How do I know if my child is ready for Baby Led Weaning?

When my little one reached 5 months I read Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett and felt convinced this approach was for us. I kept the book on my bedside table and read it cover to cover over a couple of weeks. Suddenly around 5 1/2 months our angel grabbed a chip off my plate and tried to thrust it into her mouth. At first I grabbed it back, appalled at the thought that her first taste would be a chip but afterwards I realised this was the ideal shape and size for her tiny fingers to grasp. Did this mean that she was ready for ‘Baby Led Weaning’?

IMG_1806 (Grabbing utensils from the table)

According to the book you are supposed to wait until your baby is 6 months but I was so eager and excited that we tried giving her some banana that we cut into a chip shape, to see what she would do. At first she put it into her mouth and just sucked on it. I could tell that she wanted to eat like us but she had no idea how to chew and swallow yet. We may have been ready for her to join in our mealtimes but we were going to have to curb our enthusiasm and be patient as she was not quite ready.

The signs your child is ready

Can your child:

  • put food in their mouth unassisted?
  • show interest in your food?
  • sit up by themselves and hold their head up unaided?
  • hold food in their mouth and manipulate it with their tongue?
  • Have they lost their tongue thrust? (This is a reflex where the tongue pushes food out of the mouth)


Nearly 6 months and our little one finally started showing all the signs that she was ready so we began giving her chip-shaped foods to play with.


(Licking and sucking cucumber)

In my excitement, I started giving her cucumber sticks, carrot sticks, melon pieces, more banana and even more banana. Then I moved onto yoghurt (that I loaded onto a spoon but that she ate herself), humous, avocado and red pepper. At this point I knew she was not really swallowing anything but that did not bother me because she was tasting some foods, developing those motor skills and I knew she was still getting her nutrients from my breast milk so I did not mind her just playing with the food.


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