Introducing solid foods is one of the most exciting—and messy—developmental milestones in your baby's first year. Starting solids is their first step toward discovering and exploring a world of flavors and textures—from juicy melon slices to creamy mashed avocado.
There are several ways to introduce your baby to their first foods. One option is baby-led weaning, a "finger food first" approach to feeding babies.
What is Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)?
The health experts of Contemporary Pediatrics consider baby-led weaning a safe, alternative method for introducing new foods to babies who are developmentally ready to ingest solids. It is a growing trend that skips purées and spoon-feeding altogether, allowing your child to self-feed from the first bite.
Instead of gradually transitioning from spoon-fed purées to family foods as the baby grows older, BLW encourages parents to serve bite-sized bits of food from the start.
As the parent, you decide what foods to offer, as well as how to prepare and when to serve them, for your baby to best feed themselves. Your baby, in turn, gets to choose what, how much, and how quickly to eat.
What are the benefits of BLW?
Choosing BLW offers many benefits, ranging from forming healthy eating habits to preventing excess weight gain.
Aside from promoting hand-eye coordination and motor development, BLW can also help your baby gain independence by allowing them to feed themselves, choose the food they want from what you've prepared, and eat at their own pace.
You also can't overfeed with BLW since your baby will eventually learn to self-regulate as they differentiate between being hungry and full. “They’re not going to overeat because they’re in control of what’s going in their mouth and what they’re swallowing,” says pediatrician Kimberly Churbock, MD
With your baby exposed to a greater variety of foods, this feeding method can even help you raise a foodie instead of a fussy eater.
When can you start BLW?
Wait until your baby is ready to eat solids. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children can start eating solids at about six months old—when they can sit upright in a high chair without assistance and with good neck control.
If you think your baby is developmentally strong enough and shows signs of readiness for solid foods at four or five months old, whip out Lalo’s First Bites Starter Kit and sit your baby in the best high chair you can find.
Just remember to get your pediatrician’s approval first before feeding your baby solids if they’re younger than six months old.
Is a high chair necessary for BLW?
While you could sit at the table with your baby on your lap, a high chair will make baby-led weaning a smoother experience. The best high chair for BLW can make mealtimes safer, more fun, and easier to clean up.
A high chair gives your baby independence and you more freedom to move about while still being nearby as your baby enjoys a meal with the family.
What should you look for in a high chair for BLW?
To help you find the best high chair for BLW for your baby, we’ve highlighted a few key features you’ll want to look out for when you go shopping for one.
Easy to Clean
Your baby learns by watching and copying what you do. They'll learn to eat the same way you do, using their own bowl and spoon. The suction bowl or plate and little spoon from Lalo’s First Bites Full Kit make for great first feeding tools because they're all made with non-toxic and BPA-free silicone. They’re dishwasher-safe, too!
Eating on their own takes quite a bit of trial and error before food successfully makes it into their tiny little mouths. You should expect a lot of throwing, rolling, pressing, and mashing of food—which is exactly what you’ll want to see! BLW encourages your baby to experiment with food, textures, tastes, and smells—and this involves a lot of fun mess. Make sure you’re ready for it!
This is why you'll need a high chair that's easy to clean after each meal. Choose one with a detachable tray and with no crevices. It’s also a good idea to get a high chair with removable or wipeable seat covers, pads, and straps for easier clean-ups.
Safety and Stability
Your baby’s safety should always come first when choosing the best high chair. A five-point safety harness can provide the safest way to prevent your baby from standing and climbing out of their high chair. It can also keep them from falling off because the straps secure their legs and body.
- Always check that the base is stable, the legs are sturdy, and there is no danger of the high chair tipping over—no matter how much your baby wiggles and squirms. It is critical to ensure that the high chair can properly support your active, growing baby despite frequent use and movement.
Lastly, if your high chair has wheels, ensure they can be locked to keep the chair from rolling when in use.
Comfort and Correct Positioning
You want your baby to be comfy in their chair so that they enjoy mealtimes. A high chair with a footrest can help your baby stay comfortable, safe, and balanced on their high chair while they dig in a plate of sweet potato wedges.
And even before your child’s legs are long enough to reach the footrest, the seat of an ideal high chair should also support a good sitting position. Always put your baby in an upright, 90-degree position, with their shoulders in line with the hips or leaning slightly forward when they’re eating.
Fits the Dining Table
Having your baby join family meals and enjoy the same food as everyone else—just in soft, bite-sized pieces—is one of the best things about BLW. Everyone in your family gets to eat together! Get a high chair that you can pull up to the dinner table close enough for your little one to eat off their tray and join the family bonding over meals.
Grows with Baby
Some toddlers don’t leave the high chair to sit in a regular dining chair until they’re two years old or older. For longevity and durability, invest in a high chair your baby can grow with to help you save money in the long run.
Get a high chair that converts to a booster seat that you can safely secure to a dining chair. This way, your little one can join the big table, practice eating with the rest of the family, and start learning good eating habits and table manners.
Meet Lalo’s The Chair
Are you looking for the best high chair with all the key features for your baby? Lalo’s The Chair ticks all the boxes!
🗹 Easy to Clean
The Chair and its machine-washable accessories are thoughtfully designed for easy cleanups. It goes perfectly with our non-toxic, microwave- and dishwasher-safe suction tableware. The tray is also simple to remove and reattach for those extra messy meals.
🗹 Safety and Stability
The Chair has a five-point safety harness to keep your baby from standing up, wiggling out, or slipping off their high chair. It’s incredibly sturdy and will stay in place no matter how active your baby is.
🗹 Comfort and Correct Positioning
The Chair comes with a reversible, elevated footrest that makes it more comfortable for younger babies. Simply flip the footrest over to make room for your baby as they grow. What’s more, the seat of The Chair is designed to properly support young babies even before they can reach the footrest.
🗹 Fits the Dining Table
Its modern, minimalist design blends in beautifully with any space. Choose from five delightful colors to complement the walls of your home.
🗹 Grows with Baby
The Chair is built with versatility, functionality, and longevity in mind. You can use it in three ways as your little one grows and develops.
Use it as a high chair when your baby starts eating solids. Convert it into a booster seat and let your baby join the family at the table. And when your baby turns into a toddler ready to have more fun, transform it into a play chair!
Introducing solid foods to your baby can be a challenge, especially if you're a first-time parent, but the best high chair and baby products can help make the process a lot easier for you and your little one.
If you’re looking to get started with baby-led weaning, visit our shop and check out Lalo’s Eat Collection!