We hear from so many parents who want to know how to cut food safely for baby-led weaning.
Baby-led weaning is a safe method, as long as parents know how to prepare foods appropriately for their baby's stage of development.
We've put together this guide for parents who are curious about baby-led method, but are equally worried about their baby's safety (which is totally normal!).
By following these simple steps when cooking and cutting your baby's food, you'll be mastering baby-led weaning in no time!
Safety note: Baby-led weaning is not suitable for babies before 6 months, as there is an increased risk of choking. So if you've been advised to start weaning earlier than 6 months, then it's best to start on smooth purees before moving onto finger foods.
Also, always stay close and supervise your baby when eating at all times.
How to cut food for babies around 6 months old
The goal initially is to make sure your baby is able to easily pick up and grasp the food in front of them. Most babies just starting solids won't have developed their pincer grip (when you pinch food between your thumb and forefinger) yet, and will struggle to pick up small pieces of food.
So it's important to give your baby foods that they can pick up with their whole palm (called the palmar grasp). It's best for food to be cut into long, thin strips, so your baby can still access the food while it's in their palm. About the size of 1-2 adult fingers is ideal, as your baby can grasp the food in their hands while moving it towards their mouth.
Great foods that are easy for babies at this stage to pick up and eat are steamed carrot sticks (never raw!), avocado slices, steamed sweet potato slices, steamed broccoli florets, mango strips and bananas chopped in half. Grated foods such as carrot, apple and cheese are also good options and offer a different kind of texture for your baby to explore.
Foods offered at this stage should be soft enough that you can smash them with gentle pressure between your thumb and forefinger, so hard, raw fruits and veg like carrots and apples are a no-no!
You should also avoid choking hazards, such as whole grapes, cherries, cherry tomatoes and whole nuts (try peanut butter instead!).
How to cut food for babies around 8-10 months old
As babies get a little older and develop their pincer grip, you can start experimenting with cutting foods into smaller pieces. Every baby develops at their own rate, and you'll learn by observing your baby what they can handle. It could be that they need larger chunks, or they may have no problem picking up peas off their plate!
Great foods to introduce at this stage are halved grapes, cooked and squished peas, smashed blueberries andsteamed carrot rounds. You can also introduce cooked penne or fusilli pasta and chopped hard boiled eggs.
Food should still be soft and easily smashed, and it's usually best to steam or boil vegetables as opposed to roasting them.
At this stage you can also start offering a spoon, and encouraging your baby to use it to feed themselves.
Help! My baby is hardly eating!
Every baby is different and some will eat far more than others - it's totally normal.
Remember that at this stage, learning to eat is about discovery and awakening the senses, so try not to worry about filling your little one's tummy. Up until 12 months, milk should be their main source of nutrition anyway, so try not to worry about the quantity of food their eating and focus on variety and exposure to a range of flavours and textures.
Mamamade support all parents in choosing whatever weaning method works best for them. This guide has been put together to help parents who wish to follow the baby-led weaning method understand how to do so safely. We are not suggesting baby-led weaning is better than traditional weaning, or vice-versa!
We offer a 35 different flavours, including finger foods, breakfast bowls, purees and plant-based mixes. Try your first box of organic baby food today.