One benefit of drawing from the baby led weaning method and offering your baby handheld foods (once they’re developmentally ready!) is that you don’t need to prepare two separate meals!
With some slight modifications, your baby can eat the same meal as the rest of the family!
Not only is this easier on you, as a parent, this means you also get the opportunity to model healthy eating habits to your baby.
One of the main ways babies learn is by watching others and then imitating them! As the saying goes, monkey see, monkey do…or something like that!
From day one, you’ve been your baby’s number one hero, so take advantage of that, and role model at mealtime, too! All caregivers can be involved…hey papa!
Here’s how you can make your recipes baby led weaning friendly!
1. Skip the salt
Your baby’s kidneys are still developing and aren’t ready yet to manage a high sodium load (salt is composed of two minerals: sodium and chloride). Whenever a recipe calls for salt, skip it! Then add the salt shaker to the table for the older members of the family to sprinkle on their plates.
Other ingredients that contain sodium include:
-Broth (look for sodium free)
-Canned veggies and beans (lots of sodium free options available now)
-More highly processed food such as mixes for rice, pasta, etc
2. Skip the added sweeteners, especially honey
You want to make every bite your baby takes as densely-nutritious as possible. Table sugar and other sources of sugar, even minimally processed ones such as maple or agave syrup can take the place of nutrients your baby needs for growth and development such as high iron foods and sources of fat. Honey is a strict no-no as it contains the small risk of containing botulinum spores, which a baby’s gut can’t manage. Infant botulism can be fatal so why take the risk?
Ingredients to watch out for that do or may contain sugar:
-Condiments (BBQ sauce, ketchup, hoisin sauce)
3. Tone down the heat
We whole heartedly promote including herbs and spices in the recipes you make for baby! In fact, why not watch Nita teach you about it in Bhangra dance form? BUT we caution you against adding heat-type spicy ingredients because this could be painful for baby, especially if they start rubbing their little eyes!! You don’t want baby to associate solids foods with pain!
Another great read: 5 Indian Foods You can Serve your Baby
4. Set aside ingredients for baby
If it’s not possible to keep out the salt or sugar in a recipe or if the texture/size of food isn’t safe, you can set aside some of the ingredients while your prepping the dish to offer to baby. If you’re making a spicy chili, set aside some beans, ground beef, corn, etc!
5. Make recipes designed for baby that the whole family will love
If you haven’t yet gotten your hands on our e-book, Whole Food Recipes for Your Baby, what are you waiting for? We had lofty goals for this recipe book: we wanted to create recipes specifically designed to meet baby’s nutritional needs with age appropriate size, shape, and texture WHILE also making them appealing for the whole family to enjoy. Well, we think we hit our goal because not only do our whole families love these recipes, the reviews tell us that your families do too!
6. Choose baby friendly ingredients
In addition to choosing low salt/no added sugar ingredients, there are other ways you can strategically make your everyday foods suitable for baby:
- If you’re making pasta, choose a shape that works with the motor skills your baby has developed or is working on developing!
- Recipe includes yogurt? Choose a plain yogurt that’s high in fat!
- Shop for a bread that’s suitable for baby. You can read all about bread for babies here!
Baby Led Weaning Recipe Ideas
Here are several examples of how you can adapt a meal made for the whole family for baby! Click on the link for instructions for each meal.