickpea curry, lentil pancake, lentil pasta, lentil and sweet potato fritters, lentil muffins, etc. 

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My son eating lentil muffins


Chickpeas are another excellent source of protein for babies. You can serve them mashed, as curry, in pancakes, muffins, or fritters. 


Rice is a great source of carbohydrates for babies. I love using brown rice in my home because it has more fiber. 

It’s a great first food for babies because of how versatile it is. You can make patties, and rice balls, serve them with beans, etc. 

Veggie Pasta

Pasta is another simple option for a baby’s first food. Make sure you cook the pasta soft enough to be squished between your fingers. 

This will ensure that your baby can easily chew and swallow it.

I love using veggie pasta like this tricolor rotini or chickpea pasta from Amazon 

Start by serving your baby a plain bowl of pasta with some butter then add more advanced sauces as they get older.

Cauliflower florets

Cauliflower is a nutritious vegetable that will help introduce texture to your baby. 

Steam or boil the florets until you can easily pierce it with a fork. Allow your baby to explore the texture and attempt to feed themselves. 

You can sauté it with some spices like garlic and opinion as well. 

Check out my cauliflower recipes:

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Butternut Squash 

Butternut Squash is so versatile and nutritious. It makes a great first food. You can boil or steam it. You can also purée it and use it as a pasta sauce. 


Zucchini is another great first food option for babies. You can make pasta, fritters, or muffins with them. 

Fruit Ideas for BLW First Foods


To make pear safe for baby’s first food (6-9 months), boil it until it’s soft. When they’re between 9-12 months, you can serve them thinly sliced ripe pear, or bite-sized ripe pear. 


You can mash it and mix it In porridge or yogurt. You can also serve it cut in half. Just make sure to remove the seed first. 

If your baby bites the skin, give them a chance to spit it out themselves before you intervene. 

baby-led weaning oatmeal, blueberry oatmeal for baby


These are some of the most common first foods for babies. To serve them, just squish the blueberries gently until they pop. This will ensure they don’t get stuck in your baby’s throat.


Strawberries are another favorite first food for babies. Babies love the tangy taste and the texture as well. When it comes to strawberries, the bigger the better for your baby. 

large strawberries are easier to hold and less likely to get stuck in your baby’s throat.


Plums are great first foods. Just make sure you remove the seed first by cutting it in half. They also help babies regulate their bowel movements.


Peaches are delicious fruits that most babies love. Remove the seed to make it safe for your baby before serving it.


Another favorite first food for a baby is an apricot. You can serve them by cutting them in half to remove the seed.

apple recipes for baby


Apples can be served safely to babies if you follow these instructions. You can boil them until they’re soft and cut them in half for your baby to hold.

You can also peel and shred them with a cheese grater before serving them. Whole raw apples are a choking hazard for babies. 

Check out some apple recipes for babies


Bananas are another great option for nutritious baby-led weaning first foods. Their naturally soft and sweet so your baby will love them.

To serve banana as a first food, simply cut it in half and hand it to your baby to feed themselves. 

Serving half-cut bananas will make it easier for your baby to grip and self-feed.

Other BLW First Food Ideas 

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Oatmeal is a staple in my home. We make it at least once a week. It’s delicious and makes a great first food for babies. 

Just by adding different fruits or vegetables into it each time I make it, I can create an endless amount of recipes. 

Check out my oatmeal recipes for babies below


Bread is another versatile food that babies love. You can add different spreads to it to make it more nutritious. 

Examples of spreads you can add to toast are mashed avocados, smashed eggs on toast, peanut butter, etc. 

Looking for more recipes? check out my list of:

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Things To Consider When Preparing Baby’s First Food

To ensure a safe and enjoyable BLW experience, it’s crucial to prepare and present the first foods appropriately. Here are key steps to consider:

Cooking Methods

Choose methods like steaming, baking, or boiling to soften foods for your baby. Avoid frying or adding excessive salt, sugar, or spices.

Babies shouldn’t be given refined sugar until they’re over a year old. Salt and other hash spices should also be limited in their diet. 

Cutting Technique

Slice food into manageable, baby-sized pieces. For instance, cut bananas into small, easily graspable sections or cut avocado into slices.

Your baby’s age and the type of food will determine how you cut it for them. 

Food Shapes

Serve foods in shapes that are easy for your baby to hold. Stick-shaped or wedge-shaped foods are often easier for babies to grasp. 

Avoid cutting food into very small round pieces because they could be a choking hazard for your baby. 

For example, grapes should be quartered instead of served whole. Blueberries should be squished first before serving, and apples should be boiled and cut in half.

My baby eating spagetti

Supervise your baby

Always be present during your baby’s mealtime to ensure their safety.

Sample Baby-Led Weaning First Foods Menu

Below is a sample Baby-led weaning first foods menu to provide practical ideas for you to begin with.


  • Scrambled eggs
  • Slices of ripe pear
  • Whole-grain toast strips with unsalted butter or mashed avocado


  • Steamed and diced sweet potatoes
  • Soft-cooked broccoli florets
  • Small pieces of mild cheese


  • Baby-friendly pasta shapes like Rotini 
  • Cooked peas 
  • Strips of well-cooked chicken or tofu

Remember that these are just suggestions. The great thing about BLW is that it encourages flexibility and creativity with your baby’s meals. 

This allows you to adapt the menu to your baby’s preferences and dietary needs.

FREE printable – BLW First Food Menu Planner 

FAQs About Baby-led Weaning First Foods 

What food should I start BLW with first?

The best foods to start BLW with are soft fruits and vegetables. 

Fruits like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, cooked ripe pears, and cooked apples are all safe first fruits for baby-led weaning.

Some vegetables to use as first foods include: sweet potatoes, squash, sweet peas, etc. 

What is the 3-4 days rule for baby-led weaning?

The 3-4 days rule of baby-led weaning refers to the amount of time you should wait between feeding one type of food before trying another type.

This is done to make sure your baby isn’t allergic to that food before switching to another food type.

For example, if you feed strawberries today when starting BLW, you’d continue feeding strawberries for the next 3-4 days. 

After you’re sure that your baby isn’t allergic, you can then introduce another type of food (e.g. beans) along with the strawberries.

If your baby were to show signs of an allergic reaction, you’d easily be able to tell that it was the other food (e.g. the beans) that caused it and not the strawberry. 

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How do I start a weaning schedule?

To start a weaning schedule when doing BLW, create a weekly meal plan for your baby that takes into account your family meals.

At 6 months old, aim to feed your baby 1 meal a day. This meal can be given at breakfast, lunch, or dinner time. 

As they get older you can increase their food intake by adding another meal. 

So 7-8 months will be two meals a day and 9 months and beyond will be 3 meals and two snacks a day. 

What age is easiest to wean?

It’s easier to wean a baby who is at least 6 months old. This is because 6 months is usually when babies show all the signs of readiness to start solids.

What foods should you avoid when weaning a baby?

When weaning your baby, avoid foods like raw fish such as raw sushi. Raw fish could harbor pathogens that your baby’s body can’t handle (source).

You should also avoid feeding foods that are common choking hazards until your baby is old enough to eat them safely.

What foods are choking hazards during baby-led weaning?

Foods that are a common choking hazard include whole nuts, raw apples, uncut grapes, and other small round pieces of fruits or vegetables.

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Tips for BLW First Food Success

To make baby-led weaning a more enjoyable experience, try these useful tips.

Observe Your Baby At All Times

Pay attention to your baby’s preferences and allow them to explore various foods.

It’s a good idea to track their preferences in a BLW journal. This way, you’ll have a list of their likes, dislikes, and their allergies. 

Observing your baby will also help you catch any incidence of choking and intervene accordingly.

Make sure you know how to administer infant CPR so you can be prepared at all times.

Use A Safe Eating Space

Ensure that your baby’s high chair and eating area are safe when feeding them their first foods. 

You should avoid feeding your baby in unsafe places like walkers, bouncers, and activity chairs. 

These devices prevent your baby from sitting in a safe eating posture. They could increase the risk of choking.

Your baby’s eating environment should also be free of all distractions. Distracted babies don’t focus on eating. 

Distractions also increase the risk of choking. 

My baby eating a messy spaghetti

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Don’t Stress About Messes

Our babies can feel our stress, and they respond accordingly. 

Remember that messes are part of BLW, so don’t stress about the mess your baby makes.

The best thing to do is get some baby-led weaning equipment that will help minimize the mess.

Some good options are splat mats, long-sleeve bibs, and an easily wipeable high chair. 

Gagging vs Choking: Know The Difference 

It’s a good idea to learn the difference between gagging and choking. They are not the same thing.

One common thing parents do when their baby takes a big bite is to panic. They then try to take out the food by sticking their fingers into their baby’s mouth.

I’m guilty of that myself. 

Sticking your finger into their mouth may actually backfire. This may push the food further into your baby’s mouth and increase the risk of choking.

Instead of doing this, try to stay calm. Get down to your baby’s level and coach them on what to do.

Show them how to gag out the food by doing it yourself. Put your hand under their chin to encourage them to spit out the food. 

Babies have an innate ability to spit out or gag out food that may be too big.

Progress at Their Pace

When it comes to baby-led weaning, it’s about progress, not perfection. Don’t compare your baby to others who seem to be doing better than yours. 

Every baby is different. 

This means your baby may eat larger or smaller portions than others. Yours may have certain preferences that other kids don’t.

Try to meet your baby where they are and support them in their weaning journey.

Your baby will progress at their own speed, so be patient.

Final Thoughts on Baby-led Weaning First Foods

In this Baby-Led Weaning first foods guide, I’ve explained all you need to know to start your BLW journey.

To recap, make sure you choose safe and nutritious first foods. Prepare them appropriately, and Be patient and supportive during your baby’s self-feeding journey.

I hope this guide equips you for a successful Baby-Led Weaning journey with your little one. 

Embrace the mess, celebrate the milestones, and cherish the shared discoveries.

Additional Resources

For more information and resources on Baby-Led Weaning, you can explore the following: 

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