Chances are, if you've found yourself on this page, you're considering moving away from breastfeeding to get your little one weaning for the first time. Congratulations! We here at Mother&Baby know that things can seem a little overwhelming at first, but don't worry - we're here to help. How do you know which foods are best for your little one? Say no more, we've got all the answers, including the best finger foods to try out first. Best of luck - you've got this!
The best baby-led weaning ideas
Before you start baby-led weaning, it's important to understand the NHS advice when it comes to weaning your six-month-old baby with solid food.
- Wait until your baby is ready - before you start baby led weaning your baby should be able to stay in a seated position and hold their head steadily. They should be able to look at food and hold it themselves and be able to swallow the food.
- Avoid giving your baby any foods that could be choking hazards - such as grapes or nuts. Also, remember never to leave your baby alone when they are feeding. Once your baby has learnt to use a pincer grip (where they will hold the food between their fingers and thumb) you can introduce berries and raisins or peas.
- Try and offer your baby a variety of different foods but don't overwhelm them - two or three items at a time is enough.
- Remember that for your baby, food is fun, so they are likely to spend a lot of time playing with their food before they eat it. Don't worry, this is normal.
- Use food that is easy to pick up like some of the options below! Read more top tips when it comes to successful baby-led weaning here.
Because we know you're always on the lookout for fun baby-led weaning ideas, we caught up with Julie Clark, a nutritionist and author of Baby Led Weaning Step By Step to find out more about the best finger foods for your little one.
Best finger foods for weaning
Mango slicesRich in vitamin A, mangos keep your baby’s eyes healthy. Leave the skin on as it will make it less slippy and easier for your baby to hold.
Banana chunksThis classic baby led weaning (BLW) food can be chopped into pennies or chunks for your baby to eat. It’s a great on-the-go food.
Steamed broccoli floretsThe texture of broccoli is great for babies and their tree-like shape is ideal for your baby to pick up and hold. What’s more, broccoli is rich in vitamin C, which your body needs to absorb iron.
Sticks of firm mild cheeseMini Edam cheeses are great – simply slice into sticks. Cheese provides an excellent source of calcium, which your baby needs for strong bones and teeth.
Thin strips of meatChicken or turkey is a good place to start. As your baby gets better at chewing, you can move onto pieces of lean lamb or beef. Meat is a great source of protein, which will help your baby’s growth and development.
Steamed carrot sticksChop a carrot into batons or pennies and steam. It contains vitamin A, which is great for your baby’s skin and eyes.
Mashed potato loaded onto a spoonWhile it’s fine to let your baby scoop up mashed potato with his hands, you can also put a lump on a spoon and give it to him. He may put it in his mouth, he may flick it at the walls – it’s all part of the weaning process.
Steamed baby sweetcornThe perfect length for finger food, there’s no need for chopping or slicing this baby sweetcorn. Simply steam and serve to your little one.
Unsalted rice cakesEither use mini rice cakes and top with houmous or cream cheese, or larger ones and then break into small pieces. The houmous stops them from being too dry. Plain rice cakes are an ideal snack when you’re out and about.
Toast fingersYes, your baby will probably gum at it until it’s a soggy mess, but he will enjoy the texture of toast fingers – it’s great for teething babies – and it’s a quick and easy weaning food.
Hard boiled eggMake sure the egg yolk is completely solid and then slice into quarters. The white and yolk will probably come apart, but your baby can pick at both pieces. Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamin A.
Omelette stripsLike boiled eggs, omelettes are a great source of protein. Whisk up an egg, fry in a little vegetable oil, then cut it into 3cm long pieces using a knife or scissors.
Thick fromage frais loaded onto a spoonMake sure you use a set yogurt (otherwise it could get quite messy) load a spoon up with it for your baby to feed himself with.