The Easiest Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups

These Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups are baby- and toddler-approved, but great for the whole family! Make them in advance and stick them in the freezer to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast ready to go on busy mornings.

A cooling rack of freshly baked Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal Cups.

I don’t know about you, but our toddler always wakes up hungry and ready to eat. It seems like we can barely get a clean diaper on her before she’s begging “Food! Food!” Breakfast also so happens to be her favorite meal of the day, and she eats far more in the morning than she does for lunch and dinner, so we always try to have healthy, quick options on hand for her.

We’ve been big fans of baked oatmeal in our household for a while now. I love that it’s jam-packed with nutrients (especially with the right mix-ins) and that it’s handheld, resulting in much less of a mess than classic or even overnight oats make. While traditional baked oatmeals (in baking pans or dishes) are great, turning your baked oatmeal into single-serving cups ups the convenience factor and makes it really easy to only defrost what you need.

Here’s how this easy and tasty recipe is done!

What You Need

The good news is – not much! Most of the ingredients you’ll be using you’ll already have on hand, especially if you’re making this in the fall.

Rolled oats

I love getting the big bags from Trader Joe’s (these ones also happen to be gluten-free if you need that.)

Pumpkin purée

Buy the can OR make your own with this super simple homemade pumpkin purée recipe!

An apple
Milk

Any kind!

An egg
Maple syrup

And pantry staples like…

Baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice

As far as equipment, you’ll just need a cupcake pan (we love these silicone ones *affiliate link*), a couple of bowls, a couple of measuring cups, and a whisk!

An overhead shot of Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups cooling on a rack.

How to Make Baked Oatmeal Cups

Once you get the basic process of these Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups down, you’ll be able to create tons of different variations.

Simply whisk together the dry ingredients, whisk together the wet ingredients, combine the two, and bake. Easy as that!

Other ideas for flavor combinations might be:

Banana and chocolate chip
Sweet potato and orange
Zucchini and raisin
Peanut butter and apple
Cinnamon and berry
Vanilla and peach

The possibilities are endless.

A straight-on look at a freshly baked batch of Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal Cups.

How to Store Baked Oatmeal Cups

Once the cups are baked and cooled, place them in a gallon-size Ziploc and freeze for up to three months.

When you’re ready to serve, simply microwave however many you need for 30 seconds to a minute (maybe more if you’re defrosting a bunch at once.)

Just like my Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins or my Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Cookies, these cups are a great on-the-go option for busy mornings, or even a great travel snack when you’re on the road. 

Read on for the recipe and, if you want to learn more of my tips and tricks for feeding toddlers, be sure you’re signed up for my weekly newsletter!

A stack of Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups leaning against a pitcher of milk.

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

These Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups are baby- and toddler-approved, but great for the whole family! Make them in advance and stick them in the freezer to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast ready to go on busy mornings.

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: after-school, apple, baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, breakfast, freezer-friendly, meal prep, oatmeal, pumpkin, toddler
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 114 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (Use canned or follow the link in the Recipe Notes to make your own)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup diced apple
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cupcake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oats, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin purée, maple syrup, egg and vanilla.

  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Whisk in diced apple.

  5. Using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop mixture into prepared cupcake pan.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until oatmeal is set.

  7. Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before transferring to Ziploc for freezer storage.

Recipe Notes

Here's the recipe for homemade pumpkin purée!

Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes That Even Your Little One Will Love!

These Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes take a classic Sloppy Joe recipe and turn it into something the whole family – even your youngest eaters – will love. Sloppy Joe filling is tucked into fluffy crescent cups for a neater, handheld version of the popular weeknight dinner.

If you have questions about starting solid foods, consult a physician or health care provider.

An overhead shot of Not-So-Sloppy Joes laid out on a cooling rack.

This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.

I hope you’re ready for an easy weeknight dinner that the entire family is going to love, because these Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes totally fit the bill. They’re quick, easy, and so tasty you won’t even know they’re made specifically for tiny appetites.

That’s right, I’m thrilled to be partnering with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to bring you this baby-led weaning-friendly recipe and share all of the amazing benefits of introducing beef as a first food to your babes.

By now you likely know what a huge proponent I am of the baby-led weaning method, which encourages the introduction of ALL foods in their most natural form starting from very early on in a child’s solid food journey. With BLW, it’s recommended that foods like peanut butter, eggs, dairy, and, yes, beef are all introduced before a child turns one in order to expand their palates and set them up for optimal physical and cognitive development.

You can read more about the baby-led weaning method here. In the meantime, let’s dig into some of nutrition benefits of beef, and how it lends itself to these important developmental milestones.

A close-up shot of "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes in their baking pan.

Nutritional Benefits of Beef for Babies

Beef contains high-quality protein, iron and zinc, all of which are essential nutrients for a child’s healthy growth and development. With more than ten essential nutrients, beef can assist in improved recall skills and reasoning abilities, and also support brain health and optimal cognitive development. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of beef as a first food on BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

While beef purées are certainly an option for ensuring your baby receives all of these benefits, I wanted to create a recipe with beef in one of its more natural forms for all of my baby-led weaning fans out there. So how did I create a Sloppy Joe recipe that’s baby-led weaning approved?

A "Not-So-Sloppy" Joe on a kids' plate with zucchini and tomato salad.

 

Let me tell you!

Ground Beef Sloppy Joes That are Baby-Led Weaning Approved

If you’re not too familiar with baby-led weaning, there are a few things to pay special attention to when offering foods to your little one:

CHEWING AND SWALLOWING ABILITY

When presenting food to a babe who’s just starting to eat, you want to make sure it’s appropriate for his or her current chewing and swallowing abilities. Ground beef – which I used for these Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes – is a great option as it’s already in small pieces and easy to chew. It’s even “gummable” for babies who may not have many (or any) teeth yet.

SALT

Sodium deserves some special attention when it comes to cooking for your little one. While adults can consume between 1,500-2,300 mg of sodium a day, babies and toddlers should be consuming much less, between 400-800 mg per day. That’s why you won’t see any added salt in this recipe, however, if you feel you want more salt in your Sloppy Joe mixture, feel free to set some “joe” mix aside for your baby and then season the rest as you wish.

SUGAR

While many traditional Sloppy Joe recipes use brown sugar as a sweetener, I try to steer away from pure sugar as much as possible when cooking for new eaters. To sweeten up the sauce a little bit, I recommend adding just enough maple syrup to tone down the acidity of the tomatoes.

THE MESS

If there’s one thing anyone who’s already gone through baby-led weaning can attest to, it’s that it makes a huge mess! In BLW, babies are encouraged to practice self-feeding from the very beginning, so things definitely don’t stay neat and tidy. The great thing about this Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joe recipe is that the mess of the Joe filling will be at least somewhat contained by those fluffy crescent cups, and babies won’t even need to wield a fork to get to the good stuff.

"Not-So-Sloppy" Joes cooling on a rack, surrounded by a blue and white checked napkin.

While the nutrients in beef offer an ample amount of benefits, tomatoes and bell peppers give the recipe an extra dose of nutrition. With less mess and babies’ nutritional needs in mind, these “Not-So-Sloppy” Joe’s will be the perfect addition to your weeknight dinner rotation, not to mention they’ll be enjoyed by the whole family!

For more great family recipes and additional information about the health benefits of beef, be sure to check out BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

I’d love to hear all about your BLW adventures with beef in the comments below!

Ground Beef "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
42 mins
 

These Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes take a classic Sloppy Joe recipe and turn it into something the whole family - even your youngest eaters - will love. Sloppy Joe filling is tucked into fluffy crescent cups for a neater, handheld version of the popular weeknight dinner.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, beef, entree, kid-friendly, main course, weeknight
Servings: 24 cups
Calories: 212 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground mustard
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons coco aminos
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (for adults)
  • 3 cans refrigerated crescent dough (enough dough for 3 dozen crescents)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven according to crescent dough package directions. Spray cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until just translucent, about 3 minutes, then add bell peppers. Once bell peppers begin to soften, add Ground Beef. Stir in pan until it begins to brown, then add garlic powder and ground mustard. Continue stirring until most of the meat is browned.

  3. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to pan and stir until combined, then stir in the coconut aminos, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. If you want to add some salt for the adults and older kids in the family, now’s the time to do it, but go as light as you can. Turn the mixture down to low and let it simmer while you prepare the crescent cups.

  4. Unroll the crescent dough from its package and separate each triangle. Cut the top off of each triangle and then reattach it to the side to make a rectangle (as shown in the photos). Press rectangles one by one into the cupcake molds.

  5. Take a tablespoon measure and scoop 1-2 tablespoons into each crescent cup. Place cupcake pans in preheated oven and bake according to the crescent package directions (typically at around 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes), or until golden. Leave in pan until cool enough to touch, then gently remove, using a butter knife to gently ease them out if necessary.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

Your Ultimate Guide to Baby- and Toddler-Friendly Finger Food Recipes

This Ultimate Guide to Baby- and Toddler-Friendly Finger Food Recipes is your go-to resource when you’re looking for healthy recipes for your little one(s). It’s a comprehensive round-up that’s updated frequently, so you’ll never run out of ideas!

Title graphic for Your Ultimate Guide to Baby- and Toddler-Friendly Finger Food Recipes.

As a busy mom and entrepreneur, I know all too well the struggle to consistently have healthy meals and snacks on hand for our little ones. Heck, I even develop recipes for a living and still struggle with it! That’s why I’ve created this Ultimate Guide to Baby- and Toddler-Friendly Finger Food Recipes featuring creative, nutrient-packed recipes from some of my favorite mom bloggers.

This is a fantastic collection of both savory and sweet recipes that are easily portable and hand-held, because as moms I know we’re all about convenience. I will be updating this recipe collection regularly as I stumble across more great recipes, so be sure to keep checking back.

To start, I’ve broken the recipes down into two sections: Sweet and Savory. At this point, I hesitate to break them down further as I feel there are so many that can fit into multiple categories, but I’ll continue to break them down as I add more links if I feel it’s necessary.

If you like the looks of these and want more recipes ASAP, be sure to check out my e-book where I have 30 additional recipes that are all freezer-friendly.

Here’s my list so far!

SAVORY BABY- AND TODDLER-FRIENDLY FINGER FOOD RECIPES

Baked Butternut Squash Fritters with Parmesan
A stack of Butternut Squash Fritters on a plate. The perfect baby- and toddler-friendly snack!
by The Clever Meal
Breakfast Egg Muffins
Breakfast Egg Muffins are laid out on a table with a wholesome breakfast spread.
by Hungry Healthy Happy
Green Monster Crackers
Green Monster Crackers overflowing from a bowl. Another great snack for toddlers!
by Love in My Oven
Quinoa Frittata Muffins
A stack of Quinoa Frittata Muffins - a great baby-friendly finger food!
by My Kitchen Love
Mini Turkey Apple Meatloaf Muffins
A stack of three Turkey Apple Meatloaf Muffins - a great toddler-friendly snack!
by Haute & Healthy Living
No-Fry Crispy Quinoa Bites

by The Belly Rules the Mind

Cheesy Zucchini Tots
A plate of Cheesy Zucchini Tots with a side of dipping sauce is the perfect toddler-friendly finger food snack!
by Lemons and Zest
Baked Lentil Veggie Nuggets
A plate of Baked Lentil Veggie Nuggets - a healthy, baby-friendly finger food!
by This Healthy Kitchen

SWEET BABY- AND TODDLER-FRIENDLY FINGER FOOD RECIPES

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies
An overhead shot of a stack of Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies on a wooden cutting board.
by CaliGirl Cooking
Mini Sweet Potato Muffins
A stack of Mini Sweet Potato Muffins next to a glass carafe of milk. A perfect finger food for babies or toddlers!
by Love in My Oven
Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins
These one-bowl Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are super simple to make, freezer-friendly and naturally sweetened. They're both adult and kid-friendly!
by CaliGirl Cooking
Banana Blueberry Fritters
Hands holding a plate of Banana and Blueberry Fritters - a great finger food for babies and toddlers!
by Healthy Little Foodies
Air Fryer Apple Chips
An overhead shot of a plate of Air Fryer Apple Chips - a fun snack for babies and toddlers!
by Recipes From a Pantry
Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes
Make a batch of these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes the next time you do food prep and you'll have healthy kids' snacks for the rest of the week!
by CaliGirl Cooking

Do you have a favorite baby- and toddler-friendly finger food recipe?? Share it in the comments below and I may add it to this list!

My Go-To Meal Prep Hack: Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Instant Pot shredded chicken is the ultimate meal prep recipe. It takes less than 30 minutes to make and is versatile enough to use in different dishes throughout the entire week.

The Easiest Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is perfect when combined with some whole grains and roasted vegetables in a bowl for a healthy meal.

I’m letting you in on a little secret today! That’s right, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes from my e-cookbook that will set you up for meal prep success throughout the entire week. This Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is sooooo easy and takes almost no ingredients to make. And because it’s so simple, you can dress it up in a multitude of ways – no repeat meals here!

The simplicity of this chicken also makes it a great first food for baby if you’re following baby-led weaning. You can easily control the sodium by simply not adding any salt and season it with whichever herbs and spices you have a hankering to introduce to your child on any given day.

How to Make It

Seriously guys, I can’t think of any recipe that is easier than this one. And for all my Dish Density fans, this is pretty much the LEAST amount of dishes you’ll find in any of my recipes. (ICYMI, I introduced the exciting Dish Density feature on this post last week.) That deserves a lot of celebration, am I right?

All you need to do to make this super simple recipe is throw all of the ingredients into the Instant Pot, turn it on and set a timer [*affiliate link]. That’s it! The real fun comes after the chicken is made, when you get to come up with how you’re going to use it all up.

Two hearty bowls of Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken loaded with vegetables and whole grains are the perfect healthy meal!

But don’t worry, I have some ideas for you!

  • Throw it on top of a seasonal salad.
  • Use it as part of a filling for enchiladas.
  • Make tacos.
  • Stir it into a soup.
  • Put together a simple protein, veggie and grain bowl and top with your favorite healthy dressing.
  • Pile it on top of a bun with some BBQ sauce for tasty sliders.

These ideas right here are enough for almost an entire week’s worth of dinners, but I’d love to hear if I missed any creative uses you can think of!

The other great thing about this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is you can totally freeze it! So make it some evening or weekend where you have a 30-minute block of time, and pop it in the freezer for a go-to weeknight meal in the very near future.

If you can totally get down with the freezer meal idea (I mean, what busy parent can’t?), be sure to check out my e-cookbook for 29 more freezer-friendly recipes!

A bowl of the Easiest Instant Pot Shredded Chicken complete with veggies. A great option for baby-led weaning!

Easiest Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Instant Pot shredded chicken is the ultimate meal prep recipe. It takes less than 30 minutes to make
and is versatile enough to use in different dishes throughout the entire week.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baby-led weaning, chicken, Instant Pot, meal prep
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 121 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound each boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs (2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper, as desired
Dishes needed:
  • Instant Pot
  • 2 forks
  • Tongs
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in an Instant Pot. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Hit the “Pressure Cook” button and select High pressure for 10 minutes.

  2. The Instant Pot will take a while to warm up, then it will
    start counting down. Once the timer is done, make sure the valve has switched
    to vent to release all the pressure.

  3. Once all the pressure has been released and the chicken has
    cooled slightly, use two forks to shred it. After shredding, pour out any
    excess liquid.

  4. Once shredded chicken has cooled completely, place in a
    resealable glass container or plastic bag and freeze. You can also separate the
    chicken into individual portions before freezing if desired.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

When Is My Baby Ready to Start Solids?

These are some of the primary signs to look for when determining if your baby is ready to start eating solid foods.

A cute baby eating some of her first solid foods (and getting them all over her face) in her highchair.

**As with all of my posts related to baby-led weaning, I kindly remind you that I am sharing my experiences as a mother who has recently gone through this process and found great success in getting my little one to enjoy a wide variety of foods. I am sharing tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way in hopes that these posts will be another source of information you can gather from in the VAST array of research I’m sure you’re already doing to formulate whatever personal parenting style you choose to use with your children. I am not a doctor, registered dietitian or nutritionist and the information I provide should never take the place of or override that provided by these professionals. For more information on baby-led weaning, I urge you to read Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods – and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett [*affiliate link].

Okay, now that that’s all out of the way, I’m excited to share with you today three signs we looked for when deciding if our baby girl was ready to start on solid food.

Before I get to the list, though, I think it’s important that I give you a little background on our breastfeeding and formula journey (yes, we used both!)

A dad feeding his baby girl a bottle in a rocking chair.

OUR BREASTFEEDING (AND FORMULA) JOURNEY

I don’t think enough people get real about just how TOUGH breastfeeding is. Man, it is HARD WORK and something that requires intense concentration to get right, especially when you’ve suddenly had a tiny human thrust into your arms that you’re responsible for keeping alive. Lactation consultants are in high demand and it’s no wonder why. I am so grateful that my mom is a retired NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) nurse and also happens to have a good friend who is a lactation consultant, otherwise I have no idea what I would have done!

My little one had a strong latch from the very first time we tried to breastfeed, and that was a primary reason for why the nurses encouraged me to use a nipple shield right away [*affiliate link]. They didn’t want her destroying me before I’d even had a chance to meet with a consultant!

I ended up continuing to use the shield for a couple of reasons as time went on (until about 4 months old) and, even though it was yet another thing to juggle when I was trying to stay somewhat decent breastfeeding in public, I got the hang of it and it turned into no big thanggggg.

Mama breastfeeding her baby in bed with a cup of coffee in hand.

Things were going well for a while, but around month 5 it seemed like baby girl just wasn’t satisfied after we’d finish a nursing session. And let me tell you, it wasn’t because I didn’t give her enough time…She was a suuuuper slow nurser and would always happily nurse for a solid 20 minutes each side.

I’m sure you can imagine if you’re a mom, but this was stressing me out, and I can bet that wasn’t helping with my supply. This was the time my mom recommended we start thinking about introducing some rice cereal, and after clearance from our doctor to do so, we tried it.

Now, my little one has always loved food, but even though she seemed INTERESTED in the small amounts of rice cereal I started feeding her, the majority of it was ending up everywhere EXCEPT her mouth, and it still seemed like she was hungry. This was when we made the decision to start introducing some formula, for a couple of reasons:

  1. I was finally able to convince myself of the fact that I shouldn’t let my pride about “exclusively breastfeeding” get in the way of my daughter’s happiness and wellbeing.
  2. I need to start thinking of MY wellbeing, too. Was forcing myself to exclusively breastfeed when it was becoming really stressful the best choice for me and my mental state? That was a big, fat NO.
  3. I would continue to breastfeed, but would give her formula to SUPPLEMENT. Then it was a win-win: she (and I) both continued to reap the benefits of breastfeeding, but I would be confident in the fact that she was getting the nutrients and calories she needed through formula.

If you are familiar with baby-led weaning, then you know that your babe’s calories from solids are not intended to take the place of his or her calories from formula/breastmilk until they are around one year old. Rather, solids are meant to be a fun exploration for your little one. If they eat what you serve, great! But don’t worry about them NOT eating because their primary source of calories and nutrients is still formula.

I ended up continuing to breastfeed in some way or another until Raia was 10 ½ months (we would have gone longer but I had a trip to go on and was SO over bringing my pump with me), at which point we weaned to straight formula until 12 months, when we introduced dairy milk. Her milk intake had steadily dwindled the more she got into food, so it was an easy transition and, looking back, I have no regrets.

A cute baby stripped down in a highchair enjoying some of her first solid foods.

I promise I’m about to get into the “signs to start solids,” but before I do so I want to leave you with this little nugget:

It’s so easy to get caught up in society’s idea of the “perfect” way to raise your child, whether it be through exclusively breastfeeding until at least 12 months or putting your child in full-time childcare (and a million other examples). I want you to absorb the societal noise – don’t ignore it – but then take a step back and look at YOU and your family. What is best for YOUR overall wellbeing? We can’t forget ourselves. Screw society. We need to take care of US just as much as we need to take care of our littles.

That all being said, here are the three main signs we saw that told us Raia was ready for solids – and the signs you may want to look for in your little as well:

#1 Sitting Up Unassisted

You want to make sure your little has enough strength to hold him- or herself in a position that they can safely consume solid foods. This is crucial with baby-led weaning as you move straight to solid solids – not purées – and you don’t want them to choke! You can tell if your baby is at this point by placing them in their highchair and seeing if they support themselves or lean forwards or backwards (or sideways) to help prop themselves up.

A baby sitting up unassisted to show she is ready to start exploring solid foods.

#2 Genuine Interest in What You’re Eating

I mean, this video kind of says it all. Am I right?

Those mouth noises just crack me up! It was pretty obvious to us when Raia was starting to have an interest in solid foods. We’re talking, mouth open, ready for us to drop something in as soon as we took a bite. Another common sign of this might be them reaching towards food. Every baby is different.

#3 Adequate Motor Control

You don’t have to worry so much about their oral dexterity (they will learn this through the baby-led weaning process – it’s why gagging happens) but you want to make sure they have the manual dexterity to at least pick up properly prepared “sticks” or other larger pieces of food. You may have heard about the gagging that is often associated with baby-led weaning, but if you read the book I recommend [*affiliate link] you’ll see why gagging is a perfectly normal part of baby’s oral motor skill development. You can also watch YouTube videos on it to learn what to look for and the difference between “gagging” and “choking.”

And there you have it! Short and sweet, but you can see these are all pretty significant landmarks to look out for.

Mom letting baby nibble on a whole apple.

I hope this is helpful for you, and I also hope you’ll reach out with any additional questions.

If your little has reached all of these milestones and you’re ready to embark on your solid foods journey, check out this other related post on what I recommend for baby’s first foods!