Baby Led Weaning First Foods + Free Printable List (2024)

If you’re preparing to get started with solids then this baby led weaning first foods list is just what you need to guide you.

Baby Led Weaning First Foods+ Free Printable List (1)

This list of baby led weaning (BLW) first foods will tell you some easy foods to get started with, and breaks down what to offer by age so you can introduce your baby at the right pace.

There’s a free PDF printable BLW first foods list at the end of this article for you to download to help you keep track of the foods your baby has tried.

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What is baby led weaning?

Baby led weaning is where you offer your baby finger foods so they can feed themselves as they work their way through first tastes and different textures.

You do this instead of feeding baby yourself with purees from a spoon.

Like with traditional weaning – where you offer baby purees or mashed food from a spoon – you get started with BLW at six months.

BLW foods are soft and can be held in baby’s fist easily while they chew and bite the end. Most BLW meals involve foods cut into finger length strips – for example toast fingers with a little butter.

It’s worth noting that BLW is not an all or nothing thing. Many parents opt to mix their approach, and use a bit of BLW and parent led (or spoon feeding) to get their baby started on solids.

There really is no “right way” to wean your baby and it’s very much down to you.

A mixed approach can be great as it gives you different options. This is the way I preferred to wean both of my babies – and they’re now happy eaters!

When you’re on the go and need to feed your baby a quick lunch then you may find it useful to quickly open a pureed food pouch and feed baby from that to save on the mess of BLW.

Baby Led Weaning First Foods+ Free Printable List (2)

Baby led weaning first foods by age

This list of first foods for babies will give you an idea of what to introduce in those first six months of giving them solid foods.

You can use this first foods by age list as a guide, but there are no set rules for what to introduce and when so long as you ensure nothing you offer your baby could be a choking risk.

Everything should be cooked until soft, if needed, and cut into strips they can hold and chew.

BLW first foods 6 months

The best foods for when you are getting started with baby led weaning at six months are things you can cut into small finger-sized pieces and that are soft in texture.

Easy first foods for baby led weaning at six months are:

  • Carrots – cooked and cut into sticks
  • Potato – mashed or cut into wedges
  • Sweet potato – mashed or cut into wedges
  • Broccoli – cooked and cut into florets
  • Cauliflower – cooked and cut into florets
  • Banana – keep some peel on so baby has something to grip
  • Pear – steamed and cut into slices
  • Mango – cut into strips
  • Apple – cooked until soft and cut into slices. See tips for how to serve apple for BLW here.
  • Cucumber – peeled and cut into batons
  • Pasta – cooked
  • Rice – you can offer normal cooked rice but also buy baby rice which is a simple first meal for your baby. You can also stir fruit purees into it.
  • Porridge and oatmeal
  • Chicken – cut into strips and poached in a broth or stock, roasted and cut into strips or shredded, drumsticks on the bone. See more tips for serving chicken for BLW here.

Baby led weaning foods at 7-8 months

By this stage your baby should be eating one to two meals a day.

Foods you can offer your baby, alongside others they have already tried at six months, include:

  • Swede – cooked until soft and cut into strips
  • Parsnips – roasted or boiled until soft and cut into strips
  • Butternut squash
  • Apricot
  • Pineapple
  • Beef – shredded or minced
  • Lamb – shredded or minced
  • Pork – shredded or minced
  • Turkey – roasted or poached and cut into strips or shredded
  • Fish – cod, tuna, haddock, shrimps
  • Eggs – hardboiled and scrambled. Avoid runny eggs before 12 months.
  • Bread – toasted and sliced or simply sliced
  • Cheese – cheese can be added to all sorts of dishes for baby such as pasta. Alternatively offer it to baby in strips or grated.
  • Yoghurt – opt for plain yoghurt
  • Lentils
  • Beans – black beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas
  • Chickpeas

Baby led weaning foods at 9-12 months

At nine months you should be offering your baby sold foods three times a day.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they will be eating three full meals a day or that you need to rush get them to drop milk feeds.

  • Peppers – cut into strips
  • Cucumber – cut into strips
  • Blueberries – cut into quarters
  • Strawberries – cut into quarters
  • Raspberries – torn in half
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Cabbage– cooked and shredded
  • Spinach– gently wilted in a little unsalted butter or oil
  • Baby corn or corn on the cob – cooked until soft. Serve corn on the cob to reduce choking risk.
  • Peanut butter – consult your GP if you’re concerned about allergies. Offer a small amount and wait a couple of days to check for any reaction.
  • Tofu
  • Cous cous

BLW foods to avoid

There are a few foods you should avoid before your baby turns one, according to the NHS.

This is because they are a choking risk or because your baby’s digestive system isn’t ready for certain foods yet.

Avoid these foods when weaning:

  • Honey
  • Processed meats – such as bacon and sausages
  • Sugary snacks
  • Crisps
  • Mould ripened soft cheeses
  • Ripened goats’ milk cheese
  • Soft blue veined cheeses
  • Unpasteurised cheeses
  • Raw shellfish
  • Whole nuts – due to the risk of choking, peanut butter is OK but consult your GP first if there is a history of allergies in your family
  • Fresh pate

Baby led weaning first foods free printable list

Baby Led Weaning First Foods+ Free Printable List (3)

To make weaning easier download and print off my free printable PDF list of BLW first foods.

You can tick off the foods your baby tries as you go!Download the list here:


Tips for getting started with baby led weaning

If you are just preparing to get started with BLW then try these tips – the things I wish I had known before starting weaning with my first baby!

Remember that food is for fun until they are one

This phrase really stuck with me when we were weaning and helped remind me that my babies still got most of the goodness they needed from infant formula or breast milk.

I aimed to have my little ones on three meals per day, and milk only in the morning and before bedtime, around the time they turned one.

By having this goal in mind it meant I didn’t sweat the difficult days of introducing solid foods, but just tried my best to make proper meals a part of their daily routine.

Brace for mess

Weaning is messy, but BLW is particularly so. Be prepared for your baby to get food pretty much everywhere.

You can help to contain the mess by using a decent bib – one that catches any food that calls from your baby’s mouth can be really handy.

I also suggest putting your baby’s high chair on a wipe clean mat, or on a floor that is easy to wipe clean (carpet is not a great idea!).

Try these must-have products:

Weaning bib – best for protecting baby’s clothes giving full sleeve and front protection

Sippy cup – always offer water at meals

Baby utensils – featuring easy grip handles

Start at six months

The official advice from organisations such as the NHS is to start weaning at six months.

It can be tempting to start a little earlier than this if you have a baby who doesn’t appear satisfied with just milk or isn’t sleeping well. Some rumours abound on chat forums that you may get baby to sleep better by giving them solids.

Try to ignore the noise and remind yourself that many babies sleep for very short bursts even at night, and it’s unusual for them to sleep through the full 12 hours before six months.

Don’t sweat the bad days

Some days it will seem like your baby hates everything you put in front of them, they have barely touched a thing and you’ll convince yourself this is all going horribly wrong.

Please remind yourself that all parents have tricky days like this!

Final thoughts

I hope this has given you some inspiration for getting started with BLW. Remember that introducing foods doesn’t have to be a race, and you can add new foods at a pace you feel happy with.

You may also like these helpful articles about weaning and meal ideas:

6 month old baby weaning schedule and meal plan

Weaning baby meal plan at 7 months

BLW chicken nuggets recipe

BLW banana bread recipe

Baby Led Weaning First Foods+ Free Printable List (4)
Baby Led Weaning First Foods + Free Printable List (2024)
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