Weaning stages & Textures: Explained

Stage 1 – Baby’s First Food

Stage 1 represents the first 1-2 weeks of introducing solid food to your baby’s diet. Baby’s first foods must be easy to digest. The texture of food offered should progress from a runny and absolutely smooth consistency to a slightly thicker purée with no lumps.

  • Smooth foods can be prepared by cooking foods well.
  • Blend the food with breast milk, formula milk or cooled boiled water until it is a smooth and runny consistency.
  • Your baby’s usual milk (breast milk or formula milk) can be used to modify the texture of the food – the baby will recognise the taste.
  • Once your baby is 6 months of age, small amounts of pasteurised full-fat cows’ milk can be used to prepare weaning foods (but not as a drink).
  • Pass the food through a sieve or puree it to remove any lumps. Smooth foods should have no big lumps, pips, seeds or skin.
  • Foods should be the same texture throughout. Do not mix food textures at this stage.
  • Don’t give your baby high-salt or highly-processed foods, e.g. gravies and or packet/jar sauces, and don’t add salted butter or spreads to their food.
  • Foods can be prepared in bulk and frozen in small portions using sterilised ice-cube trays.

Ideas for first food

  • Gluten-free cereal, e.g. baby rice.
  • Vegetable purée, e.g. carrot, parsnip, turnip, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, courgette.
  • Fruit purée, e.g. banana, stewed apple, pear, peaches, apricots, plums, melon.
  • Meat, e.g. red meat such as lamb and beef, poultry and fish purées(just watch out for any bones).

Stage 2 (6-9 months)

Once your baby has learnt to accept smooth foods, move on to mashed food with soft lumps and offer soft finger foods with all meals.

  • Mashed foods are a smooth but a slightly lumpy consistency.
  • This can be achieved by mashing food with a fork, using your baby’s usual milk to aid mashing.
  • This stage is a great time to experiment with flavour combinations, but remember not to add salt to any of your baby’s food.
  • Finger foods encourage independence in eating. Your baby can pick up, hold and feed themselves the soft finger food.

Ideas for stage 2:

  • Mashed vegetables e.g. carrot, parsnip, turnip, butternut squash
  • Mashed fruit e.g. banana, stewed pear & mashed avocado
  • Mashed/Minced meat, poultry and fish (watch out for any bones) with soft lumps
  • Well-cooked eggs, bread, pasta, cheese (pasteurised) and yoghurt can also be added to your baby’s diet.

Stage 3 (9-12 months)

At this stage, your baby should be able for a wider variety of foods in greater textures.

  • At the start of this stage, move on from a mashed texture to lumpier foods by mashing less well and adding less milk so that the food becomes increasingly thicker and lumpier.
  • Once the lumpier foods are tolerated, move on to chopped foods by cutting foods into small bite-size pieces.
  • In addition to mashed/chopped foods, encourage your baby to self-feed by providing firmer finger foods as soon as your baby is ready.
  • More than two different textures can be offered in the same dish during this stage.
  • In general, butter/dairy spread should not be added to your baby’s food. Use unsalted butter when it’s required in a recipe.
  • If extra fluid is required, your baby’s usual milk, cows’ milk or vegetable water can be added to the food to achieve the correct consistency. Do not add packet/jar sauces, gravies, salt, or sugar to your baby’s weaning foods. Encourage savoury and plainer tastes.

Ideas for stage 3:

  • Slightly firmer finger food e.g. Fruit slices – banana, pear, strawberries, kiwis, soft cooked chunks of vegetables e.g. carrots, cubes of cheese

It is very important not to leave your little one alone when eating

TIP – Using a messy mat under your highchair will catch any spillages and save you having to wipe the floor!
Best of luck on your weaning journey! If you would like more information on weaning – speak to one of our advisors on 1800 570 570