Baby-led weaning is very good for babies, and the mother must have confidence in her little one’s ability to eat by himself. Baby-led weaning is a lot more interesting for the baby that the classic form of diversification, with fruit or vegetable purees. The puree doesn’t allow the baby to feed himself because it can’t hold it in its hand. It explores the texture with its fingers, but the quantity that reaches the mouth is too small.

On the other hand, the puree mixes all the flavors of the food, and its consistency doesn’t encourage the child to learn how to chew. But that is not a rule! While some children accept solid and not mashed foods, others, however, don’t even accept purees that have a thicker consistency. The mother must be patient and try different approaches. Every child is different, and a 5-6 months old baby is not too small to express its preferences.

If your baby is curious and agrees to eat foods that are not mashed, here are 8 types of food that the baby can start to eat by himself with its hand. The main rule is follow the schedule for food introduction in the baby’s diet, with the breaks that are recommended by pediatricians – 3 or 4 days before you introduce a new type of food.

Baby-led weaning. Can you let your baby eat by himself?

Baby-led weaning – Vegetables

After you cook the vegetables, instead of mashing them, cut them in little pieces and offer them to your baby so that it can eat them by itself. The first vegetables that you can introduce in the baby’s diversification schedule are:

At 5 months: carrot, parsley (root), parsnips

At 6-7 months: zucchini, peppers, potatoes, spinach

At 8-9 months: broccoli, tomatoes (no seeds and no skin)

Baby-led weaning – Fruits

They remain every child’s favourite. Whether the child eats them raw or baked in the oven, make sure you follow the instructions regarding the right age to consume various foods. Cut the fruits into appropriate pieces for the little one and let him discover the new aromas. When you have introduced him to more types of fruits, you can prepare him a small plateau from which he can choose what to eat.

From 5-6 months: avocado and apple

At 6-7 months: banana, apricot, quince, grapes (without peel and seeds)

At 7-8 months: nectarine, pear, peach, mango, watermelon

At 9-11 months: cherry, blackcurrant, melon, plums, figs, sour cherry

After 1 year: blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, citrus (pomelo, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines), dates, wild strawberries, kiwi, blackberries, raspberries.

Baby-led weaning – Bread

If your baby is already 10 months old, you can feed it gluten foods, including bread. We recommend graham or whole grain bread. Even though he doesn’t have teeth yet or if they have just started to come in, bread will entertain him. In addition, it will ease his gums pain. Because it contains gluten, bread should be introduced gradually and in small pieces. And the consumption of bread in children should not be exaggerated. Twice a week is more than enough for babies to explore this new type of food by themselves.

Baby-led weaning – Pasta

From the age of 9-10 months, you can cook for your baby some baked pasta with fresh cheese, eggs and yogurt. Let your child feed himself this snack, which you can cook for him in the afternoon.

Baby-led weaning – Yolk

From the age of 7-8 months, you can make room in your baby new menu to egg yolk. You should introduce the egg white after your baby is at least 1 year old. The yolk is safer, but even so it’s recommended that, initially, you give your baby a quarter of yolk, then half, three quarters until he will get to eat a whole egg yolk (1-2 times per week).

After you boil the egg (it has to be boiled very well), remove the egg white, and cut the yolk in smaller pieces that your child can hold by himself.

Baby-led weaning – Cheese

Even homemade fresh cheese can be a culinary experiment which will delight the little one.

At 6 months: homemade cow cheese (with lactic calcium pills or lemon juice)

At 7-8 months: cottage cheese, store bought.

Baby-led weaning – Fish

From the age of 8-9 months, you can begin to introduce fish in your little one’s diet. You can choose between trout, perch and cod.