Your baby led weaning journey is one of the most exciting, yet scariest periods of your life. It can be a minefield trying to decide what to offer in those first few weeks. Do you go full steam ahead and offer a full roast dinner, complete with meat, potatoes and all the trimmings or do you start slowly but surely with pieces of veg and soft foods like pancakes or toast? Deciding on your baby led weaning starter foods is a personal choice and everyone will do it differently- there’s no right or wrong way! As long as you have waited until baby has shown all the signs of being ready, he or she is ready to go! But, what are the best starter food ideas?
With our first born son, we started with banana pancakes, but with our second I decided to start with single veg for two weeks first. The funny thing is the single veg idea was useless as it took Felix a lot longer to get the hang of this weaning malarkey than it did Dexter, so by the time he was actually able to pick up the food to put it in his mouth, we were onto toast, pancakes and a little bit of whatever we were having!
I have compiled this list of 100 perfect baby led weaning starter foods and no matter your confidence level, you’ll find something on here to offer your baby during those first scary days, weeks and months.
I think it’s always a great idea to start as you mean to go on and that means introducing vegetables as early as possible. For the first few months I like to steam vegetables so that they don’t lose many of their nutrients like they may do when boiling them, and I cut them into finger sized pieces so baby can easily grab them and hold onto them. All of the vegetables listed below are easily steamed and easily cut into the correct size whilst being super healthy and delicious too!
- Sweet potato
- Green beans
- Butternut squash
Fruit of course is another amazingly healthy food to offer to baby, although I’m always careful to start with vegetables first so they don’t develop a sweet tooth. I always steam or grate harder fruits such as pears and apples and cut bigger fruits into finger sized pieces where possible. Smaller fruits like berries can be squished and I make sure to remove any stones from plums, peaches and apricots. Tomatoes and grapes should be quartered to ensure they’re not a choking hazard.
Meat & Fish
Don’t be afraid of offering meat and fish right off the bat. As long as it’s cut correctly, you do not need to fear meat at all! Whereas my first born was not a big meat lover, our second born adores meat. He is happiest when it is cut into strips or is offered as meatballs and even when he didn’t have any teeth, he would chomp down on his gums and swallow loads!
With fish always make sure there are no bones in whatever you offer.
- Chicken strips
- Beef meatballs
- Pork meatballs
- Salmon strips
- Minced beef
- Minced pork
- Minced turkey
- Turkey strips
- Roast beef strips
You can always make your own meatballs if you don’t fancy buying the pre-packaged kind:
Baby Led Weaning Breakfast Starter Foods
Breakfast is probably my favourite meal to start with when it comes to baby led weaning as there are just so many options and it feels nice and easy! The majority of breakfast foods are nice and soft and can be cut easily into finger sized pieces. I have a whole post dedicated to baby led weaning breakfast ideas, but for starter foods, check out these ideas and recipes below. Pancakes for babies and waffles are perfect as they’re easy to make, super versatile and nice and soft for baby.
- Banana pancakes
- Spinach pancakes
- Beetroot pancakes
- Spinach and banana pancakes
- Sweet potato pancakes
- Apple and oat pancakes
Eggy Bread / French Toast
Other baby led weaning starter foods for breakfast:
- Egg muffins
- Toast topped with avocado, peanut butter or cream cheese
- Porridge fingers
Baby Led Weaning Lunch/Dinner Starter Foods
You might decide that the easiest meal to offer baby at first is lunch or dinner, because that’s when you are all sitting down to eat. It can be hard in the early days to find time to offer food between all the naps, milk feeds and playing, so it’s important to choose a meal that works for you. For me, the perfect baby led weaning starter foods are finger foods such as fritters, pinwheels, savoury muffins and pasta with a super healthy sauce.
Pasta is such a straight forward and easy dish to make that can be enjoyed by the whole family and takes less than 20 minutes to prepare – even with a home made sauce using fresh ingredients.
The majority of these foods can be batch cooked and frozen for a later date too. A freezer stash will be vital as you continue your journey and start to do baby led weaning on the go or find yourself in the middle of a sleep regression and not feel like cooking!
For more baby led weaning dinner ideas and recipes click here
Fritters are super quick to make using ingredients you find in your store cupboard (I always make sure I have eggs and flour on hand). My favourite thing about fritters is they can be made in bulk and frozen for a later date – the perfect baby led weaning starter food!
- Sweetcorn and spinach fritters
- Pea fritters
- Zucchini fritters
- Salmon and sweet potato fritters
- Sweet potato and apple fritters
- Pea and sweetcorn fritters
- Sweetcorn and quinoa fritters
Burgers, Bites & Nuggets
Burgers, bites and nuggets are another excellent finger food to offer baby and just like fritters can be batch cooked to grow your ever increasing freezer stash. The world is your oyster when it comes to making these types of food, with fish, meat and veggie options available.
- Salmon burgers
- Sweet potato and spinach burgers
- Salmon and kale burgers
- Tuna and sweet potato burgers
- Chickpea and parsley patties
- Cheesy broccoli bites
- Butternut squash, mac and cheese bites
- Beetroot, feta and quinoa burgers
- Hash brown potato cakes
- Courgette bites
Pinwheels – the ultimate baby led weaning starter food
Pinwheels are the absolute favourite finger food among baby led weaning Mums. Simple to prepare, easy for baby to hold and super easy for them to eat with soft, flaky pastry. Here are some tasty recipes you can try with your baby, or why not try making up your own version!
- Spinach, ham and tomato pinwheels
- Spinach, pesto and mozzarella pinwheels
- Tuna and corn pinwheels
- Rainbow pinwheels
- Pizza pinwheels
Pasta Sauce Recipes
Pasta is my go to meal if I am feeling a bit lazy and these pasta sauces are super simple and quick to prepare alongside, making me feel less guilty that I am not preparing something lovingly from scratch. Jam packed full of veggies these pasta sauces can be frozen in ice cube trays for an even quicker lazy meal next time.
- Beetroot pasta sauce
- Veggie tomato sauce
- Zucchini pasta sauce
- Sweet potato pasta sauce
- Green bean pesto
- Pepper pasta sauce
- Butternut squash pasta sauce
Another batch cooking favourite, savoury muffins are easy for baby to eat, thanks to their moistness and can be stored in an airtight container for a few days too for a handy snack on the go.
- Broccoli and courgette muffins
- Carrot muffins
- Peanut butter and banana muffins
- Almond butter muffin bites
- Zucchini, avocado and carrot muffins
I prefer to stick to savoury options when starting out on my baby led weaning journeys, but these sweet muffins have no added sugar and are sweetened only by the fruit they contain so are a nice treat in the those early months.
Hopefully you’ve gained some ideas here on the perfect baby led weaning starter foods to introduce to your baby during those first scary months. Let me know how you get on with your journey and what foods worked for you, but most of all, have fun with it! Experiment with new tastes, flavours and textures and enjoy watching your baby learn and develop this amazing new skill of feeding themselves!