Baby-Led Weaning Framework and Safety 

Figuring out a schedule for your baby is always challenging! Here are some tips for how often to offer solids. We will also talk about allergens and choking versus gagging.

How Often to Offer Foods

6 months: Offer 1 meal per day

  • Breastmilk or formula are the main sources of nutrition until at least 9 months.
  • Offer 1-2 pieces of food at a time (cut into strips and soft enough to mush). Any more may be overwhelming to your baby. If they are doing well, you can offer additional food.
  • It is okay if they don’t put food in their mouth. This time is more about exploration.

7-8 months: Offer up to 2 meals per day

  • Breastmilk and formula are the main sources of nutrition – but you may notice more food consumption.
  • Continue to offer strips of food that are soft enough to mush.

9-12 months: Offer 3 meals per day

  • The pincer grasp develops which gives the ability to pick up smaller pieces of food – food can be cut into bite-sized pieces.

12+ months: Offer 3 meals and 2 snacks per day 

  • Continue to offer a variety of meals and aim for a balanced plate.


Monday: 1 new fruit

Tuesday: 1 new vegetable

Wednesday: 1 new starch

Thursday: 1 new protein

Friday: 1 new allergen

On weekends, practice foods that your baby has previously tried.


Big 9 Allergens – Egg, cow’s milk, peanut, fish, shellfish, sesame, soy, wheat and tree nuts 

Offer one allergen at a given time when getting started, and space trying new allergens one week apart. I love the saying “early and often” for allergens, as it is important to have continuous exposure to decrease the chance of food allergies in the future.

Allergic reactions typically occur within two hours of consuming the allergenic foods. Babies may not have a reaction the first time the allergen is consumed, be watchful on the subsequent exposures.


Mild: Itchy/runny nose, itchy mouth, a few isolated hives, mild nausea and GI discomfort.

Severe: Shortness of breath, wheezing, repetitive cough, pale/bluish skin, swelling of face/lips/tongue, widespread hives, vomiting and sudden lethargy.

If the child is having one mild symptom, call your pediatrician. If your child is having more than one mild symptom or any severe symptoms, call 911.

Sample schedule for starting allergenic foods:

Week 1: Greek yogurt (cow’s milk)

Week 2: Omelet (egg)

Week 3: Peanut butter puffs (peanut)

Week 4: Penne pasta (wheat)

Week 5: Tofu (soy)

Week 6: Salmon (fish)

Week 7: Hummus (sesame)

Week 8: Shrimp (shellfish)

Week 9: Almond butter (tree nut)

Gagging Versus Choking

Gagging is very normal and part of learning how to eat. It is not an indicator that your baby isn’t ready for that food/texture. In fact, it means they are learning how to safely eat it!

Signs of gagging:

  • Your baby’s face turns red or pink.
  • Your baby is making noise such as coughing or sputtering – this means that air is passing through.

Babies are just as likely to choke on purees as they are on finger foods when you are serving developmentally appropriate finger foods. Some high-risk choking foods are nuts/seeds, raw vegetables, whole grapes, dried fruits and popcorn.

Signs of choking

  • Your baby turns purple or blue in the face.
  • No noise – this means their airway is blocked. This is also an important reason to be fully present during meal times as you cannot hear choking – it is silent!

Before starting solids, I always recommend that parents watch videos of gagging to get comfortable with it! When a baby is gagging, you want to be calm and let them work through it. If you startle them or stick your finger in their mouth, this could lead to choking.


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