When we first started baby led weaning, I have to confess I spent hours on the Internet researching baby led weaning breakfast ideas, easy recipes for baby led weaning etc.
Baby led weaning is a method of weaning a baby where the baby is allowed to eat family foods from the beginning. No purees and soups! That said, being a first-time mom I had a lot of doubts about what exactly to offer baby and how to prepare it for him. It takes a while to get used to cooking appropriate meals that the entire family and baby can enjoy together. Nutrition has to be your biggest focus when planning meals for your family.
If you are just starting out with baby led weaning, read my post, baby led weaning guide for Indian mothers. This post will help you get a background on baby led weaning before you start.
Let’s address some concerns
Breakfast can easily become the most sugar-laden meal of the day. With ready-made packet mixes of idli, upma, instant ready masala oats, cornflakes etc. in the market, it is important to remember anything that comes in a packet has added sugars that act as a preservative not to mention artificial flavoring and coloring agents.
I feel it is important to address this issue of ready meals when we speak about baby led weaning babies being able to eat what family eats. Try and steer clear of offering your little one ready meals or packeted foods on a regular basis (do understand I mean daily basis, not once in a while) under the guise of eating family meals or adult like foods.
This is where I feel baby led weaning proponents need to focus on a clear discussion of what a healthy looking meal for baby looks like. It is best to start the day with a well thought out meal so that baby gets a healthy start.
Dosa and Idli batters can be prepared the night before and when in a hurry simple porridge recipes can be made at home from scratch. If you want to know how I manage to give my child healthy food everyday read my post on this topic.
We stick to easy recipes for breakfast on busy weekday mornings like oats, dalia, pancakes, along with fruits and eggs. On weekends we plan Dosa and Idli as breakfast options since these require prior fermentation.
Depending on your baby’s age you can modify these options; meaning when they are just starting out you can stick to finger sized portions that they can grab in their palms and as they become more skilled at eating you can move to porridge-like consistency foods that can be eaten with a spoon.
We offered our son same food as ours at breakfast sans salt and sugar and with less spice until he was 12 months of age. This can be done by taking out a small portion of baby’s food before adding spices and salt or simultaneously cooking his version along with the family’s breakfast.
At 18 months most of his meals have the same level of spice and salt as the family. You can start increasing spices slowly post 12-months of age, taking cues from your child on how they like it. For salt, our preference has reduced to low salt as a family post-baby.
Baby Led Weaning Breakfast Ideas
The easiest option to offer especially when they are just starting out and still getting nutrition from breastmilk. Fruits can easily be cut into finger-shaped strips making it easier for them to hold and practice eating. Add a dollop of plain yogurt on the side to offer variation from time to time.
Most appropriate options [6-9 month]: Banana, Mango, Muskmelon, Watermelon, Papaya, Oranges, and Sweet lime.
Once the pincer grasp comes in [around 9 months] Blueberries, grapes, raspberries.
Note: Always check that fruit is ripe. Remove any pits and seeds before offering a baby. It is advisable to squish/ vertically cut fruits into half that are tiny ball shaped like blueberries, raspberries, and grapes until the baby develops teeth to chew on them.
In the image below I have shown examples of how round fruits should be cut and offered. And how I offered fruits like the banana to my son when we first started baby led weaning.
An oats porridge or sprouted wheat/ jowar (dalia) porridge is easy to make.
- Oats porridge: Add some fruit blueberries/ mangoes/ plums/ chikoo either when boiling or chopped up over the porridge. To make the oats porridge extra healthy and delicious. I also add a dollop of almond butter or peanut butter and some roasted flaxseed powder. This way you can ensure every bite the baby takes is nutrient dense. Get more ideas of oats porridge for babies here.
- Sprouted wheat porridge (Dalia): I usually roast the sprouted wheat in a pan, then transfer to pot of water and let it cook for about 15-20 mins. It’s cooked when it is a thick consistency and all the water has been absorbed. While serving I add a tsp of ghee (clarified butter) and cardamom powder.
This Maharashtrian dish is a staple in my house. Squeeze lemon and sprinkle some coriander over it to add more flavor. Pohe requires more advanced feeding skills; I started offering him a spoon with his pohe since 10 months. It was amazing how quickly he learned to feed himself with the spoon, albeit the mess!
If you make the upma extra sticky it’s quite easy for baby to pick it up. My son used his pincer grasp to pick up small lumps of upma since 9 months. You can even make oats upma when you want to add something different to baby’s routine. This is one of his favorite breakfasts.
Another Maharashtrian savory pan cake dish made of multiple grains.The dough is prepared from a mixture of flours like roasted Rajgira (Amaranth), wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, ragi, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Onion, fresh coriander and other ground spices like turmeric, garam masala are added when kneading the dough.
My Cheat Version: You can make the thalipeeth flour (rajgira, rice, jowar, bajra etc.) mixture and store in air tight container. On busy mornings all you have to do is make a pancake batter adding the thalipeeth mix, onions, tomatoes, coriander and water to a bowl. Mix and use this to make mini thalipeeth pancakes. Super quick, easy and healthy!
Paratha is a thick Indian bread made with a stuffing of potatoes, vegetables like spinach, carrots or cottage cheese. It’s easy to make a paratha into finger sized strips and offer as finger food to the baby. If your baby is just starting out on baby led weaning or has no teeth, you can increase the content of potato stuffing in the dough. This will ensure soft parathas that are suited to those soft gums.
These are easiest to prepare and kids love them. You can offer scrambled egg yolk or hardboiled egg yolk from 9 months. Once they are 1 year old you can introduce whole egg omelet with veggies and cheese. I usually pair scrambled egg with some fruit like watermelon or grapes on the side.
Whole wheat chapati can be offered in strips at 6-7 month stage and later in small bite size pieces once pincer grasp comes in. At 18 months my toddler now eats chapati rolled up like a wrap. I put some ghee or almond butter on his chapati. Can be served just as with the nut butter or ghee or with stir fried vegetables as finger foods.
You can make a pancake out of many flours like oats flour, wheat flour, and ragi flour. I sometimes mix a few of them or just make a plain oats pancake.
I have given a simple recipe I use below with oats, but you can use other flours of your choice.
You can even add fruits like blueberries, banana or raw cacao nibs to the pancake mix to make it interesting. Serve with a dollop of almond butter. Yum Yum!
Related reading : Ragi pancakes for babies
Idli is a steamed rice cake made from a combination of rice and lentils that have been soaked, ground, and fermented into a smooth dough. This fermented rice cake is easy to digest for the baby.
Add a few vegetables to the batter like peas, carrots, spinach and make it even more nutritious. Serve with coconut chutney or sambar. Though it takes some time to prepare this dish, the kids love Idli. Worth the effort in my books.
Dosa is an Indian pancake made of fermented batter containing, rice and urad dal (lentils). It is accompanied with sambar and coconut chutney. Very easy to offer as a baby led weaning breakfast idea. Add flours like ragi or semolina to increase nutrition for baby and offer variety in taste. Get recipe for ragi dosa for babies here.
MORE BABY LED WEANING IDEAS
I hope these baby led weaning breakfast ideas get you excited and inspired. In fact, the amazing part about baby led weaning is that you can serve baby anything you prepare only modifying for salt and sugar. What is your favorite breakfast as a family? Do leave me a comment below.