As parents, we cannot help but follow the trends and read up on every new fad that comes up, right? Whether that’s leaving your baby to cry himself to sleep, using TikTok as a safe space as they grow up, or force-feeding their veggies, we never run out of ideas. However, every child goes through specific milestones in your baby’s life: first smile, first step, first word, and first food to eat. One of the best developmental stages is using avocados for baby-led weaning.
While many of us are unfamiliar with what baby-led weaning is precisely, and some are hesitant about different foods, we dive into all the details in this article. Read on to find out how to introduce extra foods into your baby’s diet and whether avocados are a safe option for you.
What Exactly Is Baby-Led Weaning?
Baby-led weaning is basically flipping the roles and giving your baby the power to control their own progression through food. Hence, instead of having to puree the food to slowly introduce food, your little one will be able to feed himself with his own hands.
This step completely eliminates the spoon-feeding process, and with that, the puree craze is slowly disappearing. That’s because once you start using baby-led weaning, usually around the age of 6 months, your little one will be feeding himself. Hence, it’s hard enough for them to grasp a piece of carrot, let alone feed themselves with a spoon.
There are some tips about baby-led weaning that you should keep in mind. First of all, your baby should at least be 6 months old. You can kind of see when your baby is developed enough to feed himself. Not only does this method encourage your little ones to try different flavors, but it also teaches them to chew before swallowing any bite.
- Develop their motor skills by giving them the independence to take control of their feeding process.
- Saves you time and money as a parent, as you won’t have to spend hours preparing purees or buying fancy ones.
- Includes your little one during mealtimes with the rest of the family, as you can give them some food from what you’re eating.
- It has been linked to the potential reduction in obesity, as you provide your child with control over their food, and they learn to control their appetite.
- As opposed to spoon-feeding, baby-led weaning can cause a bigger mess as your baby flails the food around.
- Every child is different. You run the risk of choking if you introduce food too early on. That’s why, if you’re looking into baby-led weaning, then consult a doctor to know at what age to present it.
So, what foods can you use as starters? Aim to give your little ones some soft food that they can hold properly and chew pretty easily. Do not immediately jump to carrots and solid veggies, as your baby really won’t be able to chew on it at first. That’s why soft foods are ideal, and avocados are an excellent way to start.
Using Avocados For Baby-Led Weaning
Have you ever observed a baby and seen what makes them most intrigued? One of the first things we tend to give babies is squishy toys, mainly due to the interesting texture and pleasure they get out of them. That’s why introducing avocados as one of the first foods is a great option.
So, why should you serve avocado to baby? Below are the main advantages of using avocados as one of the very first baby-led weaning foods introduced to your baby:
- It has a squishy texture, so it satisfies your baby’s curiosities.
- It has a very mild taste, so your baby won’t be repulsed by any intense flavors.
- As avocados are incredibly soft, you do not risk a choking hazard.
- Avocados can easily be sliced up for your little one.
But then the next question pops up: when can you introduce avocados to a baby? The minimum recommended age is around 6 months old, but every baby will vary according to development. For instance, a baby born prematurely might not properly ingest solids by the age of 6 months. Hence, you must observe the individual growth and consult a doctor before venturing through this.
Why Feed Your Baby Avocados
Do you know that avocados are considered to be superfoods? That is due to a large number of reasons. However, we will only list the ones below related to your baby’s health.
Now, before diving into the benefits of avocados for children’s development, how do you choose the perfect avocado for your baby? Well, through your trip to the supermarket, you will notice various different skin types and colors of avocados. Whether you want to feed your child right away or not, choose the lighter ones if you’re looking for the unripe ones or dark green ones for ripe ones.
However, generally, feed your baby avocados only when they’re squishy enough, indicating they are ripe. One way to find out is to pull away from the stem of the avocado (that brown button-like thing on the top of it). If it peels back quickly and you see green inside, then the avocado is ready to be eaten! Otherwise, if you struggle a little to remove the cap, it’s still not ripe enough.
Still, wondering whether avocados are healthy for your babies? Yes, haven’t you wondered why it’s such a trendy food among parents for baby-led weaning?
- As you might already know, avocados are high in unsaturated fats, the type found in fruits and vegetables. These fats are essential for your child’s growth, as they enrich the babies’ minds, brain development, and digestion.
- Avocados are like magic for babies; they contain numerous essential vitamins and minerals that boost your child’s progression and immune system. Some of those include folate, B6, zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, and vitamin C.
- As avocados are high in fiber, they are a great option if your baby has issues with being backed up sometimes.
- You generally want to avoid sodium and cholesterol, as they are linked with numerous illnesses. The fantastic news is that avocados naturally do not have either, so you won’t have to worry about that risk.
How to Prepare Avocados
First of all, the main advice you should follow is what your pediatric gives you. None of the advice you read online measures to the one provided by a doctor, as every baby is different and the doctor knows your individual case better.
However, you can get approximate suggestions based on your baby’s age. However, depending on how far developed your baby is (grab food, chew food, guide food to his mouth, etc.), you can tweak the recommendations below.
Aged 6-9 months
If you’re introducing avocados for the first time in your baby’s diet, we recommend slicing up the fruit vertically into long slices. That makes it easier for the baby to identify the food and have more grip. However, you can also use a fork to create a mash out of the avocado, then load it on a pre-loaded spoon or let your baby go crazy with their fingers.
On the other hand, some babies find it incredibly difficult to grip the avocados due to their mushy and slippery texture. You can simply roll the avocado slivers in some more miniature, coarse food if that occurs. For instance, you can use coconut, seeds, or even ground nuts. However, do not use any of those if you have not introduced them earlier, as nuts especially are a common food allergen.
Aged 9-12 months
Do we not all dread that phase when a baby is old enough to start correctly grasping items around and pulling your hair, too? That grip, the pincer grasp where the thumb and pointer finger meet, is a massive step in the developmental stage.
Once a child can do that, you can introduce smaller-sized food items. Hence, you can now cut the avocados into bite-sized cubes. If you feel like your baby can hold smaller foods, we recommend you cut up your avocado into cubes to encourage growth. However, if your child still cannot grip them, do not hesitate to use the long slices for as long as needed!
Aged 12-24 months
The average age when babies start grasping forks spoons and learning how to use them is approximately 12 months old. So if you see your baby having the capability to hold utensils and use them properly, then consider taking the next step.
Now, instead of cutting up your avocados, keep everything intact and simply cut the avocado down in the middle and add a fun twist by calling it the avocado boat! You can leave the skin on or peel it off, but your child will slowly learn how to eat it with the skin on anyways. Once again, if you believe that your baby is not ready for this stage yet, do not fret! Stick to the cubes or long slivers until you’re comfortable!
Tips: Avocados for Baby-Led Weaning
- How do you serve avocados to a baby? Well, aside from the methods used above, you can always mush up the avocado and put it in a bowl for your child to eat using a spoon. One of our favorite avocado blends involves mixing it with some bananas in a 1:1 ratio for some sweetness to the mixture.
- If you’re having trouble teaching your child how to grip onto a piece of avocado, you can keep the skin on one side of the cube. However, we generally do not recommend this method as the skin is not edible for children.
- As your child grows older and can eat a small piece of bread, you can spread mashed-up avocados onto a slice and serve it to your baby.
- Are avocados a choking hazard for babies? Yes and no. If the avocado is ripe enough, the mushiness provides the ideal texture for your baby. However, if it’s unripe and you try to feed your baby, they would either find it hard to ingest or find it bitter.
Avocado Recipes for Baby-Led Weaning
According to how old your baby is, you can switch up the following recipes to suit his taste and what he can eat.
Avocado Puree (Age 6 months)
- ½ of an avocado
- 6 tablespoons of breastmilk, stock, water, formula, or a preferred liquid
Place everything in a blender or food processor on low till it’s all smooth or to the consistency of your liking. If you have a large blender, simply use a bigger batch and freeze the rest.
Chunky Mashed Avocados (Age 6-8 months)
- ½ Avocado
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice, fresh is preferred
Once your baby grows a little older, you can introduce more chunky foods. Hence, grab the fork and mash it until you get the desired result.
Avocado Slices (Age 9-12 months)
- ½ Avocado
- 1 teaspoon of seeds, groundnuts, coconut, or breadcrumbs
Slice up the avocados into long, vertical pieces. Now, if your kid finds it hard to grab it since it can be slippery, roll it up in some seeds or ground food.
Puree Combinations (>9 months old)
- Pureed Avocados
- One of those following is ideal: mango, tomatoes, blueberry, pineapple, bananas.
- Herbs (optional)
- Protein: yogurt, chicken, beans (optional)
You can also introduce other pureed veggies and mix them in. However, around the age of 9 months, you can mix and match different foods in their pureed version.
As things can get incredibly messy, we recommend looking into the best high chairs for baby-led weaning, as things can get quite messy.
Wrapping Things Up: Avocados for Baby-Led Weaning
If you made the decision, to introduce foods to your child’s diet through baby-led weaning, then avocados are an excellent choice. Not only do they boost the immune system through their sea of vitamins, but the taste is mild enough for them to not be repulsed by it.
And do not stress about the “right way” of introducing them; depending on your child’s development and comfort level, you can serve the avocados accordingly!