Different stages of weaning

Weaning is all about learning and babies only accept and start to enjoy new tastes and textures if they get to try them.

Progressing through the weaning stages

Adapted from Clinical Paediatric Dietetics 3rd ed. 2007

When your little one is confident eating solid food, a variety of foods from four food groups should be included every day, so they get the full range of nutrients. Ideally these nutritious foods should be ones the rest of the family eat too:

The four food groups are:

  • Starchy foods – potatoes, rice, oats, pasta and other cereals
  • Meat, fish, eggs, smooth nut butters and pulses such as lentils, dhal, hummus
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Full fat yoghurt and cheese. Full fat milk can also be used during cooking.

Which foods when?

Stage 1: 4 to 6 months

Any of the following foods can be introduced as the first weaning food, but most mothers begin with cereal, root vegetables or fruit, mixed with their baby’s milk.

All vegetables

All fruits

All cereals such as rice, oats, wheat and corn based

Lean meat, poultry or fish – well cooked

Eggs – well cooked

Dhal, lentils, hummus, chick peas and other pulses

Nuts – ground or as nut butter, e.g. ground almonds and smooth peanut butter

Plain fromage frais and yoghurts

Grated cheese melted onto warm foods.

Texture

Begin with a runny purée for the first few tastes. Then move on to thicker purées or well-mashed food as your baby becomes used to taking food from a spoon.

Skills to learn:

  • Taking food from a spoon
  • Moving food from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing
  • Managing thicker purées and mashed food

Stage 2: 6 to 9 months

You can include all the foods above, and in addition:

Liver – limit to one small serving per week because of high levels of vitamin A.

Texture

Mashed food with soft lumps and soft finger foods. Meat may still need to be puréed but can be mashed if it is very soft.

Skills to learn:

  • Moving lumps around the mouth
  • Chewing lumps
  • Self-feeding using hands and fingers
  • Sipping from a cup

Examples of soft finger foods

Soft fruit pieces, e.g. mango, melon, banana, soft, ripe pear, peach, papaya and kiwi

Cooked vegetable sticks, e.g. carrot sticks, green beans, courgette sticks, potato and sweet potato

Cooked vegetable pieces, e.g. cauliflower and broccoli florets

Cooked pasta pieces

Crusts of bread or toast

Cheese cubes

Roasted soft vegetable sticks, e.g. potato, sweet potato, parsnip, pepper, carrot, courgette.

Drinks

Sips of water from a cup at meal times – meals should end with a milk feed or milk pudding

Well-diluted fruit juices from a cup, which aid iron absorption from vegetarian foods.

Stage 3: 9 to 12 months

You can include all the foods above, and family foods that have been prepared without salt or sugar.

Texture

Minced and chopped foods, finger foods (such as raw fruit and vegetable sticks) and a variety of family foods, such as sandwiches or toast.

Skills to learn:

  • Chewing minced and chopped food
  • Self-feeding attempts with a spoon

After 12 months of age

From the age of one year most toddlers can eat family foods, aiming for a balanced diet. This may include foods that are not recommended in infancy:

Honey

Foods preserved with salt, such as bacon and tinned foods with added salt

Unpasteurised soft cheeses

Foods with added sugar – they should be offered only at meal times to avoid dental decay.

Drinks

You can introduce full-fat cows’ milk into your toddler’s diet at one year. Semi-skimmed milk should not be introduced until your little one is two years old.

Please be aware that the information given in these [articles] is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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