150 First Foods For Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)

Thinking about using baby-led weaning to introduce solids to your little one? Here are 150 first foods for baby-led weaning (BLW), including salt-free flavoring options, to make starting solids a little easier.

Traditionally, spoon-feeding purees has been the preferred method of introducing solids to babies. These days an alternative approach called baby-led weaning (BLW) is catching on, with many parents opting to feed their kids soft, handheld foods from day 1 of starting solids. And there’s a growing body of evidence to support BLW too. Introducing lumpy foods at 6 months appears to improve food acceptance and reduce feeding problems later in childhood [1].

Before we get to first food ideas for BLW, let’s make sure your little one is ready to start eating.

Signs of readiness to start solids

Most kids are ready to start solids between 4-6 months of age, however, kids with medical conditions or born prematurely may need a little longer before they taste their first foods. Readiness to start solids is based on developmental milestones and your little one should have accomplished the following before you start offering them food:

  • Able to hold up their head and sit in a high chair
  • Open their mouth when food comes their way
  • Move food from spoon to throat
  • Weigh least 2x their birthweight
  • No longer exhibit the tongue thrust reflex (automatically pushing food out with tongue)

Note that starting soft solids before 4 months is not recommended because it may predispose your bub to overweight/ obesity later in life [2].

Baby-led weaning (BLW) first foods: Size matters

At 4-6 months most babies haven’t mastered the pincer grasp and don’t have the dexterity to pick up small pieces of food. Instead, new eaters need soft solids appropriate for the palmer grasp. This means serving larger, thicker pieces of (soft) food in the shape of a log.

Baby-led weaning grasps: Image of palmar grasp s alongside image of pincer grasp

150 first food ideas for baby-led weaning (BLW)

Before you dish-up your baby’s first foods, there are a couple of things you should know:

  1. Foods for your baby should be free of added salt: Little kidneys can’t handle much sodium so added salt is off the menu until age 1.
  2. Avoid added sugar: Providing foods with added sugar can shape your child’s preferences for sweet foods and crowd out more nutrient-dense food choices.
  3. Extra soft foods are key: Babies take time to learn to eat. Foods such as whole grapes, nuts, and raw carrots are choking risks and shouldn’t be introduced until later in childhood.
  4. Wait until your baby turns 1 to introduce cow’s milk or soy milk: Your child’s digestive tract simply can’t handle liquid milk (other than breastmilk/ formula) for the first year of life. That said, yogurt and lower-sodium cheeses such as mozzarella are generally well-tolerated and can be introduced earlier.
  5. Serving a diverse range of foods is important: These early days of eating are critical for training your baby’s palate to accept a range of foods, flavors, and textures. Offering a diversity of foods also helps your baby get a variety of nutrients to support early growth and development.
Baby hands reading for baby led weaning foods such as a banana, cucumber sticks and pasta.

Now, onto the fun stuff: food. Here are 150 baby-led weaning foods and flavors to offer your little one. Anything denoted with a * is an iron-rich food.


  • Cooked spinach, collards, Swiss chard
  • Cooked asparagus
  • Soft-cooked broccoli florets
  • Cooked green beans
  • Cucumber spears
  • Zucchini batons
  • Cooked shredded purple cabbage
  • Soft-cooked beet wedges or puree
  • Soft tomato wedges
  • Soft-cooked carrots
  • Cooked orange bell peppers slices
  • Soft-cooked cauliflower florets
  • Mushrooms quartered or halved
  • Soft-cooked Brussels sprout quarters
  • Soft-cooked snap peas
  • Cooked bok choy
  • Cooked okra cut in half
  • Jicama spears
  • Cooked eggplant batons
  • Cooked fennel
  • Cooked white onion
  • Cooked red onion
  • Cooked shredded cabbage
  • Cooked summer squash batons
  • Soft-cooked celery pieces
  • Soft-cooked golden beet wedges
  • Cooked red bell pepper slices
  • Cooked spaghetti squash
Broccoli florets scattered on a black baking sheet


  • Honeydew melon wedges
  • Kiwi quarters
  • Soft-cooked or ripe pear slices
  • Soft-cooked apple slices
  • Smashed, pitted cherries
  • Smashed raspberries
  • Strawberry halves
  • Watermelon batons
  • Grapefruit slices
  • Soft peach slices
  • Soft nectarines slices
  • Smashed grapes
  • Smashed blackberries
  • Smashed blueberries
  • Soft plum slices
  • Dragonfruit slices
  • Orange slices
  • Mandarin segments
  • Cantaloupe slices
  • Soft apricot slices
  • Papaya slices
  • Soft mango slices
  • Soft persimmon slices
  • Ripe pineapple spears
  • Banana spears
  • Guava wedges
  • Starfruit batons
Whole strawberries and strawberry halves scatted on a marble surface, with a knife and blue plate in the background.


  • Cooked brown rice
  • Cooked wild rice
  • Toasted whole wheat bread
  • Cooked quinoa
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Cooked farro
  • Cooked bulgur
  • White potato spears
  • Sweet potato spears
  • Winter squash wedges
  • Smashed/ pureed corn
  • Polenta
  • Pumpkin wedges
  • Smashed peas
  • Turnip batons
  • Plantain spears
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Cooked buckwheat
  • Infant cereal*
  • Cooked barley
  • Cooked couscous
Raw sweet potato and white potato wedges on a baking sheet


  • Shredded chicken*
  • Ground turkey*
  • Cooked tofu batons*
  • Cooked tempeh batons*
  • Shredded beef*
  • Shredded lamb*
  • Pulled pork*
  • Ground bison*
  • Deboned salmon pieces
  • Deboned whiting pieces
  • Deboned tilapia pieces
  • Deboned flounder pieces
  • Deboned haddock pieces
  • Mashed or minced shrimp
  • Mashed lentils*
  • Smashed or whipped white beans*
  • Smashed or whipped black beans*
  • Smashed or whipped pinto beans*
  • Smashed or whipped chickpea*
  • Smashed or whipped kidney beans
  • Nut/ seed butter
  • Tahini*
  • Soft scrambled egg or slices of omelet
Hummus topped with parsley with a blue kitchen towel in the background


  • Whole milk plain yogurt
  • Whole milk kefir
  • Full-fat soy yogurt
  • Ricotta
  • Mozzarella
  • Whole milk cottage cheese


These fats are great additions to infant meals. Besides adding calories to support infant growth, they also provide texture and flavor.

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado slices or smashed on toast
  • Coconut milk (hold off offering as a drink until age 1)
  • Chia seeds mixed with coconut milk or whole milk yogurt
  • Butter/ ghee
Avocado toast with feta and sesame seeds on a wooden background


Note that herbs and spices should not be offered alone because these can be a choking hazard. Instead, use herbs and spices to flavor soft solids and improve grip. For example, sprinkle cinnamon on soft-cooked apples, or add cumin to soft-cooked wedges of sweet potato.

  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Ginger
  • Paprika
  • Cardamom
  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic powder
  • Coriander
  • Onion powder
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Marjoram
  • Tarragon
  • Mint

Non-slip coatings

Slippery foods such as avocado and mango can be difficult for babies to pick up. Try coating slippery foods in one of these options to improve grip:

  • Ground flaxseed
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Infant cereal*
  • Shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • Wheat germ*
  • Hemp seeds*
  • Chickpea flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Almond flour
Unsweetened shredded coconut in a heart-shaped cup with shredded coconut in the backhround

Key takeaways

  • Most kids are ready to start solids between 4-6 months of age, however, kids with medical conditions or born prematurely may need a little longer before they taste their first foods
  • Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an alternative approach to starting solids where babies are offer soft hand-held foods from the get-go to promote self-feeding skills.
  • Foods for baby should be free of added salt and sugar until age 1.
  • First baby-led weaning foods should be extra soft, and roughly two fingers wide to accommodate the palmar grasp and enable self-feeding.

Ready to start baby-led weaning? Get the complete guide to baby-led weaning including 60+ pages of handouts, printables, recipe ideas, and more HERE.


[1] Northstone K, Emmett P, Nethersole F; ALSPAC Study Team. Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood. The effect of age of introduction to lumpy solids on foods eaten and reported feeding difficulties at 6 and 15 months. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Feb;14(1):43-54. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-277x.2001.00264.x. PMID: 11301932.

[2] Wang, J., Wu, Y., Xiong, G., Chao, T., Jin, Q., Liu, R., Hao, L., Wei, S., Yang, N., & Yang, X. (2016). Introduction of complementary feeding before 4months of age increases the risk of childhood overweight or obesity: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.)36(8), 759–770. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2016.03.003

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