Baby led weaning indian food

Baby Led Weaning Guide For Indian Mothers

I stumbled upon baby led weaning when my son was 4 months old. Being a rather unfamiliar method of weaning in India; the literature was sparse in the Indian context. In this post I’ll address some of the concerns Indian moms might have regarding first foods, choking, appropriate gear for baby led weaning, nutrition and much more. Let this post be your baby led weaning guide.

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As a child, I was a fussy eater and know firsthand how much I hated being cajoled into eating. This became the primary reason why I wanted my son to be in control of how much he wanted to eat.


What is Baby Led Weaning?

Baby led weaning is a method of weaning where the baby is allowed to explore his/her food and self-feed from the age of 6 months. The baby controls how much he/she eats, dines with family and eats what the family eats.

The method seemed perfect in my setup – a nuclear family with a traveling husband. It would cut down on special food preparations and the idea of my kid becoming an independent eater was very appealing.

On a side note – I hold nothing against traditional weaning as long as your child isn’t force-fed and his/her hunger limits are respected. I believe that a basic respect of child’s hunger cues is more important than the ongoing debate on the internet about pros and cons of traditional weaning versus baby led weaning.

Now, let’s address the two elephants in the room:


Choking is by far the biggest concern for any parent. It is important to note that a baby’s gag reflex is in the front of the mouth which prevents them from choking on food. Babies gag when they are not ready to swallow a big chunk of food.

When a baby chokes their entire airway is blocked, they go silent and may change color in face. Whereas in gagging they cough and look uncomfortable. Make sure never to offer high risk choking foods. Check that every food offered is soft enough to turn to mush between your thumb and forefinger.

A September 2016 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that baby-led weaning did not cause more choking than traditional spoon-feeding. (Fangupo et al., 2016).

I have provided an exhaustive list of foods that should be avoided below.

It is very important to understand the difference between choking and gagging. I found this article very helpful in understanding the difference between the two.

Iron rich foods for Baby led weaning

Iron becomes a hot topic of discussion in baby led weaning groups. Breastmilk stores of iron start to drop post 6 months, therefore, it is important to incorporate iron rich foods into your baby’s diet.

Examples of iron rich foods for baby led weaning are Cereals, lentils, legumes, chicken, red meat, egg yolk. Check this post for more detailed ideas about iron rich foods for baby led weaning.

And always remember, if you have concerns about any specific nutrient deficiency you must consult your pediatrician and get blood work done.

What are the first foods for Baby Led Weaning?

As a guideline, cut all foods in long strips so it’s easier for baby to grasp in their tiny palms. Here are a few examples of foods to offer a 6 to 9-month-old:

  • Ripened: Banana, Papaya, Mango, Sapota (Chikoo), Muskmelon, Avocado;
  • Steamed: Apple, Pear, Pumpkin, Cauliflower & Brocolli Florets, Idli;
  • Boiled: Dal, Potato, Sweet Potato, Egg Yolk
  • Cooked: Chicken Liver, Oats, Ragi & Oats Pancake, Scrambled Egg Yolk.

Around 9-10-month-old babies get better at eating due to development of pincer grasp. This is a good time to offer family food in sizes appropriate for pincer grasp.

Always start weaning by introducing one new food at a time and trying it for 3-5 days depending on allergy history of that food in your family.

Choking risk foods

I steered clear from offering any hard raw fruits like apples, pears, grapes etc. for more than a year of baby’s life. Also, I didn’t feel comfortable offering steamed carrots as they always felt to be not soft enough.

It is best to avoid,

  • Whole Nuts
  • Whole Seeds
  • Hard raw fruits (e.g. Apples and Pears)
  • Foods with thick peel (e.g. grapes, plums, tomatoes)
  • Popcorn
  • Chips
  • Lotus Seeds (e.g. Makhane)
  • Raw salad leaves
  • Big chunks of meat
  • Bony Fish

For a more detailed idea of what foods to avoid, I found this link by the New Zealand Ministry of Health very helpful. (Ministry of Health NZ, 2012)

Baby Led Weaning Essentials

  • Booster chairs:
    • I recommend Fisher Price Quick Clean N’ Go Booster. It’s cheap, lightweight, easy to clean, comes with a shoulder strap and has a built-in wipes compartment. This makes this booster the ideal travel companion. Amazon always runs deals on this booster.
    • My second recommendation is Mastela Deluxe Comfort Folding Booster Seat . It’s also easy to clean and lightweight. Additionally, it has a two-level height adjustment which can be used for older toddlers (up to 30 months of age). The only con is that it doesn’t come with a shoulder strap so it’s inconvenient to use for travel.
  • Feeding plates:
    • Buy plates and bowls with a suction bottom. Babies end up throwing the bowl on the floor and suction bottom is a real effort saver. These bowl and plate sets by Avanchy are very sturdy, made of bamboo wood with silicon headed spoons. The spoon is wonderful for those soft gums and also double up as a teether. To know about our experience using this set head to my post on Avanchy bowl and plate review.
  • Cups:
    • There are varied types of cups available in the market. There will be a lot of trial and error and you have to figure out which one works best for your baby.
    • My recommendations are; 1) Regular stainless steel cup: works from 6 months up, 2) Philips Avent Classic Soft Spout: 6-12 months, 3) Philips Avent Straw cup: 12 months up.
    • For a more detailed review of available Sippy cups in India read this post of mine.

Other Points To Consider

One of the basic tenants of baby led weaning – “The baby eats what the family eats” is not without its caveats because not all families follow healthy diets. The food offered to the baby maybe heavily processed, devoid of nutrition and high in sodium. Parents need to be aware of their children’s nutritional needs and plan healthier family meals.

Most family foods can be modified for your baby by cutting out salt, sugar and reducing spice. An easy alternative is to steam the vegetables separately if you are making a spicy version for yourself.

Also baby requires more fat than adults; if your household follows a low-fat diet then consider adding a side of grated coconut chutney, ghee on chapattis/dal/rice or avocados just for baby.

A 6 to 9-month-old baby is still mastering the pincer grasp making it difficult to properly eat a typical Indian meal. Start out with finger food versions of family meals and slowly ease into a complete family meal as the pincer grasp improves.

Another point that comes up repeatedly is, explaining baby led weaning to the extended Indian family. Here you may have to hold your ground more than a few times. Once non-consenters see the baby eat on their own, they too are proud. Stay patient, its best not to get stressed. Ultimately only the parents are the best judge of what suits them and their baby.

Our Experience With Baby Led Weaning

The idea of a self-feeding baby always appealed to me. There are videos online of 6 to 7-month-old babies eating big chunks of meat off the bone, while its quite an attention getter – I wanted to proceed more gently.

What I loved about our experience with baby led weaning was the freedom from elaborate meal making for me and independence it offered my child from the onset. We introduced him to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in the first year. And it is amazing watching just how quickly our little humans pick up all the skills. Baby led weaning and “no pressure tactics at the table” allowed him to be a great eater and a happier child.

To sum it up

  • Feeding your child should focus on sharing in the joy of eating healthy and nutrient-rich foods. Don’t worry too much about the rules!
  • If your baby is having a difficult time with baby led weaning you can always try pre-loaded spoons or switch to traditional weaning.

Whatever ways you choose to wean you need to be respectful of your baby’s hunger. If they squirm and move their head side to side, spitting out what you feed, stop the session. Try again later. An unhappy baby at the table will never learn to associate food time with positive interactions. You have to be patient and let your child lead.

Related Posts On Baby Led Weaning

Baby led weaning first foods: What to offer?

7 Baby Led Weaning Benefits No One Tells You About

Baby Led Weaning Finger Foods On The Go

5 Baby Led Weaning Tips For Success

6 Healthy Baby Led Weaning Lunch Ideas

Baby Led Weaning Food Ideas For Busy Moms

Baby-led Weaning On Vacation (Part 1)

Baby-led Weaning On Vacation (Part 2)

Baby Led Weaning Breakfast Ideas


1] Fangupo, L. , Heath, A., Williams, S., Erickson Williams, L., Morison, B., Fleming, E., Taylor, B., Wheeler, B. and Taylor, R. (2016). A Baby-Led Approach to Eating Solids and Risk of Choking. Pediatrics, 138(4), pp.e20160772-e20160772.

2] Baby Led Weaning: A Complete Guide to Choking & Gagging. (2014). [Blog] Baby Led Weaning Equipment. [Accessed 10 May 2017].

3] Ministry of Health NZ. (2012). Foods that pose a higher choking risk for children under five years. [Accessed 10 May 2017].[/box]

Disclaimer: This is a parenting blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and do not replace professional medical advice. Consult your pediatrician and nutritionist for any concerns you may have.
This blog post contains affiliate links. These links provide me with a small percentage commission but don’t cost you anything extra.

Baby Led Weaning Indian Recipes

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Baby Led Weaning Indian Recipes

BLW or Baby Led Weaning, simply put is a form of introducing solid foods to your baby skipping the spoon-feeding purees stage and letting your child take control from day 1. It’s definitely very different from how we have been brought up and make us question how our babies who can’t even stand up yet or get to a sitting position on their own can pick up food and feed themselves. Having tried BLW with my baby after going through a ton of research, we wanted to share our experience and suggestions so you can try it successfully with your baby as well.

If you’ve already started off with traditional weaning or spoon-feeding, don’t worry.  It’s not too late and you can slowly transition your baby to self-feeding. Please refer to our BLW vegetables and fruits section for ideas on how to introduce these as finger foods to your baby for the first time or you can move on to our recipes section to start introducing family foods in a baby friendly way. Be patient and give your baby some time to adjust to the new way of self-feeding and encourage them as they learn this new skill on their own.

Be prepared to be amazed at how quickly your baby picks up these skills and you will definitely marvel at how your baby adapts to different foods and textures once they start self-feeding. Patience however is key and always give your full attention to your baby while they eat.

All the information here is based off our personal experience. Every child is different and if your pediatrician has specific advice regarding the diet or foods to introduce to your child, kindly follow that.

updated on BLW Blog Experiences

Baby Led Weaning, Baby is in control from day 1 which helps promote independence. While it’s very tempting as mothers to feed the baby when we think they are eating less, Babies are very much in tune with their nutritional needs and eat accordingly.

updated on BLW Blog Experiences

Pre-requisites for starting your baby on BLW
1. Must be six months/ 180 days old
2. Should have lost “Tongue-Thrust Reflex”
3. Must be able to sit unassisted for a short time

updated on BLW Blog Experiences

As my son neared six months, I was facing a mix of excitement and apprehension. Excitement at the new milestone and starting his journey into the world of food and apprehension at the thought of the millions of stories we hear about kids fussing to eat.

Ragi Carrot Roti is nutritious and Baby’s love the taste, texture and colour. Sprouted Ragi Malt Powder can be offered to Babies in various forms apart from Ragi Porridge.

Tur Dal with Rice and Ghee rice are a typical South Indian way of introducing Baby weaning food.

Sprouted Ragi Malt Powder can be offered to Babies in various forms apart from Ragi Porridge.
This recipe Ragi Cauliflower Roti is very nutritious and Baby’s love the taste and texture.

updated on Experiences

Ragi Millet as BLW food for toddlers, is an extremely rich is Calcium, Protein and Iron is a wonderful first food to offer your babies.

Ragi paratha mixed with Radish and Coriander gives different taste and nutrition to Babies for Baby Led Weaning.

Sprouted Ragi powder mixed with Palak and sweet potato is nutritious Roti for your Baby for Baby Led Weaning.

Easily digestible steamed food for baby is Idiyappam. Easy to make Idiyappam recipe for Baby.

When can I give Paneer to my Baby?
Paneer can be introduced to babies for Baby Led Weaning after 6 months when baby is ready for Solids.

Homemade butter is recommended for Babies. Home made Butter is rich with milk proteins, saturated fats, vitamin D and A, which helps in boosting immunity and is good for bone health.

Can I give Peanut Chutney to my 6Month+ Baby?
Peanut Chutney can be a useful weaning food. It is highly nutritious, and a good source of protein. Peanut chutney recipe for Baby Led Weaning which goes well with Roti, Dosa or Idli. Peanuts are extremely rich in energy. 

Indian cuisine, 421 step-by-step recipes with photos on the Food website

Indian cuisine, 421 step-by-step recipes with photos on the Food website


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