It can be very confusing when it comes to weaning with lots of different information available.
Here is a simple breakdown of the three stages of weaning and what you should expect (including lots of mess, food waste and possibly flying cutlery!)
Stage 1 (around 6 months, not before 17 weeks)
- This stage is all about exploration where your baby becomes familiar with taking foods from a spoon.
- One new food should be introduced at a time with each new food spaced 1-2 days apart. New foods should ideally be given early in the day.
- The food offered should become increasingly varied so that your baby can experience different tastes and flavours.
- Start by offering a runny texture, and gradually move to slightly thicker purées without lumps. Offer 2-3 meals per day of about 5-10 teaspoons per meal.
- Continue to breastfeed on demand or the give usual amount of formula, offering solids during or after the milk feed.
- Suggestions for first foods: gluten free cereal e.g. baby rice, pureed fruit, pureed vegetables and pureed chicken or fish (remember to remove any bones and make sure they are well cooked).
Stage 2 (6-9 months)
- When you and your baby are ready, you can start to increase the amount of solid food. At this stage you should try offering approx. 3 meals a day of about 2-4 tablespoons per meal (build it up gradually over these months).
- Continue to breastfeed on demand or give 600-800ml formula milk every day. Space spoon and milk feeds apart.
- At this stage of weaning it is also important to start introducing slightly lumpier consistencies to your baby. The consistency of food should be minced or mashed textures and soft finger foods.
- In addition to vegetables, fruit and meat/fish, you can now start to incorporate well-cooked eggs, bread, pasta, cheese (pasteurised) and yogurt into your baby’s diet.
- This is also a great time to experiment with flavour combinations so try giving different foods together.
- Suitable soft finger foods include chopped banana, softly cooked carrot sticks, softly cooked pasta pieces or fingers of soft toast.
Stage 3 (9-12 months)
- At this stage, your baby should be able for a wider variety of foods in greater textures, and should be able to manage more than 2 textures in one meal.
- You should base your baby’s meals and snacks around normal family foods and mealtimes.
- Increase the variety of foods to allow your baby to experience more tastes and flavours. Offer 3 meals plus 2-3 nutritious snacks. The approximate size of each meal should be 4-6 tablespoons but this will depend on your baby’s appetite.
- Foods should be more lumpy foods, and you can also offer chopped foods in bite-sized pieces and harder pieces of finger food that your baby can pick up and feed himself should also be offered.
- Continue to breastfeed on demand or give your baby their usual milk feeds per day (maximum of 600ml/20oz). Space solid and milk feeds apart.
For more information on weaning call our free phone careline at 1800 570 570.