When I started feeding my son solids, I stuck with purées for a good couple of months, like many of the other new moms I knew. So I was intrigued to learn about Baby-Led Feeding: Easy, All-Natural Recipes for you and your Baby & Toddler, a new book by Jenna Helwig, the culinary-school-trained cook, cookbook author (we called her second book, Smoothie-licious, one of our top 3 smoothie cookbooks for families), and senior food editor of Parents magazine.

The premise is that finger foods are actually a perfectly acceptable — and even preferable — way to introduce food to babies, as opposed to purees.

Yeah, this book had me at less boiling, blending, and spoon-feeding.

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Related: A no-stress guide to starting your baby on solids. 

Baby-Led Feeding | Jenna Helwig

Fruity Pops and Pumpkin Pie Pops for toddlers: Recipe from Baby-Led Feeding by Jenna Helwig

Jenna’s Fruity Pops and Pumpkin Pie Pops. Find the Nuby Frozen Pop Trays on Amazon.

Helwig was inspired to write the book upon immediately falling in love with the concept of baby-led feeding. Jenna explains that it wasn’t a “thing” when her daughter was a baby, but she wishes it had been because, like me, she appreciates that the approach encourages parents to think of feeding time with babies as playful and stress-free (or as stress-free as possible). I haven’t found that to be a typical take-away from most DIY baby food books.

It also describes the benefits of baby-led feeding for the baby — oh hey, remember the baby? —  including improving fine motor skills, helping babies know when they’re full, and easing them into table food. Also, while there are no guarantees, baby-led feeding helps ensure that some children accept a wider variety of foods. As in insurance against later pickiness. Hey, I’ll take that!

And of course, she’s included loads of recipes that take you way beyond the first year, even if you do also supplement with purees. I’ve tried quite a few of Helwig’s recipes and so far my toddler has gobbled up every one I try.

Less judgment and more creativity around feeding kids? That’s my kind of book.

Pick up your copy of Baby-Led Feeding: Easy, All-Natural Recipes for you and your Baby & Toddler at our affiliate Amazon or at your local bookstore and learn more about Jenna Helwig on her author website.