How To Introduce Fruits To Your Baby Using Baby-Led Weaning
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In my experience, the biggest hurdle moms face when trying to introduce solid foods to their babies is how to do it. But I’ve got some great tips and tricks to get you started.
Fruits and vegetables are great first foods for your baby. They’re full of vitamins and key nutrients, they’re soft and easy to chew, and they tend to be easy on your baby’s tummy (which is still developing).
Today I’m breaking down what are the best fruits to start with – plus some tips to get you started with your baby’s BLW journey.
When Can I Start Baby-Led Weaning With My Baby?
Your baby will be ready to start baby-led weaning (or the introduction of solid foods) when they’re meeting the 6 developmental signs of readiness. The 6 developmental signs of readiness for solid foods include:
- Holds head up on their own
- Sits up on their own or with little support
- Reaches out and grabs objects when placed in front of them
- Can guide food to their mouth after picking it up
- Opens mouth when offered a spoon
- Shows interest in the food you’re eating
When your baby meets ALL these developmental signs (usually 4-6 months of age) then they are ready to start learning how to eat solid foods!
Related: When Do You Start Feeding Baby Food to Your Baby?
4 Quick Tips To Get Started With Baby-Lead Weaning
Getting started with baby-led weaning (or self-feeding) can be overwhelming, especially for first-time moms. BLW is much different than the more traditional spoon-fed (or pureed foods) method of solid food introduction.
So here are some quick tips that should help you get started:
#1: Keep your baby’s milk feeds the SAME!
You will notice with BLW your baby isn’t likely going to be ingesting much food at the beginning. This is okay because the majority of your baby’s nutrition is still going to come from breast milk and/or infant formula.
The main focus when starting solid foods using the self-feeding method is to allow your baby to explore and experiment with their food. We aren’t super focused on getting them to actually eat a certain amount.
So ensure to keep their normal milk feeding schedule.
#2: Chose one meal a day to offer your baby food
When starting out with solid foods your baby only needs one solid food meal per day. Chose a mealtime when your baby is well rested, isn’t starving (30-60 minutes after a milk feed is great), and that is easiest for you to prepare their food as well.
I really like dinner time because it’s often the only meal when we are all home to sit down to enjoy a meal with the rest of the family.
Family mealtime is extremely important for your child’s growth and social development. It also helps to build a healthy relationship with food.
Related: How to Start Introducing Solids to Your Baby
#3: Plan for your baby’s meal around the food you are already making
One of the great things about BLW is you can offer your baby the healthy foods you are already making. Of course, you may need to make some adjustments to your baby’s portion of food – like the seasoning (we want to avoid salt) or the way you may cut the food and serve it to your baby.
But how easy is it to just offer what you’re already making?
For example, if you’re making chicken breast with mashed potatoes and carrots you could offer your baby any of the 3 choices:
- A thick slice of chicken breast
- Steamed carrot cut lengthwise
- Mashed potatoes
You don’t have to make a separate meal for your baby, your own baby food, nor do you have to spend extra money at the grocery store on store-bought baby food.
#4: Bigger is better!
When offering your baby finger foods for the first time the bigger the piece the better! This allows them to have plenty of room to grip the food, explore, and put it in their mouth. They’re also less likely to choke on something that can’t fit in their mouth!
Don’t start offering your baby small pieces of food until around 8-9 months of age when they develop their pincer grasp and show signs of chewing.
Still unsure or nervous about starting your baby on solid foods? Check out my Navigating Solid Food Guide to help you gain the confidence you need to help your baby tackle solid foods like a pro!
7 Best Fruits To Feed Your 6-Month-Old Baby
Fruits are a great first food to offer your baby because they are packed with so many essential nutrients that are beneficial for your baby’s growth and development. Here are 7 fruits that I recommend you can start with:
Apples are a great option for your baby’s first food. Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and antioxidants. Don’t stress about the variety of apples to choose. They are all packed with beneficial nutrients to support your growing baby, immune system, and a thriving gut microbiome.
Word of caution >> raw apples and dried apple chips are considered a choking hazard. Here is how you can prepare apples for your 6-month-old to minimize the risk of choking:
- Peel the apples, cut them in half, and remove the stem + seeds.
- Cook apples in boiling water until they are fork-tender.
- You can serve this cooked apple half to your baby.
You can also blend the cooked apple in a food processor and serve it to your baby on a loaded spoon. Remember spices and herbs (except salt) are okay to add a small amount to your baby’s food – so throw a dash of cinnamon in there for added flavor.
Nectarines are a great source of fiber to help support your baby’s gut and microbiome development. They are also high in vitamins A, C, and E. The skin of the nectarine is rich in antioxidants – an important nutrient!
When choosing nectarines to feed your baby make sure they are ripe and the flesh is soft enough to mash between two of your fingers. Here are 4 simple steps to serving nectarines to your baby:
- Wash the nectarine
- Remove the pit
- Cut the nectarine in half
- Serve the nectarine half to your baby
I find leaving the skin on helps your baby grip the nectarine. Your baby doesn’t usually have teeth or the jaw strength to bite through the skin just yet, so they will usually gnaw at the fruit. Therefore, eating the flesh from the skin.
If it makes you uncomfortable to leave the skin on you can remove and roll the slippery nectarine in infant rice cereal or ground oats to help your baby grip onto it.
Peaches are also a great source of fiber to help support healthy digestive function. Just like nectarines, they are also high in vitamins A, C, and E. You can find peach skin packed with antioxidants as well.
When choosing peaches to feed your baby make sure they are soft enough to mash between two of your fingers – really ripe! Then follow these steps to get the peach ready for your baby:
- Wash the peach
- Remove the pit
- Cut the peach in half
- Serve the peach half to your baby
You can leave the skin on – it will actually help your baby to grip onto the peach because they can be really slippery. Your baby will likely gnaw on the peach removing the flesh from the skin.
If it makes you uncomfortable to leave the skin on then you can remove it. I would suggest rolling the skinned peach in infant rice cereal or ground oats to help your baby grip it!
Pears are super rich in vitamins and minerals like – vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, and antioxidants. Pear skin is really high in fiber to aid in a healthy digestive system.
Here is how you can serve up a pear for your baby:
- Peel pear
- Remove the core
- Cut pear in half
- Cook until fork-tender
- Serve the cooked pear half to your baby
If your pear is suuuuper ripe – soft enough to mash between your fingers – then you can slice it and offer that to your baby. Just beware that pear can be a choking hazard if it’ is’s not soft enough for your baby to gum.
Plums are commonly known as a laxative to help get your digestive system flowing. Keep this in mind! Don’t overdue it because it can cause gas, bloating in diarrhea in excess. But they are also rich in vitamins A, C, and K – as well as potassium.
When serving plums to your baby here is the safest way to prepare them:
- Stew plums
- Cut plum in half
- Remove the pit and skin
- Serve stew plum half to your baby
You can serve raw plum to your baby just ensure that the fruit is ripe enough to smash between two of your fingers. Also serve the ripe fruit cut in half, rather than in chunks.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats. Fat is SO important for your growing baby’s growth and brain development. Avocados are also rich in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and zinc.
Here is how you can serve up this popular first fruit for baby – avocado:
- Choose a ripe avocado – the flesh should easily smash between two of your fingers
- Remove the skin and pit
- Cut avocado in half or into large spears
- Roll the avocado half or spears in infant rice cereal or ground oats to help your baby grip onto it – it’s quite slippery!
You can also mash the avocado up and mix it with other energy-dense foods like – quinoa, chopped pasta, or brown rice. Don’t forget to add different spices or herbs (except salt) to introduce new tastes and smells to your baby!
Banana is probably one of the best first foods for your baby! Bananas are an energy-dense food that provides carbs to help fuel your baby. They are also high in nutrients like – folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium.
There are a ton of ways that you can offer bananas to your baby – just ensure that they’re ripe enough to smash between your fingers. Here are 4 different ways you can serve them:
- Peel a whole banana and cut it in half – offer the half
- Serve spears by peeling the banana, then stick your finger through the center of the banana – it naturally splits into 3 spears >> check out this video to see how
- Mash the banana and serve on a loaded spoon
- Mash the banana and add it to other nutrient-dense foods you serve to baby – like oatmeal, pancake fingers, etc.
Remember that bananas can cause constipation. So keep this in mind and don’t go overboard on the banana intake!
These aren’t the only foods you can start with. For a complete list of almost 100 first foods for your baby check out my Navigating Solid Foods Baby Feeding Guide.
Can My Baby Drink Fruit Juice?
Fruit juice should NOT be offered to your baby until they are 12 months of age.
The only beverages that should be included in your baby’s diet from 6-12 months of age are:
- Infant formula
- A little water at mealtime (no more than 2 ounces)
Fruit juice often contains added sugars. Added sugars should be avoided until at least 2 years of age. Fruit juice is not essential for your baby or toddler’s diet.
Should I Feed My Baby Veggies Before Fruits?
It doesn’t matter if you feed your baby veggies before fruit – or vice versa.
A lot of mamas think that if they serve their babies fruit before veggies they will have a preference for the sweet taste of fruit and reject any veggies. This is a popular belief that has no scientific explanation.
My thoughts >> breastmilk is by far one of the sweetest “foods” there is. Your baby is also born with a taste preference for sweet foods – since breastmilk (or formula) is their main source of nutrition at birth.
Your baby has only been drinking sweet breast milk or formula this far, so fruit isn’t going to matter. Serve your baby fruits or veggies first. It doesn’t matter!
Related: How To Introduce Vegetables to Your Baby Using BLW
What About Food Allergies?
Fruits are NOT among the top 9 food allergens.
The top 9 allergens include – milk, egg, wheat, shellfish, fish, peanuts (and peanut butter), tree nuts, soy, and sesame.
Some fruits like melons or citrus fruits can cause some skin irritation. So it’s best to wash your baby’s hands and mouth after mealtime.
Most fruits – if a lot is eaten – can also cause a diaper rash. If you find a certain fruit irritates your baby’s bum, offer this fruit in small amounts periodically. Make sure you are changing your baby’s diaper frequently to avoid diaper rash, as well.
Research shows that the top 9 allergenic foods should be offered to your baby starting at 6 months of age to decrease the risk of developing an allergy.
Common allergens should be introduced in small amounts increasing in an amount over time. They should also be offered at least 1-2x per week.
When monitoring for an allergic reaction keep a look out for these symptoms:
- swelling/ redness of the eyes
- rash around the mouth
- rash on the chest or groin area
- swelling of the tongue
If your baby is at high risk for a food allergy (eczema or immediate family history of a food allergy) then you should speak with your pediatrician before introducing any solid foods.
Pro Tip: Keep your baby naked (in just a diaper) for a little bit after a top 9 allergen introduction to ensure they don’t break out in a rash on their chest or groin area.
In A Nutshell
I hope that you’ll be able to use my advice to help you introduce your baby to new tastes and textures, resulting in a fulfilling weaning experience for both of you.
Offering your baby a variety of foods is the most important key to a successful solid foods journey. Some great fruits to start with include – banana, avocado, nectarine, peach, pear, apple, and plum.
Is your baby starting to throw food yet? Check out my free video training on the 3 reasons your baby is throwing food + how to stop it!
Here’s to raising tiny foodies!
Disclaimer: This blog post is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical or healthcare advice. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose, treat, heal, cure or prevent any illness or medical condition. Kayece Flood is providing services only in the capacity as a nutritionist, not as a licensed medical or healthcare professional. Working with Raising Tiny Foodies is not a guarantee of any results. Raising Tiny Foodies owns all copyrights to the materials presented here unless otherwise noted.