Baby-Led Weaning for Vegetarians
7 min read
Weaning can come in many forms, but some aspects will always remain the same: it’s all about new tastes, textures and nutritious goodness!
If you want to make sure your little one gets everything they need from their veggies, check out our weaning tips for vegetarians below!
Weaning is the journey that your little one goes on as they move from relying on milk feeds towards enjoying the same meals as the whole family. Generally, weaning will start from around six months (sometimes earlier) and will continue through to 12 months and beyond until they begin to eat regular family meals.
What is Baby-Led Weaning?
As the name suggests, baby-led weaning (or BLW) is just another form of weaning. The journey and goal are the same, but the method is slightly different.
BLW is all about allowing the baby to take more of a leading role in what they eat. Again, there are slightly different ways you can do BLW, but most of them involve giving your little one a choice of finger foods for them to explore at their own pace. Baby-led weaning is said to help little ones develop a sense for when they’re feeling hungry. Having autonomy with their food can also keep them more engaged with the weaning journey.
The Difference Between Baby-Led and Traditional Weaning
Traditionally, the weaning journey starts with spoon-feeding mashed or pureed foods. These purees can be made of individual fruits or vegetables, or they can be a combination of flavours.
In the traditional method of weaning, what the baby eats is almost entirely up to the parent. This approach can be beneficial because you can introduce your little one to flavours they might otherwise turn down if they were given a choice of tastes.
Is BLW right for me?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong method of weaning for you and your little one. Every baby is different - some will love traditional weaning, while others might be more enthusiastic about baby-led weaning.
Often, many parents and healthcare professionals find that a combination of traditional and BLW methods is best. Traditional weaning can be a great way to introduce new tastes, while finger foods and baby-led weaning are great for allowing your little one to experiment with textures at their own pace.
Things to Consider When Vegetarian Weaning
Here at Babease, we believe that vegetables should be at the heart of weaning for all babies, not just vegetarians. A wide variety of vegetables can provide incredible goodness to your little one while also developing their taste for greens at the beginning of their food journey. Vegetable-led weaning is a great way to start your little one on a good path regarding their life with food.
While vegetables are full of goodness, foods such as meat and fish can also provide essential nutrients for growing babies. However, with good planning and a variety of veggies, it is possible to wean your little one healthily with a vegetarian diet.
One of the main things we get from meat is protein. Not only do meats tend to contain high amounts of protein, but they are also better sources, providing ‘complete’ protein with the amino acids we need.
Thankfully, there are many good vegetarian sources of protein, such as:
- Beans and pulses
- Ground nuts and seeds
- Dairy and eggs
The main thing is to make sure your little one gets a variety of these to enjoy a wide range of protein sources and get all the essential amino acids they need.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid that provides a range of benefits for our bodies and is most commonly sourced from oily fish. Similar to protein, there are vegetarian sources, but these tend to not be as well-absorbed by our bodies.
The best sources of omega-3 for vegetarians are seed oils, which can be used when cooking:
- Rapeseed oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Walnut oil
- Linseed oil
In a vegetarian diet, dairy products can be hugely important for getting the nutrients you need. Dairy not only delivers calcium for your little one but it’s also a good source of protein, iodine, B vitamins (such as B2 and B12) and more.
Vegetarian Baby Weaning Food
If you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to giving your little one a varied vegetarian weaning diet, our recipes section is full of exciting ideas for all ages!
These little jewels are so simple to make and perfect for little fingers during baby-led weaning! They also include some wonderfully-nutritious ingredients and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Tamari Roasted Omega Mix
Seeds are an incredible source of goodness and a significant part of any vegetarian diet. This simple recipe is also a great way to introduce your growing baby to different textures.
Roasted Vegetable Sticks
This recipe is a must-have for any vegetarian baby-led weaning. vegetable sticks are a great way to try new vegetables while also experimenting with different textures.
Babease Top Tips for Vegetarian Weaning
Vegetarian weaning can introduce some new things to consider, but the aims of weaning remain the same. The same goes for whether you’re planning to do baby-led weaning or a more traditional method.
- Variety - Make sure your little one experiences a wide range of tastes and flavours. On a vegetarian diet, also consider providing a wide range of nutrient sources.
- Patience - Weaning is a journey experienced by you and your little one and can happen at different speeds for different people. Don’t worry if your little one turns their nose up one day; just keep trying, and they’ll get there!
- Fun - Weaning should also be an enjoyable experience, so try to make mealtimes as fun as possible! Yes, it can feel stressful at times, but remain enthusiastic and have fun with your little one to keep them engaged.
Every weaning journey is unique, whether you’re going down a traditional route, doing baby-led weaning or a combination of the two. While raising a vegetarian baby can present some unique challenges, it is still a time in their life that you will both thoroughly enjoy!
If you are searching for more weaning advice, be sure to explore our blog full of guides, tips and tricks!