Baby Led Weaning First Food Ideas (2024)

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by Brittany Dixon

For more on baby led weaning, check out my book!


For this month’s Munchkin Meals, I wanted to share a look at some of the very first foods babies might like, if you’re starting your own baby led weaning adventure.

Baby Led Weaning First Food Ideas (1)

A few days before Kaitlyn turned 6 months old, we got started on our solids journey. Kaitlyn’s first food was roasted sweet potato sticks (just like Hailey’s) and, like most baby-led adventures, I’m not sure how much of the mess made it down the hatch.

A few weeks later, more of the food was starting to move into her system and it became more fun to watch her feel, taste and experience food. Plus, when your baby starts to eat more on her own, your hands are feed up to start working on dinner or cleaning up (always stay close and watch the baby eat, of course!).

Here are the foods I’ve found to be great for starting out with baby led weaning.

[Tweet “Here are six great foods to try when you start baby led weaning!”]

Baby Led Weaning First Food Ideas

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1. Steamed Broccoli.

So little prep work, so nice. Since broccoli has built in handles, all you need to do is steam it (and let it cool) and it’s ready to go. Kaitlyn munches on the ‘tree’ end and seems to get a kick out of the texture.

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2. Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds.

These are a big hit. Sliced, tossed in olive oil, then roasted and cooled. I keep these in the fridge and warm them up a bit before giving them to Kaitlyn. Last night she ate 3 by herself, spitting out the peel.

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3. Steamed Green Beans.

Another food naturally built for baby led weaning because Kaitlyn can easily grab one end and still have enough sticking out of the other end to chew on.

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4. Banana.

Cutting to expose just a small end the banana makes it easier for Kaitlyn to pick up. Once she eats the exposed end, I cut it a little further down and let her keep going.

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5. Butternut Squash.

Roasted into sticks makes this sweet vegetable easy to grab and eat.

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6. Pepper Strips.

These are great because it’s so easy to just cut off a couple strips and throw them on her tray. They are easy to grab and Kaitlyn seems to really enjoy the taste. I never really expected her to eat a lot of it (no teeth!), but she sucks long enough that she has worked some of the pepper flesh off and into her tummy on multiple occasions.

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Other great options include:

Avocado:cut into long sticks. I have heard (but haven’t tried myself) that you can coat the avocado in crushed cereal (like Cheerios) to give it an easy-to-grab coating.

Corn on the Cob:cut in half, boiled and cooled, makes for an easy item for baby to pick up and gnaw on.

Zucchini:cut into rounds and roasted makes it easy to grab and eat.

I like to start with vegetables and slowly introduce fruits before moving our way into meats, grains, etc.

We’ve had so much fun with food (especially our clean up crew, AKA Koda the dog) and will be back to share more about the journey!

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About Brittany Dixon

Brittany Dixon is a former health coach turned homeschooling mom of two girls. Her goal is to share her passion for healthy eating and natural living alongside the daily challenges and triumphs of motherhood. She shares her life through the lens of food, family, and travel.


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Reader Interactions


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  1. John J. Stathas says

    Pass that pepper strip (if it will bring forth the glee that Kaitlyn has!). See you tomorrow!!


  2. Brittany @ Delights and Delectables says

    pepper strips… Love it! doing that next! Baby D is loving eating his big boy food!


  3. Katie Harding says

    Awesome post! My little guy is almost 16 weeks now so we have a while to go before we attempt solids but this is great info for when we do!


  4. erin says

    So glad to see this post! I’m saving for our start with solids in a couple of months.


  5. Jen says

    Lol, Thanks 🙂

    I think I have to get braver. I have first time mom syndrome and am cutting things into pieces that are way too small for her to grab at her age.


    • Brittany Dixon says

      Totally normal to have first mom syndrome! I remember being so nervous with Hailey, but with Kaitlyn I’m totally go-with-the-flow. Vigilant of course, but a little more lax 😉


  6. Marjorie @APinchOfHealthy says

    She is growing so fast! What a healthy appetite she has already. Looks like you have introduced her to some great stuff.


  7. Julie @ Running in a Skirt says

    So cute! What great ideas that are all easy for her to feed herself.


  8. Kate says

    She is adorable! I bet it is so cool to watch her try new things and figure out how to eat them on her own. So did you just skip over the purees that are often fed to babies?


    • Brittany Dixon says

      I did- no rice cereal or purees. It worked so well for Hailey that I’m hoping for a similar good eater from Kaitlyn- fingers crossed!


  9. Lauren says

    Loved doing blw with Cecelia! Her first food was a strip of avocado and a second was a steamed carrot. Love the idea of butternut squash and peppers! I remember her having butternut squash soup but don’t think I did strips of it for her. This makes me want to raost up a batch of veggies for us to snack on 🙂


  10. Laura @FitMamaLove says

    Baby led weaning was such a great experience for our family too. It made it so much easier to just give my babies whatever veggie we were having for dinner. I love that you mentioned she spits out the skin of the sweet potato. Even though she’s so young, she still capable of spitting out what she can’t handle. I never thought of only exposing part of the banana, but that’s a great idea!


    • Brittany Dixon says

      Yes! I’ve noticed even more the second go ’round how capable babies are of spitting out what they can’t handle. They are impressive little beings 🙂
      Thanks for linking up too!!


  11. Angel says

    I love that you are not starting with rice cereal! I have a 5.5 month old and will be starting solids next week. So exciting! Did you just skip puréed food?


    • Brittany Dixon says

      I did- skipped cereals and purees. It’s what works best for us!


  12. Farah says

    What a beautiful little girl! She has a twinkle in her eye and looks so happy and spunky. This way of feeding babies seems so much easier and cleaner than making purees when it comes to cooking appliances. You can just make a batch of veggies and everyone can eat them as is, instead of spending the extra time pureeing/mixing with a blender or food processor. It also looks like it’s more fun for the kids. They learn what foods actually look like from a very young age and get to explore textures more. I’m glad it’s worked out so well for you guys!


  13. Michelle says

    I love this! I was waiting for you to post about this. Thanks! I never heard of BLW until I starting reading your blog. My daughter (my first baby) will be 6 months old next week. I’ve been giving her cereal but only mixed in with her bottles. I never spoon fed her. I really want to try BLW and I’m pretty sure this is the route I’m going take. I’m nervous about grains though – rice, quinoa, and certain veggies like peas. I feel like those are more of a choke hazard than veggie strips. Are there any books/websites you recommend for BLW meal ideas? Thanks again!


    • Brittany Dixon says

      I’m going to email you! 🙂


      • Amanda says

        Hi Brittany! I am just catching up on your blog after a few days! I have a 4.5 month old, she is my first, and I thinking about this whole intro to solids thing! I am skipping rice cereal as well. I was planning to start with purees, but mostly because i thought i had to, haha! I would also love to hear your recommendations on BLW resources too, if you have the time to share! Thanks!


        • Brittany Dixon says

          I’ll email you too Amanda! 🙂

  14. Jen says

    I’m so glad you posted this. Perfect timing! My little one turns 6 months this weekend and is always GRABBING anything I have around dinner time. This is my second and I’m still nervous about the choking issue, but I am going to try it! Thanks


  15. Giselle says

    She’s adorable! Great ideas and looks like she’s loving it!


  16. Chantal says

    That’s such a great idea for the bananas!


  17. MrsFF says

    Your posts on doing BLW with Hailey made me try this when I had my daughter. Though I did a modified version. While we didn’t do any of the regular baby purée we did baby cereal because of allergy issues but now we are full on feed your self, using the last box of baby cereal. If only I can get her to eat oats. A colleague told me I was depriving my child by not feeding her puree!!! I’m sure wholesome hole made natural food beats store bought puree any day in my “naive” opinion


  18. Sherry says

    Baby led weaning sounds so much easier than what I did—cook vegis (probably too much), put in blender, freeze in ice trays (some of your readers may not even know what these are :), and then feed with a spoon (which more got all over the face than in the mouth).


  19. LaToya\ says

    Thanks for sharing! Braxton eats jarred food because I don’t have enough faith in myself to make it myself.

    Thank you for sharing your techniques though, you have me interested.


  20. Holly Marie says

    Butternut Squash- definitely need to try that! Come to think of it my preschooler isn’t allergic to it so that might be a family favorite-crossing fingers. Thanks for sharing!


  21. Celia says

    I’m an Infant Teacher at a child care center. Parents always need food ideas. So I printed this out and hung it outside my classroom. The parents are always looking at it! Thank you!


  22. Jennifer says

    Hi Brittany,
    How well do you cook the veggies? I feel like you would have to cook them really well so they are soft…..
    This BLW really intrigues me!


    • Brittany Dixon says

      I bake sweet potatoes until they are soft and steam broccoli until soft, but still firm enough to grasp. Now (8 months) that she has mastered the pincer grip, most everything is in small pieces. What veggies are you curious about? I’m happy to help if I can!


  23. Allie says

    Found your blog through Pinterest and love it! My son (first child) is almost 9 months old and we started giving him things like sweet potato fries, strips of avacado, etc right around 6 months. He had absolutely no interest. He would treat it like the plague and not want to even touch his tray if there was food on it. He would sit there with his arms out waving in circles. He still does the same thing now. Unless I actually hold the food, then he will pull my hand toward him and bite. He still barely ever swallows anything. Only thing he’ll swallow is something super mushy like bananas. As I said he’s almost 9 months now and I’m getting quite frustrated. Any tips or advise you can give me? Thanks!


  24. Allie says

    Found your blog from Pinterest! I really like it. My son (first child) is almost 9 months old. We started right at 6 months to try and do BLW. He had no interest. We started with things like sweet potato fries, strips of avocado, etc. He treated food like the plague. If there was food on his tray he wouldn’t touch the tray. He would hold his hands out to the sides to keep from touching. As I said he is almost 9 months now and still shows little interest. Usually he’ll try something if I’m holding it and he’ll pull my hand to his mouth to try but still doesn’t do much by way of picking things up and putting them in his mouth. The times that he does get things in his mouth, he rarely swallows unless it’s super mushy like bananas. He just has it sitting in his mouth for quite a while (once it was a good 5-10 min). Any tips or advice for me? Is it ok that he’s still not really eating much by 9 months? I feel like he should be but that could just be my first time mom worries and not ever have done BLW before. Thanks!


  25. Jesica says

    I’m just starting BLW, I did NY first one the standard way with purees and such, but I want this second one to learn this way. She tried toast this morning, just a big circle, then had a couple peas to play with but it’s too early for that. I seriously am just so nervous about choking. I don’t know what sizes to make things and how to ensure she can eat them. I know it’s supposed to be mushy textures. I think? I’m so lost and feeling overwhelmed trying to figure this out by myself. I don’t want to offer the same food every day and every meal. Does anyone have suggestions for first time BLW’ers and first foods??


  26. katie says

    Can you give recipes for the roasted butternut squash strips? I’m having a most difficult timme getting my 9 mo old to start solids, he refuses just about everything, he only wants his bottles and I am so tired of pumping!!


    • Brittany Dixon says

      Hi Katie! I roast butternut squash the same as I do sweet potatoes. Cut into cubes, toss with olive oil, sprinkles with cinnamon and roast at 375 for about 30-40 minutes. Try feeding him solid about an hour after a bottle. Good luck!


  27. Ellen says

    Thanks, great idea. I made purees for my first child and was starting to do that for my second (6 months) but hadn’t thought to try whole foods. We are starting a CSA in 2 weeks for the summer so will have endless veggies, so excited to try this. I think she will really enjoy feeding herself.


  28. Kristen Matthews says

    This is so helpful! We are about to start Hank in the next couple weeks and I remembered seeing this post a while back.


  29. Elizabeth says

    My son just turned 6 months and are wanting to try blw. Today, we gave hom some mango with the peel to munch on. He did great until he bit off a huge chunk of mango. I panicked thinking it was going to get stuck in his throat. Should I panick or let him continue eating? Or maybe I shouldn’t start with such slimy food?


    • Brittany Dixon says

      I completely understand your worry- totally normal. Both my girls gagged a few times as they learned to navigate real food. However, gagging is very different from choking! On babies that age, the gag reflex is located further forward on the tongue as a natural safe guard. As you both get used to this way of eating, I recommend starting with super easy foods like baked sweet potato sticks, which are essentially puree in stick form 🙂 Best of luck!


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  31. Brandy says

    Hi! My girl Jessica showed me this post because I’m interested in BLW, so excited to start! my LO will be 5 months old this week, when do you recommend starting this? He’s already had avocados and bananas in his mesh chew things (where they can hang on to the handle and suck on the mesh part until the food is gone) and he loves it! Is this a sign that he’s ready to just be handed a chunk of food? 🙂


    • Brittany Dixon says

      Personally I think it is best to wait until 6 months when they can sit up unassisted and their digestive systems are prepared to handle solids, but each baby is unique so it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor. It is so much fun though and am excited for you to venture into solids with your baby girl!


  32. Nissi says

    I’m a first time mom, so it scares me to think of his first foods not being mashed or pureed when they done have teeth. I really want avacados to be his first food. You think just giving him slices will be fine?


    • Brittany Dixon says

      Choose a ripe avocado and if it is too slippery, leave the peel on the slice. That will help him grasp it and gnaw off the good stuff. Of course always do what makes you feel comfortable, but I think after a few days/weeks of practice you’ll be really impressed! We thoroughly enjoyed learning and exploring food and both my girls still are adventurous eaters today.


  33. Carrie says

    My son (7m) had no interest in banana. I think the texture turned him off. I tried putting some in a silicone feeder, but still no go. I tried your method of cutting the skin down just a little and voila! Banana crazy. He was literally sucking the banana out of the skin to get more once he’d hit the end of the cut off section. Thanks for the awesome trick!!!


    • Brittany Dixon says

      Hooray! That’s awesome! Watching babies get excited about a food makes me smile so big 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience!


  34. Jasmine says

    FTM here! Am really excited to try this with my LO. Can you give me some advice on where you buy your fruits and veggies and is it best to stick with organic everything for the babies? My 9 month old has had avocado a couple of times and a mushed banana but we haven’t really tried anything else because we are clueless of what she is allowed to have. We buy the organic baby food pouches for her and her favorite ones are the meaty pouches: chicken, beef and turkey. Very glad to see that we can actually give her chicken and beef ourselves and it doesn’t have to be squished! Thank you so much for all your meal ideas! Question about the meats you buy: do you buy free range or just any kind? And do you save leftovers and reheat them the next day for your kiddos or just give it to them cold. Need lots of help here! So clueless and just want baby to move on from those pricy pouches!


    • Brittany Dixon says

      Hi Jasmine! Yes, those pouches are awesome for convenience but sure do add up quickly, don’t they?! To answer your question- I try to buy organic/free-range as much as possible, but don’t overly stress about it. When we ate out, she’d eat blueberries from our meal and bits of meat, pasta, etc. Some weeks I buy all organic and others, not so much, depending on where I’m shopping, the budget at that time, etc. My advice is to focus of feeding kids whole, real food (think food pyramid- fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, etc) most of the time and you’ll be in a great spot! Have fun!!


      • Jasmine says

        Thank you so much, Brittany! I definitely would prefer for the whole family to eat organic but sometimes the cost is not in our budget for that week or sometimes it’s just because I can’t get my hands on a good selection to buy organic. We usually try to save money on our meals and feed her the best of everything but finger foods will be a perfect way to really get all of us to eat healthier and we will be saving money by not buying pouches! Since reading your post I’ve already given my LO peas, super small pieces of chicken, avocado cubes and bit of steamed carrots! She has absolutely loved it so far! Thank you for sharing your meal ideas!


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