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How much food should I give my baby with BLW?

Julie Clark

Baby-led weaning expert


When you start baby-led weaning, you may find that your baby seems more interested in playing with her food than eating it in the first few weeks. This is entirely normal. Your baby’s food intake will increase the more confident she becomes and as her pincer skills develop.

Carry on giving your baby her normal breastfeeds or bottle feeds, so she will still be getting the nutrients she needs.

Your baby’s tummy is only the size of her two fists together, so she doesn’t need much food to make her feel full. A huge portion will be overwhelming for her, so simply place a few different options on her highchair tray and let her explore.

You may want to start with easy-to-grab foods such as broccoli florets, toast fingers and chunks of banana, with a beaker of water on the side.

When working out how much food to give your baby, aim for portions the same size as her fist, with one fistful of protein, one fistful of carbohydrates and two fistfuls of vegetables or fruits.

Your baby will enjoy sitting and eating with you and your family, so share family mealtimes with her as much as possible. And try to eat something similar to the foods you are giving your baby as she will be taking the lead from you while she learns about eating.

Most babies will tend to play around with food up until eight months or nine months. This is usually when your baby develops her pincer grip (the use of thumb and forefinger) and finds handling food a little easier. It is also common for your baby’s weight to plateau or drop a little before she really masters the skill of self-feeding.

It is very common during the early phase of weaning for your baby to miss out on some meals. She may be asleep, too tired, or simply not interested. Try not to worry about this. She will still be getting all of the nutrients she needs from her milk feeds.

Carry on with your baby’s usual milk feeds when you start BLW. As she eventually starts to eat more food she will naturally want less milk.

One of the advantages of BLW is that it‘s very difficult to overfeed your baby. As long as you’re providing a good variety of nutritious food it will be up to your baby to decide whether or not she wants to eat it.

Until your baby starts to get on the move and is more active, there is no need to introduce a snack during the first couple of months of weaning.

More baby-led weaning advice:

Last reviewed: July 2017
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