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

baby-led-weaning-plates-on-countertop

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.

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baby-led-weaning-foods-on-countertop

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 on purees or with the BLW-style of feeding, 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.
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examples-of-nuts-for-kids-in-bowls
So Easy Peanut Butter Puree
This fluffy peanut butter 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.
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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.
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egg-puree-and-toast-on-plate-for-baby
Bread for Babies and Toddlers
Learn how to prepare and serve bread to babies and toddlers to maximize safety and nutrition.
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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!
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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 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 puree 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.
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Turkey meatballs on plate with side of marinara sauce.
So Easy Sliced Baked Apples
We like these apples warm or cold out of the fridge, so see what your kids like best!
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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.
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baked carrot fries
The Best 2-Ingredient Pancakes (Baby and Toddler Approved)
This recipe makes one small batch of super tender 2-Ingredient Pancakes. It usually makes 1-2 little-kid-size servings. To make more, simply double the recipe. These are delicate pancakes with a texture that's sort of custardy like French toast, so be gentle when flipping them. See the NOTES at the bottom for the flavor variations.
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2-ingredient-pancakes-4-flavors
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!)
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sweet-potato-baby-food-three-ways
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.
Get the recipe
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.
Get the recipe
egg-puree-and-toast-on-plate-for-baby
Make-Ahead Egg and Cheese Mini Muffins
These soft breakfast egg cups 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.
Get the recipe
egg-cups-on-plate-with-toast
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!
Get the recipe
French toast sticks on kids plate with sides.

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