Baby led weaning fills me with excitement and dread at the same time. Our baby is 4 months old so we’ve got a couple of months to go yet, but I’m just starting to dabble in looking at recipes and thinking about the first foods we’ll try with her, which is why I’ve put together this collection of vegan baby led weaning recipes for other mamas (and dads) who are raising plant based babies and don’t want to try traditional baby food. I imagine if you’re a mama you won’t have been surprised when I said a part of me was dreading it, and it might be for the same reason you are… I’m cool with broccoli splattered on the walls, although my landlord might not be happy with the new decorating, it’s the possibility of choking that gets me, which is why I’ll be doing a baby first aid course before we start our little pickle on the good stuff, and if you’re a little anxious about choking like me, I’d recommend doing the same. After all, it’s good knowledge regardless.

What Is Vegan Baby Led Weaning?

Baby led weaning (BLW) has grown in popularity, as an alternative to the traditional puréed baby food most of us had shoved into our mouths with various airplane noises as babies. It is completely personal preference which way of weaning you choose and there’s no right or wrong way. A fed baby is a happy baby, and some parents choose to do a combination of puréed foods and baby led weaning. The baby led weaning technique is all about giving your baby whole pieces of finger foods to play with and letting them try to feed themselves. Weaning of any kind shouldn’t replace breast milk or formula for babies at first and up until a year old, all babies should be receiving the bulk of their calories from milk. BLW allows your baby to gain independence and there are also theories that mums who try this technique have children who are less fussy eaters. It’s also a fun way for babies to explore and learn new textures. Vegan baby led weaning is just as it says in the tin, using this technique but with purely plant based foods, as an alternative to offering meat, dairy, and eggs.

 

vegan baby led weaning recipes

Are Vegan Babies Healthy?

The biggest question on everyone’s lips when you tell them you’ll be raising your baby plant based, and it’s a totally valid question, but the answer is absolutely, yes. As with any diet, you can definitely raise a vegan baby in an unhealthy way, and I don’t think anyone recommends feeding a baby only Quorn nuggets, just as no one is recommending a diet completely compromised of chicken nuggets. Feeding your baby a wide range of plant based foods though, is perfectly healthy, and The Academy of Diet and Nutrition has advised that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets (including a vegan diet) can be healthful and nutritionally adequate for people of all ages — including infants and children.” In fact, a vegan diet can be even healthier than the traditional meat-based American diet, as processed meat such as bacon and sausages are ruled as class 1 carcinogens and are linked with different types of cancers.

When Can You Start Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods?

Some people start weaning their babies from as young as four months, but babies’ tummies are not developed enough yet for this and it can cause them issues later down the line. The general advice is that a six month old baby should be ready to be introduced to solid foods. Your baby should be able to sit up independently and have good head control before starting, as well as show an interest in food. You should always speak to your healthcare provider before starting your baby on any kind of weaning journey. Your baby should still be receiving most of their calories from milk until a year old – food before one is just for fun.

Essentials For Baby Led Weaning

The first and most obvious thing you need to start your BLW journey is a high chair. There are so many different ones out there, but be sure to get something that’s easily wipeable, or know you’ll be kicking yourself later. In terms of actual feeding, if you’re choosing baby led weaning, you need fewer supplies than those making their own baby purees. You will need some kind of plates and/or bowls for your baby. These animal bamboo plates are super cute and also have a suction on the bottom so that your lovingly made dinners don’t end up on the floor. The next thing you’ll need is some utensils. I like these silicone ones because the way they’re designed is easier on your babies’ gums, and means they can’t jam them too far down their throat. Teaching a baby to drink out of a cup when they’re used to sucking is sure to be a little bit of a learning curve. It’s recommended to try your baby with an open cup rather than a sippy cup, although this is obviously your choice. It’s no surprise you’ll need a sh*t ton of baby wipes to wipe up the after-effects of your babies’ fun-filled dinner time, so stock up by the boat-load. When it comes to cleaning up, you’ll also want some kind of bibs. There are different types, such as these food-catching bibs, but I like these coverall-style bibs that you can just whip off and throw in the wash. Another nice to have, which isn’t essential but might just save your bacon when you’ve got messy foods on the go is some kind of splash mat that you can pop under the high chair.

Babies’ First Foods

the following vegan baby led weaning recipes are unlikely to be the first thing you feed your infant. With baby led weaning, whole pieces of fruit and vegetables are given, before proper meals are introduced. There are different theories as to whether to introduce fruit or veggies first, with some saying to introduce vegetables first so that your baby is more accepting of the flavour, as sweeter foods like fruit are often naturally more appealing, whereas others say to introduce fruit first as the sweetness is familiar as breast and formula milk are both sweet. Whichever you choose, introducing a variety of these foods will help your baby to experience a wide range of flavours and textures. Here are just a few examples of great foods for your baby.

  • Sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Courgette
  • Carrot
  • Mango
  • Banana
  • Strawberries
  • Melon
  • Pineapple

What Foods Should You Avoid Feeding Babies?

There is a massive variety of foods that are great to feed your baby when you start introducing solid foods, but there are a few things to avoid when baby led weaning. Raising a vegan baby makes things easier as some of the foods to avoid include some cheeses, honey, and a couple of other non-vegan items. However, there are still a couple of things it would be good to avoid feeding your baby, such as salt. Babies shouldn’t eat salty or salted foods as it’s not very good for their tiny kidneys. It’s also advised that children under two don’t consume added sugar, although natural sugar from fruit is fine. An unusual one is rice drinks. These should be avoided due to too much arsenic. Spices that are well, spicy should also be avoided as they can aggravate your little one’s belly – a lot of spices are fine, but avoid chilli powder/flakes and cayenne pepper especially.  And lastly, every mama’s worst nightmare, the foods that pose a choking hazard. That includes whole nuts and whole fruits such as grapes and blueberries. Both of these fruits should be properly prepared before feeding to your infant.

You should always do your own research on allergens and foods to avoid giving your baby.

10 Vegan Baby Led Weaning Recipes

I don’t know about you, but I have no interest in cooking two completely different meals every day. In fact, I physically do not have the time for it. Mama’s are notorious for being time-poor at this phase in life, and mama’s who are trying to juggle work on top of raising a little one, even more so. This is why this collection of vegan baby led weaning recipes are not specifically for babies. They are delicious recipes that are perfect for the whole family and include foods that are delicious and nutritious for your baby, including lots of vegetables, and avoiding any foods that might upset their tummies and cause a choking hazard, but are also full of flavour to develop your little ones’ palette and allow you to have a yummy dinner at the same time. As these recipes aren’t specifically for babies, I’ve written recommendations on any changes or omissions for ingredients such as salt or sugar.

Disclaimer: Some of these recipes do contain allergens, so please use your own mama instinct, check the ingredients, as well as do your own research and speak to your healthcare provider before trying these recipes. I am not a healthcare professional, I’m just a new mama figuring things out as I go, and sharing my own experience. Some of these recipes will also require you to cut ingredients differently, and serve to your baby differently eg, mashing some ingredients in a curry with a fork in order to make them appropriate for your baby and to stop any potential choking hazards.

 

Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Gratin – Minimalist Baker

Minimalist Baker - vegan BLW

This is a fun way to get more veg into your baby. A lot of mama’s worry if their baby is showing an aversion to certain vegetables, but instead of becoming anxious about having a picky eater, try different ways of preparing the vegetables in order to help your baby enjoy them more. This cauliflower gratin is perfect for that. You could also do it with broccoli, or even a combination of both. This recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of salt, but I’d recommend omitting that for your little one. Get the recipe >>

Arroz Con Gandules – Ambitious Kitchen

Ambitious kitchen vegan baby led weaning recipes

It’s a common misconception that babies can’t have any herbs and spices. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s a great idea to add certain herbs and spices into your little munchkins diet to expand their flavour palette. This recipe uses herbs such as coriander, cumin, and oregano, and also contains olives which are something your baby may not try very often. Be vigilant in making sure your olives have been de-stoned. If you don’t have pigeon peas available to you, you can swap for garden peas instead. Get the recipe >>

Grain-Free Sweet Potato Waffles – Feasting On Fruit

Feasting on fruit baby led weaningA lot of breakfast cereals are jam-packed full of sugar, which is why these sweet potato waffles are a great alternative to give your baby for breakfast. They’d also be great to pre-prepare and store in the freezer. Simply pop them in the toaster when it’s time for breakfast. An especially good one if you’re on the go as they’re not very messy, and a good base to add some extra fruits, or a spoonful of peanut butter (if you’ve introduced allergens) on top. I would recommend omitting the maple syrup from the recipe as it still counts as refined sugar, as well as the salt, but of course, please do what you feel is right for you and your baby. Get the recipe >>

Butternut Squash Lasagne – Minimalist Baker

Minimalist baker vegan BLW 2
This butternut squash lasagne is full of lots of different veggies as well as tasty herbs for your little one to try. The basis of this recipe of butternut squash and mushrooms. It does include cashew nuts, but they’re blended so as not to pose a choking hazard. Cashew nuts despite being a seed are still counted as a tree nut, and all tree nuts are considered allergens, so just be aware of that. I’d once again recommend omitting the salt from this recipe. Get the recipe >>

Baked Spinach-Artichoke Mac And Cheese – Sweet Simple Vegan

Sweet Simple Vegan Baby led weaningWhat kid doesn’t love mac and cheese? No kid I know, and this version has had a nutritional facelift by adding artichokes and spinach, as well as using a sauce made from cashews (once again, bear in mind cashews are an allergen) so not only is it delicious but also pretty nutritious too. This recipe calls for 1/8th of a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. This is only a tiny amount so make your own call, you might wish to leave these out of the recipe. It’s also a good idea to omit the salt. Get the recipe >>

Vegan Margherita Pizza With Sweet Potato Crust – Rainbow Nourishments

Rainbow nourishments BLW recipesPizza is a crowd-pleaser, plus it’s a low mess dinner, and you can use this as a base recipe and add whatever toppings you like. This crust has more vitamins and minerals than a standard pizza base, and the ‘cheese’ is full of nutritious ingredients like cashews which are fantastic for your growing baby. There are a couple of optional ingredients which I’d recommend leaving out, one of which is miso paste as it is very high in sodium. The other is chilli flakes. And of course, salt, but you’re probably bored to death of me repeating that by now! Get the recipe >>

Pumpkin Chia Pudding – Eating Bird Food

Eating bird food vegan recipes

Chia pudding is a delicious option for breakfast or as a snack throughout the day. Chia seeds are high in Omega 3, which is important for brain development. Plus, the texture is unlike anything else, and so it’s fun for your baby to try. This one incorporates pumpkin puree for a little extra goodness, as well as almond butter for some extra healthy fats. I would recommend leaving out the maple syrup. It should be sweet enough with the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, but if not, you could always add a little unsweetened apple sauce. Get the recipe >>

 

Lentil Moussaka – Choosing Chia

Choosing Chia Baby led weaning recipe

Lentils and aubergines can be tricky things to get into anyone’s diet. They’re not the most popular kids in high school, and not everyone is asking them around for dinner. But this lentil moussaka is a really easy and tasty way to enjoy aubergines. Opt for a low sodium vegetable broth and omit the salt to keep it bubba-friendly. Get the recipe >>

 

Mushroom & Kidney Bean Curry – Pick Up Limes

 

Pick up limes baby led weaning recipes

When you think of baby-friendly foods, curry does not spring to mind., In fact, curry seems like one of the least baby-friendly foods of all, but that’s not the case. This belief comes from the old-fashioned idea that babies can’t enjoy any spices, but this curry is full of aromatic and flavourful (not spicy) herbs and spices for your baby to enjoy. Leave out the salt and the jalapeno and you’ve got yourself a curry fit for a baby. Get the recipe >>

 

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie – Eating Bird Food

Eating bird food baby led weaning recipe

Who doesn’t want a cookie for breakfast?! These oatmeal breakfast cookies are full of flavour with almond butter, cinnamon, and blueberries, and if you omit the maple syrup, they’re sugar-free and will keep your little one full all morning. Get the recipe >>

 

Final Thoughts

I hope these 10 vegan baby led weaning recipes helped you to realise that BLW doesn’t need to be difficult, and it doesn’t mean you’ll need to cook 2 different dinners every day. In fact, your baby will love the fact that they get to eat what mama is eating, and you can all enjoy a family meal together.

If you enjoyed these recipes, check out these high protein overnight oats recipes and these simple green smoothie recipes to enjoy with your little one.