Top Baby-Led Weaning Foods and Our Favorite Baby Food Makers

Baby-led weaning has become a popular method of feeding little ones their first foods.
Baby-led weaning has become a popular method of feeding little ones their first foods.
3/21/24 - By Vanessa Leigh

Curious about baby-led weaning? Read on to learn more about this baby-feeding method, including the best baby-led weaning foods and some top baby food makers.

It's about that time in your baby's life. You've dreamed about it. You've worried about it. You've Googled all about it. It's time for SOLIDS!

But now the real questions begin. What are the best first baby foods? Is it better to feed your baby solids, purees, or a mixture? And what on Earth is baby-led weaning?

We are here to answer all your questions about baby-led weaning, baby food, and baby food makers. Our Baby and Maternity Guide dives even deeper into all things baby-related, from the 100 top unique baby names to developmental milestones for baby's first year.


What Is Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)?

Baby-led weaning has become more and more of a household name when introducing babies to their very first foods. BLW is a beginning baby-feeding style that is based on the concept of a baby feeding himself or herself right from the start. Instead of being fed by a caregiver and/or a spoon, the baby "leads" the way to begin eating solid food. The baby-led weaning technique allows a baby to work towards using their pincer grip to grab and smush their first foods with their fingers.

Top 10 Baby-Led Weaning Foods

As you begin to prepare your baby-led weaning foods, a good rule of thumb for the size of each is to measure it next to your (adult) index finger. You'll want each slice or piece to be about 3.5 to 4 inches long. That way, the "bite" of food will be too big for a baby to put in their mouth all at once. And it's a great size for a baby to start practicing picking up their food.

Here are the top 10 baby-led weaning foods:

1. Avocados

2. Bananas

3. Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4. Mango Slices

5. Hard-boiled Eggs

6. Steamed Broccoli Heads

7. Melon Slices

8. Whole Strawberries

9. Toast Slices with Banana or Avocado Mash

10. Cooked Beef

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Baby-led weaning
Be sure to supervise babies closely during meal times!

Is Choking a Risk with Baby-Led Weaning?

Of course, choking is always a worry for a parent, no matter how old your child is. But when feeding a baby in the baby-led weaning style, you're more likely to see and hear your child gag.

This is different than choking. The signs of choking (obstruction of the airway) would be silence, the inability to cry, or the inability to breathe. Gagging most often involves crying or coughing, and is your baby's way of learning how to process and swallow solid food.

Foods to Avoid with Baby-Led Weaning

There are certainly some baby-led weaning foods to avoid. Do not feed your baby any food that is hard or a real choking hazard, such as raw carrots and other hard fruits and veggies, nuts, or popcorn. Since most babies begin eating solids before they're 1, you'll still want to avoid honey because of the risk of botulism. Cow's milk is also not well tolerated by a baby under the age of 1.

For all other specific food recommendations and foods to avoid, check in with your pediatrician.

Supplementing with Spoon-Fed Foods

If you're new to baby-led weaning or thinking about the best feeding method for you and your baby, supplementing with homemade pureed foods might be worth a try. Begin with pureed fruits and vegetables. You can even make your own baby oatmeal. Some great ideas for your little one's first pureed baby food are:

  • Apples
  • Peas
  • Pears
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Carrots

Once you've tried single foods, you can then begin to introduce puree mixtures into your baby's diet. For example, if your baby has tried apples and carrots individually, you could then make an apple-carrot puree for another meal option. Other spoon-fed options include:

  • Plain yogurt (In this case, cow's milk yogurt is ok.)
  • Oatmeal
  • Avocado (This can be mashed or pureed so finely that you may prefer to try it on a spoon.)

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NutriBullet NBY-50100 Baby Complete Food-Making System
The NutriBullet NBY-50100 comes with everything you need to make delicious purees for your baby. Photo courtesy of the NutriBullet Store on Amazon

Our Favorite Baby Food Makers

1. NutriBullet NBY-50100 Baby Complete Food-Making System

NutriBullet is a trusty brand when it comes to kitchen appliances. NutriBullet blenders are often found on wedding registries. This baby food maker would be an excellent addition to your baby registry. It comes with an easy-to-use blender and storage cups as well as a freezer tray with a lid.

2. BEAR 2024 Baby Food Maker

A baby food maker with a "self-clean" option? Yes, please! This machine has a touch screen that allows you to process the food, steam, blend, and even clean it after use just by adding clean water.

3. Hamilton Beach Portable Blender

This is the perfect option if you're on a budget. The price (depending on the color you choose) is just under $20. Plus, this portable blender can serve many purposes. You can use it to make smoothies, shakes. and, yes: baby food. When making homemade baby purees, just follow the recipe and press the one and only button on the machine. Voila—baby food done!

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EVLA Baby Food Maker
The EVLA Baby Food Maker makes healthy food in minutes. Photo courtesy of the EVLA Store on Amazon

4. EVLA's Baby Food Maker

If you're looking for a more high-tech baby food maker, this one also has a touch screen to control the food-making process. The EVLA baby food maker is an all-in-one steamer, blender, and food processor. The box also includes six reusable food pouches for your on-the-go baby food needs.

5. HEYVALUE 13-in-1 Baby Food Maker

This baby food maker is probably the best bang for your buck. Coming in at just around $40, it comes with 13 parts, including the baby food maker itself, six baby food containers, two silicone feeding spoons, a freezer tray, and a spatula. You'll also receive some baby food recipes to help you on your feeding journey.

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