As a parent, I know how exciting and challenging it can be to introduce solid foods to your baby. That’s why I’ve created the “100 Foods Before 1” list to make the baby-led weaning process simple and fun.
Whether it’s your first time parenting or you have done it before, this list will make your transition a breeze. I spent a lot of time researching and gathering the latest and most helpful information, so you can trust that you’re making the right decisions for your baby.
Let’s dive in!
What Is Baby-Led Weaning?
Baby-led weaning is a unique approach to feeding your baby solid foods. Instead of purees and spoon-feeding, you’ll offer your baby real, solid foods they can hold and feed themselves.
This approach encourages your baby to explore different textures and flavors and helps them develop skills like coordination and motor control. As a parent, your job is to provide appropriate foods that have been cut into safe and manageable pieces.
When should I start baby-led weaning?
Are you still unsure if your baby is ready for such a big move in their little life? What are the warnings for baby-led weaning? Here are some telltale signs that your child is ready to start consuming their first foods and solid food:
Your baby can sit up on their own without any help.
Your baby has strong neck control and can keep their head up and steady.
Your baby is a pro at grabbing objects and bringing them to their mouth.
Your baby shows an interest in food by staring hungrily at what you’re eating.
If your kid is hitting all these markers, it’s time to start thinking about a new meal menu for your little one.
What Should Be My Best Baby First Foods?
Well, the best foods to start with are healthy, easy to eat, and digest, like cereals, rice, barley, sweet potato, banana, avocado, apples, pears, green beans, or butternut squash.
Some docs might tell you to kick off with veggies before fruits, thinking it’ll make your kiddo a future veggie-lover. Spoiler alert: it won’t. Turns out, babies are born with a sweet tooth (just like their love for your cuddles), and they’ll gravitate towards those yummy sweet flavors regardless of whether they meet carrots or apples first. So, go ahead and let your baby explore the tastes of the food kingdom – they’re going to love the sweet stuff anyway!
What You Need To Know Before Starting Solids
Although it sounds fun and interesting, baby-led weaning comes with its set of challenges. For instance, some babies may be hesitant to try new textures or flavors, or they may struggle with certain foods.
However, with the right approach, you can help your baby overcome these challenges and develop a love of healthy and delicious foods.
Begin with One Food at a Time
Start by introducing a single food to your baby, offering it once a day for several days. Monitor for any allergies or sensitivities before moving on to the next food.
Plan Your Meals
To ensure your baby is exposed to various foods, you may need to have a clear plan in place. This way helps you prevent food waste and keep your grocery expenses under control.
Track a Progress
You can effortlessly document each new flavor experience using the notes app on your phone or by going old-school with classic paper and pen. Having a record helps you celebrate your progress and ensures you hit your goal of exposing your little one to 100 unique foods in their first year.
Be patient and persistent
Avoid forcing your baby to eat anything they don’t want, and try to offer the same food in different forms (pureed or mashed). Meanwhile, let your baby touch, smell, and taste the food.
Encourage your baby to explore new foods in a fun and relaxed environment. And don’t forget to praise your baby’s efforts and progress.
Printable 100 foods before 1 Checklist(PDF Free Download)
Check out our list of 100 baby-friendly foods, perfect for little ones under 1 year old! To create the checklist of baby-friendly 100 foods before 1, we consulted with pediatricians and checked many reliable nutrition sources.
Foods that might cause allergies or are a choking risk are clearly marked on our table. These foods are safe when prepared correctly, but always keep an eye out for any allergic reactions. And, it’s always best to chat with your pediatrician before introducing new foods, especially potential allergens.
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What Foods Should Be Avoided Before Age 1?
Let’s now move to the foods that are not recommended for babies before they reach the age of one year. The main reasons to avoid these foods are the risk of choking, allergy, or digestive issues.
So, here’s what your baby should not eat:
Honey: Honey can contain Clostridium botulinum spores which can cause botulism in infants.
Nuts: Nuts can be a choking hazard for young babies, and they can also trigger allergies.
Popcorn: Popcorn can also cause a choking hazard for young babies.
Hard candy: Hard candy can pose a choking risk for young babies and cause tooth decay.
Salt: Babies’ kidneys are not fully developed and cannot handle too much salt.
Spicy foods: Spicy foods can irritate a young baby’s delicate digestive system.
Should Babies Have Snacks?
Snacks are a fun and tasty way to provide your baby with essential nutrients and promote healthy eating habits. With baby-led weaning, the goal is to provide snacks that are easy for little hands to hold and encourage self-feeding.
Delight your baby’s taste buds with soft fruits like bananas and juicy melons. You can also try with tiny slices of cheesy goodness, tenderly cooked veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes, and mini pieces of whole grain crackers or toast.
Don’t be afraid to mix things up and offer sweet treats in moderation, like yogurt with fruit, pureed fruit pouches, or small pieces of dried fruit. The key is to keep mealtime positive and fun and allow your baby to explore and experiment with different textures and flavors.
Is a Vegetarian/Vegan Diet Appropriate for Babies Under 1 Year?
It’s important to note that a vegetarian and vegan diet for babies under 1 year old can be inadequate in providing necessary nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, and zinc, which are commonly found in animal products(1).
Therefore, it’s advisable to consult a pediatrician before introducing such diet for a baby under one year old to ensure proper nutrition and avoid potential health problems. In some cases, the pediatrician may recommend supplementing the baby’s diet with specific vitamins and minerals to compensate for the absence of certain nutrients.
Why It’s Okay for My Baby to Wait on Solids?
It can be frustrating for some parents to see their friends’ babies starting solid foods earlier than their own. However, it’s important to remember that every baby develops at their own pace. Just because one baby may be ready for solid foods earlier, doesn’t mean that your baby is behind. In fact, it’s actually beneficial for some babies to wait a little longer before starting solids. This allows their digestive system to mature and can reduce the risk of food allergies.
If your baby isn’t ready for solid foods, it’s okay to continue exclusively breastfeeding or formula feeding until they show signs of being ready.
In case you’re still unsure about your baby’s readiness for solid foods, it’s always best to consult with your pediatrician. They can provide guidance and support and help ensure that your baby is receiving the proper nutrition and support for their growth and development.
7 BLW Safety Tips
Ensuring the safety of your baby during mealtime is a top priority. When starting solid foods, the fear of choking can certainly be a source of stress. But, trust me – with proper precautions, BLW is even safer than spoon-feeding purees.
Here are some BLW Safety Tips to follow for a worry-free mealtime:
Upright seating: Your baby should be seated comfortably in a high chair with a supportive backrest and footplate. This upright position will make it easier for them to swallow their food.
Chewing and swallowing: Teach your baby to properly chew their food and swallow it before taking another bite.
Easy-to-grab food: Offer larger pieces for the baby to grip and hold. Reduce size as motor skills improve.
Hard snacks: Avoid giving your child hard or crunchy snacks like nuts, which can easily get stuck in the throat if not chewed properly.
Distractions: Turn off TVs and gadgets and keep an eye on your baby while they eat. This will allow you to monitor their progress and ensure they swallow their food safely.
Safe removal: Teach the baby to spit out food instead of removing it with fingers.
Distinguish gagging and choking: Gagging is normal while choking is silent and can turn skin blue. Perform back blows and CPR if necessary.
How to Handle Mealtime Mess With Baby-Led Weaning?
Mealtime with a new eater can be messy, especially with the self-feeding approach of baby-led weaning. But don’t let the mess deter you from this fun and beneficial way of feeding your baby. Here are a few tips to help you handle mealtime mess:
Cover your surfaces: Use a plastic tablecloth or a large sheet of paper to protect your table or highchair from spills and stains.
Dress for the occasion: Put your baby in a bib or an apron to catch any food that misses their mouth.
Get low: Sit on the floor or at a low table to minimize the distance the food has to travel and reduce the risk of splatters.
Embrace the mess: Don’t stress about the mess, it’s all part of the learning process for your baby. Just relax and enjoy the moment.
Clean up: Keep a cloth or baby wipes handy to clean up any spills or stains.
By following these tips, you can handle mealtime mess with ease and help your baby develop their independence and self-feeding skills.
Where Can I Find Resources and Support for Introducing Solid Foods?
- Baby’s First Food: How To Introduce Solids
- When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods | Nutrition – CDC
- Mayo Clinic Guide to Introducing Solid Foods
- HealthyChildren.org Guide to Starting Solid Foods
And that’s it, dear parents! My 100 Foods Before 1 list takes the guesswork out, providing nutritious and tasty options for a well-rounded diet.
So take that little hand, a bib, and a sense of adventure – it’s time to dive into the world of solid foods!
Thank you for reading!