Traditional Purees vs Baby Led Weaning

Traditionally, babies are fed exclusively with pureed foods and are gradually escalated through the stages of pureed food (see below) until they are ultimately able to tolerate finger food. Recently; however, we have seen a rise in a different strategy called Baby Led Weaning (BLW), which essentially bypasses purees altogether and goes straight to finger food. Baby Led Weaning is thought to help the baby better get used to process of mastication and swallowing as well as to develop a sense of autonomy with food, and this is thought to reduce picky eating later in life because the baby will have a better relationship with food.

In our practice, we recommend a hybrid approach. Baby Led Weaning is helpful for promoting a healthy relationship with food, but offering soft finger foods early on in addition to spoon-feeding of pureed foods accomplishes that goal while ensuring the baby is receiving the added nutritional benefit of solids.

Stage 14-8 mosOne-ingredient foods; Runny, close to liquid, very smoothe
Stage 28-10 mosCombination of ingredients; thick/creamy puree
Stage 310-12 mosSmall tender chunks in the puree

Food Introduction Timeline

0 – 4 months: Mom’s milk, formula, and probiotics in special cases*

4 – 6 months: Egg yolk, grated frozen liver, bone broth, meats in soups

6 – 8 months: Avocado, banana, cooked sweet potato, carrots, cooked apples and pears, poultry, fish roe, other meats, tropical fruits (cantaloupe, mango, papaya), cumin, garlic, olive oil, kefir, sea salt, pork (bacon, ham, sausage), zucchini, parsnips, cooked peaches, nectarines, and cherries

8 – 12 months: Yogurt, butter, cheese, oily fish, passion fruit, pomegranate, guava, Goji berries, pineapple, cooked onion, mulberries, cooked strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, olives, pickles, beets, biltered water, more herbs and spices, beet kvass, well-steamed leafy greens (spinach, kale), fish stocks and stews and deep-sea wild-caught fish

12 – 15 months: Whole eggs, honey (raw, unheated, unfiltered), tomato, white potato, eggplant, peppers, citrus fruits (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, and tangerine), seasonings (paprika), tomatillos, pimentos, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, other natural sweeteners in extremely small quantities, raw dairy milk, liverwurst, cinnamon, vanilla, whole plant stevia, turnips, homemade juice, well-cooked leafy greens (Swiss chard, collard, beet, and mustard greens), celery, radishes, beets, uncooked berries, and cranberries

15 – 18 months: Nuts (preferably soaked and dried, including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamia nuts, and cashews) and nut butters, soaked brown rice, kombucha, apple cider, ginger ale, homemade orangina, raw veggies (tender greens like butterleaf, carrots, cucumbers), carob (limited) and sprouted seeds

18 – 21 months: Properly prepared gluten-free grains, raw greens (all of the above except kale and collard greens still cooked); higher-fiber raw veggies

21 – 24 months: Properly prepared gluten grains, properly prepared legumes (peanuts, green beans, and chickpeas) and shellfish (oysters, sea cucumber, clams, scallops, mussels, lobster, sea urchins, and shrimp)

2 years +: Dried fruit, fermented soy (natto, miso, tempeh), unsoaked nuts, tea, seeds not sprouted, nitrite/nitrate-free organic lunch meat, and peanut butter


* If born by C-section or mom or baby received antibiotics or steroids, start probiotic supplements right after birth


Additional Reading: