Deals

FoodieKid’s Tips for How to Start Baby-Led Weaning

May 20, 2022

Welcoming a new member of the family can have its blissful moments (all-day snuggles and baby smiles come to mind), but it can also be a recipe for overwhelm, especially when you’re a first-time parent. With so many decisions to make and approaches to take on everything from sleeping to diapering, we have a soft spot for brands that help make this stage feel a little bit simpler. That’s why we love FoodieKid, a parent-centered brand that meets you wherever you are on your feeding journey.

The Story Behind FoodieKid

It all started with founder Christine Topalian, a busy working mom who—like all parents—wanted her kids to have a healthy start in life. Her first child snubbed pre-made baby food and her second refused to eat purées, which led to plenty of frustration as Topalian realized how time consuming the process was to make customized meals from scratch. Enter Simple Starters, a line of frozen, organic baby meals providing stage-less choices for your family, no matter where you are in the process. “Seeing how different my children were really solidified my opinion that the ‘staging’ that baby food companies define for parents was arbitrary and wouldn’t necessarily work for every kid,” she recalls. “I could see that what was missing was a flexible product that allowed a parent to determine the texture of the food they would offer their babies.”

foodiekid

FoodieKid is all about making mealtimes flexible. Whether you’re doing purée feeding, opting for baby-led weaning, or doing a combination of both, you can choose thicker purées (fork-mashed and chunky), finger food (meant to be eaten soft, as a whole ingredient) and smooth purées that can be made thicker or thinner as needed. Everything is frozen, prepped, portioned, and ready to eat in minutes.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s definitely not, which might be some of the best news for worn-out parents everywhere. To get the scoop on baby-led weaning and pick up a few expert tips, we spoke with FoodieKid’s nutritionist Nicole Silber to learn more.

What Is Baby-Led Weaning?

Baby-led weaning is a method of introducing solid food that skips over the purée and spoon-feeding stages, relying solely on the baby’s natural instinct to feed themselves. The term was originally coined in 2005 by Gill Rapley, a public health nurse in the United Kingdom. And although FoodieKid doesn’t subscribe to a single method of feeding, they’re happy to offer wisdom to parents choosing to go this route, as it offers a variety of benefits, like letting babies be in full control of their eating, to pace themselves, and choose how much they want to eat. “Babies pick up their food and feed themselves, which allows them to experience food using touch, and also helps to boost hand-mouth coordination and babies’ palm and pincer grasps,” Silber shares. “It’s great to allow them to use all their senses.” Another benefit of baby-led weaning is allowing parents to share their food with their babies, which means you can skip the added step of blending and puréeing ingredients to make “baby food.”


5 Best Baby-Led Weaning Tips

foodiekid

Before getting started, here are a few tried-and-true tips to remember throughout the process.

  1. Embrace the mess. Parents should know up front that adopting baby-led weaning might lead to more of a mess at the table as little ones explore. “Embracing the mess now can go a long way towards having a child who looks forward to mealtime in the long term,” Silber notes. (Incidentally, this is also true if you choose to do traditional purée feeding.)
  2. Incorporate purées. It’s a misconception that you can’t include purées while following a baby-led weaning diet. “It doesn’t have to be one or the other,” Silber says. “There may be foods that lend themselves better to be a purée like applesauce or yogurts, and foods that are better for baby-led weaning like scrambled eggs or bread.”
  3. Rethink “finger foods.” While most people assume the foods offered in baby-led weaning should be cut into bite-sized pieces to prevent choking, most babies do well with larger pieces of food (about the length of an adult pinky finger to accommodate their palm grasp) starting at around six months old. According to Silber, “most babies only develop their pincer grasps a few months into the feeding journey, at which time they learn how to pick up smaller pieces of food, similar to the size you will find [with] most Simple Starters ingredients.”
  4. Remember that gagging is normal. It’s common for parents to confuse choking with gagging. “When babies gag, it’s their way of protecting their airways,” Silber reassures. Their gag reflex is actually farther forward in the mouth when babies begin solids, and moves back as they age. “While it doesn’t look pleasant to see, there’s nothing wrong with starting with traditional purées and progressing to table foods as babies show they’re ready.”
  5. Invite everyone to the table. Baby-led weaning is a wonderful way to include the whole family at meal times. “Babies learn so much by watching and then mimicking mealtime behavior they see from their parents and siblings,” Silber says. “Bring the highchair right up to the table, and have your baby join the fun!”

foodiekid

Something else to remember about baby-led weaning is that it might not be for every baby or parent, and that’s more than OK. Silber is quick to note that there’s nothing wrong with feeding babies with traditional purées and adapting some of the baby-led weaning concepts to your family, like letting babies explore their foods and honoring their hunger and fullness cues. Bottom line: use what works for you, experiment as needed, and don’t worry about the rest. Fed is always best!


How to Get Started With FoodieKid

No matter what your preference is when it comes to feeding, FoodieKid takes all the fuss out of meal times so everyone at the table can enjoy some quality time together. Time to stock the freezer. That’s right, we said freezer. While we’re accustomed to seeing shelf-stable jars and pouches on grocery shelves, FoodieKid is stocked in the freezer section.

“The freezer is the ultimate natural preservative and the easiest way to get fresh cooked food on your table in minutes,” Silber says. “The size of our dice is best for babies who can use their pincer grasp (9-11 months) but can be offered to babies as young as 6 months. As your baby grows, you can use the veggies to create fun new foods too.”

Every recipe includes organic, flash-frozen ingredients that are prepped, chopped, and ready for you. The food is not puréed on purpose—it’s diced—so parents can decide what’s best for their family. Once the packet is cooked, you can choose the texture, consistency, and flavor of the food—no staging required. “If a parent is doing traditional feeding, they can blend the ingredients into a purée and if a parent is doing baby-led weaning, they can easily use the prepped ingredients as they are,” Siber explains. “At the end of the day, we believe a parent knows their baby best and should be able to make the call on the food they eat.”

Root Veggie & Squash Pack

This bundle is always ready for a quick side dish and offers nutritious veggies like sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash, and carrots. For more advanced eaters, turn them into veggie patties and serve with a dollop of yogurt or hummus.

Veggie Blends Pack

Put a California spin on mealtimes by blending this pea, zucchini, and green bean mix with half an avocado and turning it into a delicious avocado veggie toast.

Lentil & Veggie Blend Pack

Carrots, lentils, red peppers, spinach, and oregano add rich flavor to your meals. Get creative and turn this pack into soup, protein bites, or even a vegetarian bolognese tossed with tender pasta.

When it comes to continuing to innovate and craft new recipes, founder Topalian is continually inspired by the FoodieKid community. “I love to hear that we’re helping ease the heavy load that is parenting in year one,” she says. “One mom messaged us that Simple Starters gave her more confidence when feeding her baby. Another told us it was time and sanity saving. Our goal is to make feeding fresh, homemade baby food as easy as possible, so when we hear this feedback we know we have a winning product.”

[product sku=””]
[product sku=””]
[product sku=””]
[product sku=””]
[product sku=””]
[product sku=””]
[product sku=””]

This article is related to:

Healthy Kids, Parenting

Share this article

Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

Download the app for easy shopping on the go

By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive marketing text messages from Thrive Market. Consent not a condition to purchase. Msg & data rates apply. Msg frequency varies. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel.


If you are visually-impaired and having difficulty with our website, call us at 1‑855‑997‑2315

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

© Thrive Market 2022 All rights reserved.