Baby Led Weaning vs Purees

Posted by Erica Winn
This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Baby led weaning is a new modern way of feeding your baby that involves letting your baby take the reins. After around six months of age, babies typically start showing developmental signs of readiness for solid foods. Baby led weaning is the process of feeding your baby a variety of new solid foods instead of feeding them pureed foods.

The whole point of baby led weaning is to feed your baby the same foods the rest of the family eats to transition them to adult foods easily. However, our nutrition partners have experienced that baby led weaning causes nutrition deficiencies and negatively affects a baby’s gut health.

On the other hand, homemade baby food stands by the traditional route of feeding babies smooth purees consisting of vegetables, fruit, protein and healthy fats. There is an ongoing debate about which weaning method is better for your baby’s diet.

This article will cover:

Pros of Pureed Baby Food

There are several advantages to starting your baby on pureed foods.

  • Reduces the choking hazard associated with whole pieces of food in the very early stages of introducing solids.
  • Purees are easier to eat and digest for a baby’s immature digestive system, resulting in better nutrient absorption.
  • Nutrient dense powerhouse – you can pack a lot of nutrition into purees.
  • It doesn’t have to be complicated, and some foods you’re eating as a family can easily be made baby friendly and pureed.
  • Pureed foods can still be served in a way that allows your baby to engage with the food and start to work on their fine motor skills.
  • Helps raise an adventurous eater because you are able to expose them to a greater variety of foods and flavors.

Ready to introduce solids with purees? Let our course Starting Solids: A Gentle Approach to Introducing Real Food help! We tell you exactly what to introduce, when and how to cook it to support your baby’s gut health and nutrient absorption.

Cons of Pureed Baby Foods

There are a few cons to making homemade baby food.

  • It takes more time and intention than buying store-bought baby food or giving your baby whatever you’re eating.
  • Spoon-fed babies don’t utilize their fine motor skills as frequently as babies who practice baby led weaning.
  • Homemade food does need to be stored in the fridge or freezer, or else it can go bad. You’ll have to pack a little cooler bag with baby food if you’re on-the-go.
  • It’s harder to be a responsive feeder and tune into to your baby’s satiation cues. You will want to give them those last two bites to finish the jar when in the long run it’s more beneficial to allow your baby to be done when they feel full.

There are cons to whatever option you decide to take for introducing solids, but in my opinion taking the time and intention to introduce real food gently, like we do in our Starting Solids course, is worth the minor inconvenience for a few months. It’s a short window of time to set the foundation for optimal gut health.

Pros of Baby Led Weaning

Parents love the idea of baby led weaning for a few main reasons.

  • Convenience. It takes less time to give your baby the same type of food you’re eating versus separate meals.
  • Helps develop fine motor skills because babies use their pincer grasp more frequently with baby led weaning.
  • It’s an easier way to be a responsive feeder and let your baby go at their own pace.
Baby sitting at the table with a plate of finger foods.

Cons of Baby Led Weaning

Unfortunately, baby led weaning presents some disadvantages when it comes to your baby’s gut health.

  • Damage to a baby’s immature digestive system and gut health.
  • Poor nutrient absorption. Babies miss out on so many nutrients simply because their immature gut is not yet capable of digesting solid pieces of food well, resulting in nutrient deficiencies.
  • Babies don’t eat a lot, so you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck with baby led weaning compared to pureed baby foods. You can pack much more nutrient density into purees.
  • Harder to determine what foods are causing an allergic reaction because they are exposed to more diverse foods, spices and seasonings at once.
  • Increased risk of choking because your baby’s oral muscles are not fully developed.
  • May foster picky eating down the line because baby led weaning results in babies eating less foods.

Eliminate the guesswork when it comes to starting your baby on solids. In our Starting Solids course, you will learn how to introduce the correct nutrients to your baby when they are ready for them.

What Doctors Say About Pureed Foods vs. Baby Led Weaning

Many medical professionals support the BLW approach, stating that it helps babies become more independent. In addition, they claim baby-led weaning is a great way to introduce whole foods in small amounts. Lastly, doctors believe this new approach helps babies develop hunger and fullness cues at a young age. They claim that traditional weaning doesn’t allow your baby to respond to hunger and fullness cues as well as baby led weaning.

What Nutritionists Say About Pureed Foods vs. Baby Led Weaning

Nutritionists take a much different stance as it relates to baby led weaning. Unfortunately, traditional pediatricians aren’t nutritionists and actually receive very little schooling in baby nutrition. Nutritionists, like our nutrition expert partners, believe pureed foods meet your baby’s nutrient needs better, and pureed foods are much gentler on a baby’s developing digestive system. The main goals for baby’s from 6 months to 1 year old are to optimize gut health and support development by achieving the best nutrient absorption possible. With this goal in mind, pureed foods are the way to go!


Meeting your baby’s needs doesn’t have to be complicated. But, if you’re still on the fence about the right way to feed your baby, take a look at our Starting Solids Course. This course gives you an in-depth, step-by-step process of introducing solid foods to your baby to support their gut health and prevent digestive issues.

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