Inside: get easy 8 month old baby-led weaning meal ideas, a sample feeding schedule, plus a free printable meal plan!
So you’ve successfully started baby-led weaning at 6 months, and your baby is doing well with simple first foods. Avocado? Banana? Sweet potato? Yes. Yes. And Yes.
And now you’re sort of wondering where to head next…so you Google or Pinterest to find tons of baby-led weaning ideas for 8 month olds and you start to wonder if you’re doing it right.
- Should my baby be eating right off my plate by now?
- Able to chew and swallow table foods?
- Pick up blueberries or puffs with their chubby little fingers?
Let me be the first one to say: relax, you’ve got this. (also, what was I thinking with that bib??)
Remember that whole “fed is best” thing? That applies here, too.
Even if you started by spoon-feeding purees, or your baby (or you) couldn’t handle stick-shape foods, mama, it’s okay. I always like to remind moms that what foods are given is far more important than how foods are given.
Ultimately, in my opinion, there’s no right or wrong way to start. You have to do what makes you comfortable. And as long as baby is self-feeding, then you’ve got the baby-led factor down.
By 8 months old both of my girls were ready for more complex, recipe-based foods.
With my first baby, I went with “stick-shape” or handheld foods to start. But with my second (who couldn’t quite get the hang of it without utterly terrifying me), we went with mashed up foods for her to play with and eat.
For most babies who are on track developmentally, between 7-9 months is when you’ll find they’re ready for table foods.
What are Table Foods and When Should My Baby Eat Them?
“Table food” is a catchall term for the food on your plate, or more or less, whatever the rest of the family is eating.
Depending on what foods your baby has tried in the past, and what size and shape food they’re familiar with, you may find that you can cut up some food directly from your plate, place it on their highchair, and they’ll scoop it right up in their tiny fist to eat right alongside you.
Depending on their breastfeeding or formula-feeding schedule, they may be interested in eating with you at every meal.
For me, this is the best part of baby-led weaning. No extra baby food to make. Just baby eating the same foods as everyone else.
But wait, what about salt, sugar, and other no-no’s?
When it comes to feeding your baby, especially using the BLW method, it is essential to limit foods with added salt and refined sugar.
- How To (Salt) : If you’re cooking for the whole family, be sure to remove a portion to a separate bowl before adding salt (or of course anything spicy). For instance, if I was making homemade bolognese sauce, I would make the recipe as intended, ladle out a portion for baby, and then add salt to the pot.
- How To (Sugar): Look for recipes that use fruit or real maple syrup as a sweetener. A baby’s taste is very different from ours, so foods don’t need to be especially sweet for them to enjoy it.
Remember that there are many unsafe foods for babies under 1, such as honey and cow’s milk. Be sure to check an informational website such as BabyCenter for a full list.
What Foods Should Be Included in my 8 Month Old’s Diet?
As with a toddler, babies (even those who are still breastfed) benefit from a variety of foods from various food groups.
- Fruits & Veggies: preferably in their whole form (for example: steamed green beans have more nutritional value than green beans blended in a store-bought pouch)
- Whole Grains: real whole wheat bread (we like Dave’s Killer Bread), pasta, rice, rolled oats, etc.
- Healthy Fats: avocado, nut butters, whole milk yogurt, grass-fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk & coconut oil
- Healthy Proteins: beans, eggs, tofu, chicken, turkey, fish, & grass-fed beef
Note: Please remember that I am not a pediatrician or dietitian. The advice and recommendations provided here are for informational purposes only, and based on my experiences with my kids. Always consult your pediatrician with concerns you have about your baby.
Alright, so we’ve covered the “What” and the “Why” – now it’s time to tackle the “When” —>
Sample Baby-Led Weaning Feeding Schedule (for an 8 Month Old Baby)
This a basic daily routine for 8 months through 1 year, where most babies take 2 naps. Every child has different needs, so please adjust according to your schedule.
You may also find that your baby does not want to eat at each meal, or doesn’t eat much – and that’s okay. It’s all about exploration at this point.
7:00 AM – Wake Up + Breastmilk or Formula
8:00 AM – Breakfast: Avocado toast sticks, blueberries, whole milk yogurt
10:00 AM – Morning Nap
11:30 AM – Wake Up + Breastmilk or Formula
12:30 PM – Lunch: Good-quality flaked tuna, cucumber sticks, chopped tomatoes, whole wheat pita triangles
1:30 PM – Afternoon Nap
3:30 PM – Wake Up + Breastmilk or Formula
5:00 PM – Dinner: Spaghetti with tomato sauce and homemade turkey meatballs
7:00 PM: Bedtime + Breastmilk or Formula
8 Month Old Baby-Led Weaning Meal Ideas
As the whole point of BLW is that everyone eats the same thing, when we were using this method, I would cook one meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the whole family (toddler included), using simple ideas such as the ones below.
Please note that how you cut your baby’s food is up to you.
There is no one-size fits all approach to baby-led weaning. By 8 months, I was able to serve food that was chopped, or in “chunks” – if you feel your baby is not ready for that, and still needs handheld or “stick-shape” food, that’s totally fine!
Mix & Match Meal Ideas
Breakfast (main protein + grains)
- Cheesy kale frittata fingers
- 4 Ingredient Mini Egg Waffles
- Scrambled eggs
- Baked oatmeal (made in mini muffin tin)
- Whole wheat pancakes or waffles (cut into sticks)
- Whole milk Greek yogurt (my girls both loved homemade yogurt melts!)
- Avocado or nut butter on toast
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries – halved, raspberries)
- Segmented clementines
- Sliced peaches
- Apple rings (core out apple, peel, cut into thick rings, saute in butter until soft)
- Banana (cut in half crosswise or in chunks)
Lunch (main protein + grains)
- Black beans and rice
- English muffin pizzas (cut into sticks)
- Thick-flaked tuna (such as Wild Planet, shown below)
- Rotini or Cavatappi with homemade pesto or tomato sauce (no salt added in either)
- Hummus and whole wheat pita sticks
Lunch (fruit + veggies)
- Steamed green beans
- Cheesy Broccoli Bites
- Sliced avocado
- Sliced or quartered tomatoes
- Cucumber sticks
- Steamed or roasted carrot sticks
- Apple slices (dip in yogurt or spread thinly with nut butter)
- Watermelon triangles or sticks
- Halved blackberries
- Penne in homemade tomato sauce and homemade turkey or chicken meatballs (chopped in bites)
- Pinto beans, tortillas, shredded cheese, chopped tomato and avocado (aka Taco night with toppings)
- Mini turkey meatloaves (bake in a muffin tin), homemade sweet potato fries, roasted broccoli
- Baked or roasted flaked salmon, steamed peas, and long grain white rice
- Greek Salad: grilled chicken (shred or chop), tomatoes (chop or quarter), feta cheese chunks (make sure it’s pasteurized), cucumber sticks, and homemade dressing
And because I always have a hard time remembering all the ideas I find online, I decided to create a *free* printable PDF with all of these easy 8 month old baby-led weaning meal ideas.
Just click to download and you can save to your phone or print for the fridge!
A good friend of mine recently started baby-led weaning and was curious about my favorite products, which I recently shared in this post on First Foods – but I also wanted to sneak in some favorites here as well.
- Self-feeders: Great if you want to try BLW but are afraid of giving your baby pieces of food. You can fill these feeders with small foods like blueberries or cherry tomatoes! Perfect for teething babies as well.
- Tyler Florence’s Baby Cookbook: While this book is not specifically meant for BLW, the recipes definitely work for a baby learning to self-feed (we used it that way!). We are obsessed OBSESSED with this book. I make the Ginger Chicken & Coconut Rice at least once a week. Just trust me (this book also makes a great baby shower gift!).
More Baby-Led Weaning Resources for 8+ Months
- Gluten-Free Baby-Led Weaning Recipes
- Baby-Led Weaning Breakfast Ideas
- Best Foods Month-By-Month
- 6 Month Old BLW Meal Ideas & Feeding Schedule
- Everyday Baby-Led Weaning Guide (PDF Download)