Not sure what to feed your baby for breakfast? Here are 10 nutritious breakfast ideas for baby-led weaning for infants 6-12 months of age.
When babies start eating solids, breakfast is typically the first meal added into their routine as it can be an easy and relatively fast meal to prepare. For instance, you may start by feeding your baby only once a day at breakfast and then after a few weeks add in lunch, then eventually add dinner as your baby’s appetite grows. This doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule though – you don’t need to add meals to your baby’s day in this order.
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In fact, there is no “right” way, or sequence of introducing meals that parents must adhere to. If you want to start with supper, that’s cool too! Or maybe you notice your baby is hungriest at lunchtime so you decide that it make sense to start there. Ultimately you know your baby and family schedule best! Breakfast just happens to be the most common starting point meal when introducing solids to baby and it helps to have some nutritious breakfast ideas for baby-led weaning under your belt.
What is baby led weaning?
Baby led weaning is when soft finger foods are served to baby in a safely prepared manner for their developmental stage, starting at around 6 months (give or take a few weeks). Instead of spoon-feeding purees to your baby, your little one independently feeds themselves table foods that are soft enough to be mashed with their tongue to the roof of their mouth. Keep in mind there is no one “right way” to introduce solids to your little one. Whether or not you decide to do baby-led weaning, spoon feeding or a combination, the most important thing is to feed with responsively with awareness around your babies’ hunger and fullness cues. Learn more comprehensive information about baby-led weaning here.
Helpful tools for baby-led weaning breakfast recipes
High chair with adjustable foot support
During meals you baby’s little feet should be resting flat on the foot rest rather than dangling in the air. Without proper foot support your baby will overuse their trunk muscles for balance while eating. This can lead to exhaustion and fussiness, before their tummy is full or they are ready to stop eating. Here are some favorites:
Open cup and straw cup
Babies can start to practice drinking out of open cups right at 6 months! Straw cups are a great choice when you are on the go and need to avoid spills. Skip purchasing the “sippy” type cups as they do not support proper oral motor development or mature drinking skills. Here are some favorites:
Plates and bowls
Undivided plates are great for your baby as she learns to eat off of plates that look just like mom and dads. This also encourages the idea that it is ok if different foods on the plate touch each other or mix together. Here are some favorites:
*Don’t worry if you already have divided plates for your baby, they work great too!
Silicone spoons double as great teethers for your baby leading up to introducing solids. The soft flexible texture is perfect for when your baby is learning to bring the spoon up to their lips. Here are some favorites:
It’s great to have a variety of bibs for different occasions. Flexible water-resistant foldable bibs fit nicely into the diaper bag. Full sleeve bibs work well for extra messy meals that involve tomato sauce! Silicone scoop type bibs are great for catching pieces of food before they hit the floor. Here are some favorites:
How to serve soft, safe breakfast finger foods to baby
At this age your baby will use a raking motion to grasp onto food with the palm of their hand and bring it to their mouth. Their “palmer grasp” is the first fine motor skill they need to bring food to their mouths. Serve thick finger-like strips of soft food to make it easier for your baby to grab in their tiny fist. Cut breakfast foods like omelets, French toast, toast with nut butter, pancakes, and waffles into large strips to serve to baby. Peel and cook fruits like peaches, pears, and apples to a soft smashable texture and serve in wedges. Hard-boiled eggs and avocado are also great to serve in wedges to baby. You can spoon feed your little one foods like oatmeal and yogurt, or preload a spoon (such as Grabease Spoons) for them to bring to their mouth independently. Whatever works best for you!
Right at 6 months you can introduce water and/or smoothies in an open cup or straw cup!
Start to introduce medium-sized pieces of soft food as your baby improves their accuracy with picking up food. At around 9 months, it is common for babies to start to use their “pincer grasp” and will want to practice picking up food with their thumb and index finger. Serve smaller pieces of food like chunks of banana rolled in infant oatmeal (for grip) or soft raspberries. Cut toast and pancakes into smaller chunks to let your little one practice this new skill!
You can continue to serve foods in larger strips, wedges, while adding in smaller items like squished blueberries, green peas, and quartered grapes. Serve eggs scrambled with larger and smaller pieces mixed throughout. At this age let baby practice independently with their spoon when eating oatmeal or yogurt. You’ll likely have a goopy mess on your hands, but this is the best way to help them strengthen and improve those fine motor skills of scooping the spoon and bringing it up to their mouth.
For more information on how to serve soft finger foods to baby refer to this comprehensive post Beginner’s Guide to Baby-Led Weaning
Why breakfast might be a good meal to introduce to your baby first
Breakfast can be a great place to start when introducing solids to your little one! One reason is that breakfast food tends to be easy and fast to prepare such as cooked eggs, oatmeal, or peanut butter on toast for example. Make ahead breakfast options such as mini egg bites or baked oatmeal cups are awesome and quick to heat up when in the midst of a busy family schedule. Breakfast can also be a good meal to start with if you have a history of allergies in your family. This way your little one will have more than enough time to react to a newly introduced allergen before they go to sleep for the night. This is not to alarm you! Only 8-9% of children in Canada are diagnosed with a food allergy, so it is relatively uncommon. Your child is only at higher risk if either parent or a sibling has an allergy. To learn more about introducing food allergies read this post The Truth About Introducing Food Allergens to Your Baby
What should I feed my baby at breakfast?
Any nutritious whole food can be offered to baby for breakfast, there is no particular food, or strict feeding schedule required! I recommend that parents aim to incorporate an iron containing food at every feeding occasion, as your little one’s iron stores start to become depleted at around 6 months. Iron is an essential nutrient for your baby’s proper growth and development. Here are some simple to prepare foods to add to your little one’s breakfast that provide a good source of iron:
- Plain egg omelet strips or hard-boiled egg cut into wedges
- Infant oatmeal prepared with baby formula or breastmilk
- Mashed beans and lentils
- Nut butter spread thinly on strips of sprouted grain toast
- Soft tender shredded pieces of meat, poultry or fish
Avoid serving these foods to baby for breakfast
Not all foods are safe or recommended for your baby when they are learning to eat. It is important to be aware of and avoid serving common choking hazards and unsafe foods for your little one. Here are some foods to avoid serving baby:
- Choking hazards: Hard raw vegetables and fruit (like whole carrots or apples), whole nuts, whole hot dogs or sausages, chunks of firm cheese, stringy or fibrous foods, round smooth foods like grapes or blueberries, fish with bones, and popcorn. For more specific information on choking hazards refer to this post: Choking and Baby-Led Weaning: What You Need to Know
- Food that may cause foodborne illness:
- Unpasteurized dairy products or juices
- Raw or undercooked meat, fish, poultry, and eggs (this includes foods that use raw eggs like homemade cookie dough, mayonnaise, dressings and sauces)
- Honey: There is a risk of infant botulism caused by Clostridium botulinum bacterial spores. Though the risk is small, these heat resistant spores may contaminate honey, even if it has been pasteurized. Delay introduction of honey or honey containing foods until your child is at least 12 months.
- Cows milk: avoid serving cow’s milk in a bottle or cup to drink until baby is close to a year old. Your little one requires the extra nutritional benefit of breastmilk or formula during this time. Cows milk added into recipes such as muffins or omelets is totally fine!
My top 10 nutritious breakfast ideas for baby-led weaning
FAQ about breakfast recipes for baby-led weaning
Yes! It is not very practical for a 6-month-old to independently feed themselves a bowl of yogurt. You can try pre-loading a spoon for them to grasp, which is good practice. But your little one likely won’t be very successful using a spoon independently until 9-12 months of age.
Just because breakfast is the first meal of the day does not mean that it needs to be the first meal you add to your baby’s routine. In fact, there is no “right way” or predetermined order that parents must follow when adding meals into their baby’s schedule. Consider what time of day works best for you and your little one, noticing if they seem to have a hungrier time. Maybe breakfast is the easiest meal for you to prepare and is therefore the least daunting to start with? Or maybe you have more time for presence and focus at supper time, and prefer to start solids with your little one then! Any meal works as your babies first! It really comes down to what is ideal for your family.