Baby Bites: Adventures in Baby Led Weaning!

Baby Bites: Adventures in Baby Led Weaning. We love to eat! Here’s a peek at our plates to get you started making balanced, healthy meals for tiny tummies!

Baby Bites: Adventures in Baby Led Weaning! We love to eat! Here's a peek at our plates to get you started making balanced, healthy meals for tiny tummies!

Hookay so… here’s the deal: once a month I’ll post fun little installment of Baby Bites filled with recent recipes for Mia’s favorite meals and snacks as well as little tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Since this is the first one, I got a bit carried away!

Baby Bites: Adventures in Baby Led Weaning!

To start things off, here’s a little background on us: Our pediatrician suggested starting solids pretty early on when Mia started drinking copious amounts of milk, started stealing food off my plate, and smacking her lips any time someone took a bite of food in front of her.  This was around the 4-5 mark but we really didn’t commit to regular eats until about 6 months. We started off with a modified, beginner’s version baby led weaning in which I would make a bunch of veggie purees, scoop them up with several baby spoons, and line them up in front of her. She basically channeled Jackson Pollack at this point and had a blast flinging, tasting, and exploring the new foods. Early favorites were mashed sweet potatoes mixed with a little of my milk to thin it out, Greek yogurt, banana right from the peel, and smashed ripe avocado. We started out slow with one new food every couple of days and then picked up steam as she started getting the hang of it.

I was a little shocked at how fast her motor skills and hand/mouth coordination developed and playing turned into devouring! We’ve since progressed into a number of handheld solids but she still loves spooning mashed avocado, sweet potatoes, and Greek yogurt into her face. Of course you’ll want to talk to your pediatrician to evaluate if your baby is ready for solids and BLW and also keep any family history of allergies in mind! Always play it safe!

Oh and for those of you starting out with solid food, the Kidsme Feeder is pure flipping genius! My friend Julie insisted I buy one months ago and I’ve been profusely thanking her ever since. If you have a wee ankle-biter on your hands, you basically need one of these. Yesterday. Add frozen fruits and veggies for those tough teething times and fresh fruit and veggies as a choke-free delivery method that’s fun to chomp and easy to clean! The chickpea adores hers!

Kidsme Silicone Fruit and Veggie Feeder for Babies

We flipping love it.
current favorites: strawberries, avocado, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, melon, kosher dill pickle spears, spaghetti sauce, pesto, roasted red pepper hummus, and Greek yogurt*
*I tried giving her regular, runny yogurt and girlfriend was not amused. I’m fairly sure I took a glob of yogurt to the eye that day. Since then we’ve been straining her yogurt to get it super thick and creamy; it’s all fun and games until someone has to wash their eyeball out.


Baby Led Weaning

I think the general rule of thumb with solids is that if it fits through a toilet paper roll, it’s a potential choking hazard.  For this reason we stick with either small, soft, easily smushed bites that are maybe the size of a cheerio, or larger, easy to handle pieces of fruit and veggies. She prefers the whole food to pieces so I usually plop down right next to her and watch her like a hawk.

We cut cucumbers, for instance, diagonally so that they’re too large to be swallowed whole and leaving the skin on keeps the veggie in tact. She slowly nibbles a little hole in the center, and then uses the remainder as a teething toy until it becomes mushy and I take it away.  Sliced oranges left on the rind [seeds removed] have proved to be both easy to handle and easy to obliterate for my little one sans any choking issues.

As I mentioned before, there are a number of ways you can approach baby led weaning or feeding in general so stick with what you’re comfortable with. Though my degree is in dietetics and I have a history working at WIC as a nutrition educator for little ones, I’m still not an expert by any means; I just adore sharing our foodie adventures. I also just plain adore food, because clearly that’s all we talk about here =)

bland is boring! We season our food with a variety of fresh and dried herbs and spices, so why not do the same for the nugget? We began slowly adding them into Mia’s purees at around the 5-6 month mark. The result? She adores anything with a kick or a ton of flavor! We add cinnamon to her pops and sweet potatoes, basil and and a salt-free Italian seasoning blend to her pureed peas and green beans, garlic to just about everything, and she even seems to really enjoy cayenne pepper. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, eh?

Because let’s face it, food is just plain fun!
Baby Led Weaning

Ok I may have gotten a bit carried away with that one. Lo siento!

feed the freezer: I keep my freezer stocked with purees, baby popssweet potato and butternut squash “fries” and even mini pancakes. As she outgrows the purees [which I simply blend and then freeze in ice cube trays, then transfer into baggies] I’ve been using them in baked goods and smoothies.

Baby Smoothie Ice Cubes

Since we have a flat of fresh from the farm strawberries, I froze pureed berries into pops, some with spinach and organic, full-fat Greek yogurt and some with just straight up berries. They make a perfect naturally-sweet treat for hot Spring and Summer days.

Strawberry Pops for Babies and Tots

I may or may not steal an occasional pop from her stash during naptime. Shhh!

I’ve also been letting her in on the recipe testing for this blog!

Here are a few chickpea-approved dishes:
Homemade Guacamole Seasoning

Peachy Green Smoothie

 Garlicky Asparagus and Mushroom Gruyere Grits

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

The Gruyere grits and asparagus spears were a huge hit! I had to make more the following day because she ate so much off my plate. She hasn’t tried seafood yet, but when I made my shrimp pesto pasta she swiped noodles off Paul’s plate, sucked the pesto off, tossed the noodles, and went back for seconds and thirds. I’m making her a batch of asparagus pesto this week because she’s so crazy about it. I’ll be leaving out the pine nuts though! Broths and soups of all sorts have also been a favorite around here, I’ve been living off my freezer stash from the last time I batch cooked and shes been happily slurping and sampling away.

Smoothies, sorbets, and frozen baby pops are nearly a daily staple for the chickpea and she and I split an avocado a day, either in the form of guacamole or straight up with a spoon. It’s really exciting finally being able to give her my food and not have to make special baby foods at mealtime. I hope her adventurous streak continues!

That’s all for this month! Hopefully I’ll have lots of new recipes to share with you in next month’s installment of Baby Bites! If you don’t have a miniature human to feed at home, don’t fret, I have oodles of adult recipes for you up my sleeve as well. This baby food business will just be a little somethin’ extra from time to time.

Looking for more baby bites and toddler meals? I’ve got you covered!

Check out the Chickpea tab at the top of this blog +

Click [here] for Baby Bites II and [here] for Baby Bites III

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28 Comments

It was a lot of work but I made all three of my girls home made baby food the first year, and it was so worth it. I froze bananas too in thin strips for teething-messy but a lifesaver.

That’s AWESOME! I hope to continue it as well, batch cooking has made the process a little easier but I can’t wait for the day she can eat absolutely everything that I do! Frozen bananas and berries are messy lifesavers here too! And frozen cucumber… but that’s for the bags under my eyes =) haha!

Love this post!! I have a 9 mth old daughter and we’ve been struggling in the solids department. She’s rather picky and has only really taken to solids in the last couple of weeks and I’m struggling with ideas for baby meals! Her pediatrician has urged us to move beyond purees to help with some ::ahem:: output issues. We are also in the midst of weaning. It’s a circus! But, you’ve given me some awesome ideas! Thank you! I’m hoping we can settle into a new eating schedule soon. Can I also ask how you guys time meals and bottles?

Awe, Mia is adorable, and the Kidsme feeder is so cool! I don’t have kids, but I will definitely recommend this to my friends that do. Thanks for sharing!

Ohhhh I just ADORE her! She and her little rolls are the cutest. You have some awesome ideas here! She sounds like she’s a great eater – that’s awesome!

Yummy yummy! I miss the days when G would eat everything I put in front of her. Now it’s all cottage cheese, whole milk greek yogurt (Brown Cow cream top is bomb), and cheese sticks around these parts. She certainly didn’t inherit my lactose intolerance! But the Greek yogurt pops might work to sneak some veggies into her 🙂

Thank you for this post! Our little girl is just starting out with solids and I feel like I’ve forgotten everything from when we started solids with my son… plus I just want to do it differently this time around. You are giving me all kinds of ideas and inspiration!

Your daughter is darling! We did baby led weaning with our son, and it was so fun to watch him discover foods and feed himself. It made him seem like a grown-up person very quickly!

Oh the new foods will absolutely help in that department haha! I agree on it being a total circus, you guys should find a groove soon and I’ll try to keep as much info packed into these monthly posts as I can! I’ll keep updating Instagram with her eats when I can as well! Mia is a born snacker and usually has some fruit, veggies, yogurt or a pop about an hour after her first morning meal, then a bit more milk an hour later before her nap. At some point mid-day we have more “people food” to nibble and experiment with and then I’ll try to do a bit more about an hour or so before her bedtime routine starts but it’s been so super up in the air lately with teething being so aggressive. She’s more into eating solids than milk [I heard sucking can hurt sore gums a bit] and it’s been a little nerve racking here trying to figure out if she’s getting enough. Each new stage seems to bring a new song and dance of chaos into the midst so here’s hoping bot our daughters settle back into a groove soon!

BLW is the best, I love it so much! Per his pedi b/c he was a preemie, we started late on solids. Like I’ve only been feeding him regularly for 2 weeks now ( He’s 8 months, 6.5 adjusted) Owen loves all sorts of foods. The only thing he hasn’t been a huge fan of is oatmeal, but he’ll still eat it. I made him some blueberry & spinach overnight oats to eat w/ Daddy tomorrow morning so I’m hoping maybe he’ll like it better that way? We shall see. We went to a family reunion today and he straight snatched a handful of squash casserole off of Will’s plate, and he wouldn’t stop! I had to wrangle a squirmy squealy baby away from his plate long enough to put a bib around him and sit him down. Then I got him his own portion and he went to town. The kid *ADORED* the stuff. I was so proud! It’s absolutely incredible how quickly there motor skills develop this way. I’m sure people may look at me like I’m crazy b/c I let my kid feed himself and he gets so, so messy, but I firmly believe it is going to give him a great attitude towards food when he’s older.

What a fun post. My little guy is a little bit older, but I am always looking for new ways to get him to eat/choose healthy foods…these posts may even be helpful to get my super PICKY five-year old to choose healthier foods 🙂

This is great! I just started giving my boy solids. Can’t wait to try your recipes. I love that you add spices. Babies need flavor too.