Making Sense of Food Stages for Baby Led Weaning

We're breaking down the stages for you.

July 14, 2022

Baby led weaning bib by Bibbrella

One of baby led weaning’s (BLW) most common recommendations is to avoid purees and encourage independent eating ASAP. But how do parents practice BLW when the first stage of baby food is purees? Starting baby led weaning can be confusing when there seems to be conflicting information about when to start and what to eat in the early stages.   

What Are the Baby Food Stages?

Traditionally, baby food stages are broken into three major steps. They move from: 

Stage 1: Purees (4-6 months)
Stage 2: Thicker consistency purees (6-9 months)
Stage 3: Soft and mushy but chewable foods (10-12 months)

Some parents choose to start baby led weaning as a fourth stage, though babies can technically begin as soon as they’re able to sit upright without any support and are able to grab things on their own. Pro tip: Use a full-coverage bib to keep messes contained, no matter what age you start you BLW! 

When Is It Safe to Start Baby Led Weaning? 

Baby led weaning should only be started once a child can sit upright without any help, show interest in food, and grab food independently. This helps prevent choking and indigestion as well as encourage a positive relationship with the feeding process. For some kids, this will happen at roughly 6 months, while others may be able to do all three things slightly earlier or later. (For more details on when and how to start, check out our post here!)

What Do Babies Eat During the First Stage of Baby Led Weaning? 

So, what should your little one eat during the first stage of baby led weaning? Keeping in mind that very young babies don’t yet have all their teeth and have just recently developed their ability to digest solids, you’ll still want to stick to soft foods even if you go straight to solids. Try foods such as:

- Avocado spears with salsa as dip
- Ripe mango and banana fruit salad
- (Cooled) scrambled eggs and hash browns

Though BLW typically starts as soon as six months of age, when you start really depends on when you feel comfortable and when your baby is at the appropriate developmental stage. If you would rather start with more puree-like foods, try wholesome sauces with mushy foods first! Salsa, ragu, and guacamole are all great ways to get started on “real” foods while sticking to the traditional Stage 1 purees. Just be sure to grab a full-coverage bib to keep messes contained. Bibbrella’s full-length bibs keep the mess off your babe and on the bib for a less stressful eating experience! 

Grab a Baby Led Weaning Bib!

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