Weaning is the gradual introduction of solid food for your baby, and each stage usually involves different flavours and textures to ease your baby into their weaning journey.
However, these stages can be confusing for parents, especially those who are on their first weaning journey. Here we've broken down the different weaning stages to help make things a little easier for parents.
Before embarking on your weaning journey, we recommend reading our blog When Should I Start Weaning My Baby?
Stage 1 is the introduction of solids, which usually begins around 6 months (sometimes earlier for medical reasons) and usually lasts around a month. This stage is all about first tastes and exploring a whole new world of textures and flavours!
Your baby will only eat a very small amount of solids at first, perhaps just one or two teaspoons. One meal per day is usually enough at this stage, and this most parents find the morning works best. Their intake of breastmilk or formula won't decrease much (or at all!), as this will continue to be their main source of nutrition.
The best first foods for babies are foods such as fruits and vegetables that are either cooked until soft, mashed or pureed. Avocado, boiled broccoli florets and carrots (boiled soft) are great options for this stage.
I want to try BLW: if my baby goes straight onto finger foods, does this mean they've skipped stage 1?
Even if you introduce finger foods at stage 1, these will be soft at the start (such as avocado slices and soft-boiled eggs), and these first tastes will technically still be stage 1 weaning.
Finger foods are not recommended if starting weaning before 6 months.
Mamamade meals suitable for stage 1 weaning:
Your baby will move onto stage 2 weaning usually between 6-9 months. At this stage you can continue introducing more flavours and also start introducing more interesting textures, and can also gradually increase the number of meals during the day.
At this stage they will be able to eat thicker or lumpier mashed foods and purees and also soft finger foods, which they can self-feed. This can help them develop their motor skills and self-regulation of food, as well as chewing practice.
It's also a good idea to increase your baby's iron intake at this stage, as babies born at healthy weights usually have enough iron stores to last up to 6 months. Iron can be found in lentils, leafy green veg and beans, and you can increase iron absorption by adding vitamin C (such as a squeeze of lemon! to your baby's food.
If starting solids at 6 months, you can also start directly with finger foods.
Mamamade meals suitable for stage 2 weaning:
Your baby will usually be between 9-12 months when they are ready for stage 3 weaning, but every baby is different and will develop at their own pace. This stage is about transitioning to foods more similar to family meals.
At this stage you can increase the variety of textures on offer, for example by offering raw carrots and apple slices. By the end of stage 3 (approx 12-15 months) they should be able to self-feed harder finger foods and some family foods.
Mamamade meals suitable for stage 3 weaning:
If you're about to start your weaning journey and confused by the different methods, then have a read of our blog Baby-Led Weaning vs Spoon Fed Weaning - Which Method Should I Choose?