Learn the ins and outs of the meaning of “BLW,” or “baby-led weaning,” with tips for safety and allergy introduction.


BLW Meaning

The term “BLW” stands for “baby-led weaning”, the infant feeding method where we allow baby to take the lead on feeding themselves from an early age with appropriately prepared foods. As the style of feeding has grown in popularity, so has the idea that this is the “right” way to feed a baby.

It may help to remember that there are lots of ways to start solids and the only “right” one is the one that’s safe and works for your family.

(You may also like my post on when can babies have honey? Or my recipes for Watermelon for Baby or Spaghetti Squash Baby Food.)

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Baby-Led Weaning 6 Months

Introducing solids of any type is usually recommended around 6 months, or the time that baby is sitting mostly on their own and has good head control. This is also the time that the iron stores that babies are born with typically start to run out, so we can offer iron-rich foods to ensure baby has enough.

How to Introduce Your Baby To Potential Food Allergens

Whether starting baby with homemade baby food purees or with baby-led weaning foods, the recommendation is to introduce common food allergens early and often—which multiple studies have shown can decrease food allergy risk.

(Food allergy rates have doubled over the past 10 years, so having a plan for potentially allergenic foods is really important.)

That means you’ll want to include them right from the start regularly, unless there are risk factors such as eczema or a family history of food allergies. Talk to your own pediatrician or allergist for information specific to your child.

toast with peanut butter and jam on plate

Recipes that Include Common Food Allergens

We also try to include as many of these foods in our meals as we can through easy recipes including the ones below.

How to Serve Nuts to Babies and Toddlers
Below is the method for making nut powder, plus links to my favorite recipes that include nuts, nut butters, and seeds. Nutrition will vary depending on how much you use. Info here is per tablespoon.
How to Serve Nuts to Babies and Toddlers
Easy Peanut Butter Baby Food Puree
This fluffy peanut butter baby food puree should have the consistency of yogurt and be easy for a baby to move around in their mouths. Remember to offer just a little at a time.
Easy Peanut Butter Baby Food Puree
peanut butter puree in small bowl with baby spoon
Easy Egg Yolk Puree (with BLW option)
This is an easy method to introduce eggs to baby, whether they’re starting solids on purees or with the baby led weaning approach. Adjust the number of eggs up or down as you like.
Easy Egg Yolk Puree (with BLW option)
Bread for Babies and Toddlers
Learn how to prepare and serve bread to babies and toddlers to maximize safety and nutrition.
Bread for Babies and Toddlers
bread stacks on cutting board
Easy Pan-Fried Tofu (for Baby, Big Kids, and Parents)
Learn how to make tofu for babies and big kids with this easy pan-fried tofu recipe. It's so easy and yummy that parents enjoy it too!
Easy Pan-Fried Tofu (for Baby, Big Kids, and Parents)
pan fried tofu in skillet

Baby-Led Weaning Safety Tips

Babies can eat a lot of foods, but not all of them, so there are some considerations to keep in mind when feeding any baby:

  • The food should be easy to hold and easily squished between your fingers.
  • Avoid foods that are choking hazards such as anything hard, round, chewy, or sticky.
  • Always make sure baby is safely seated in a baby high chair and is upright, rather than leaning back or reclined.
  • Avoid honey for babies under 12 months and avoid replacing formula or breastmilk with cow’s milk until over age 12 months.
  • You can offer some of a homemade baby food on a preloaded spoon, then hand it over to baby to feed themselves. This allows them to have control, but expands the options for the types of foods you can feed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does BLW mean? 

BLW stands for baby-led weaning or the style of infant feeding where baby takes the lead on picking up the food and putting it into their mouth.

Why is it called BLW?

The name grew in popularity after the publication of the book, Baby Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Food by UK author Gill Rapley a little over a decade ago.

How do I introduce my baby to baby-led weaning?

To start, secure baby in their highchair and offer one food for them to explore at a time. You can find some favorite baby-led weaning first foods as well as BLW breakfast ideas to get you started.

What age is BLW for? 

It is usually recommended to start infants on solid foods, whether purees or BLW-style food, around 6 months.

Turkey meatballs after cooking on baking pan.

Favorite Baby Led Weaning Recipes

For some of our favorite BLW recipes to try, head to my library of baby food recipes. Some go-to recipes include:

Turkey Sweet Potato Baby Meatballs
With just a few nutritious, flavorful ingredients, you can make a batch of Baby Meatballs (for a baby, toddler, or parent!) with turkey and sweet potato. They freeze well and can be served plain or in marinara sauce.
Turkey Sweet Potato Baby Meatballs
Turkey meatballs on plate with side of marinara sauce.
So Easy Sliced Baked Apples
Transform fresh apples into Sliced Baked Apples as a simple snack, side dish, or as baby led weaning apples. The super simple method takes just 5 minutes to prep, and they work as a topping for oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes, and more!
So Easy Sliced Baked Apples
baked apple slices on plate
Easy Roasted Carrot “Fries”
These baked carrot fries are a simple side to go with burgers or chicken and pair perfectly with ketchup.
Easy Roasted Carrot “Fries”
baked carrot fries
Best 2-Ingredient Baby Pancakes
Blend up a fruit or veggie with an egg for the fluffiest, easiest, healthy baby pancakes. These use just 2 ingredients, have four flavor options, and are a perfect texture for both babies and toddlers. See the NOTES at the bottom for the flavor variations.
Best 2-Ingredient Baby Pancakes
Favorite Sweet Potato Baby Food
You can serve this as wedges, a thick mash, or a thinner puree to your baby or toddler. (Adults will love the wedges, too!)
Favorite Sweet Potato Baby Food
Easy BLW Banana
Learn how to serve BLW banana so it’s easy and safe for your baby to hold and feed themself baby-led weaning style. There are three easy options here so you can pick the one that works best.
Easy BLW Banana
Banana in different forms on red plate for blw banana
Easy Egg Yolk Puree (with BLW option)
This is an easy method to introduce eggs to baby, whether they’re starting solids on purees or with the baby led weaning approach. Adjust the number of eggs up or down as you like.
Easy Egg Yolk Puree (with BLW option)
Mini Egg Muffins with Cheese and Veggies
These tender Egg Muffins are packed with protein and vitamins—and can be made ahead of time! Add any veggie you like, whether carrots, butternut squash, broccoli, or spinach.
Mini Egg Muffins with Cheese and Veggies
Easy French Toast Sticks (Freezer-Friendly)
Use this easy method to make the best French Toast Sticks to share with your kids. They freeze so well!
Easy French Toast Sticks (Freezer-Friendly)
French toast sticks on kids plate with sides.

Best Tips for Success

  • Be sure to follow basic safety tips for the preparation of food for baby-led weaning, including to serve foods that are easy for baby to hold—food the size of a finger or two is usually good—and that is easy to squish between your fingers.
  • Plan to introduce potential food allergens early and feed them often.
  • Include purees using preloaded spoons to increase the foods you have available for baby as you like.
  • Find tips on Baby Feeding Schedules to plan your day.
  • These Baby Led Weaning Breakfast Ideas may help get the first meal of the day on the highchair tray faster.

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