What is stage 1 of weaning?
Stage 1 of weaning is the start of introducing foods to your baby which usually begins with soft, pureed foods. This is when we get baby used to trying new foods and eating in general. It’s a great idea to get baby used to different foods now so they might not become fussy eaters later. This is also when your baby starts to develop their ability to chew, move food around their mouth and swallow.
When to introduce stage 1 to your baby?
It is recommended this stage usually starts when your baby is roughly 6 months old. Every child is organic, and you’ll be able to tell when they’re ready to start weaning. Your baby should be ready to start eating solid foods when they can sit by themselves, can hold their head up, is able to swallow food and can pick food up by themselves and put it in their mouth.
Stage 1 weaning foods
During stage 1, you want to start with weaning foods like soft and pureed foods; think soft cooked sticks and pureed fruits and vegetables, yoghurt, and mashed avocado.
Some vegetables that are great to start with are:
- Sweet potato
Carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato are delicious because they're naturally sweet, and if you want to introduce some soft cooked sticks of fruit or fruit purees, here are some good options:
Tips for stage 1 weaning
Some helpful tips to adjust to the 1st stage of weaning:
- Start by giving your baby solid foods once a day and do it at a time of day that is the most convenient for you both.
- Babies have small stomachs and can fill up quickly, so if you’re going to give them some milk with their solid food, offer milk feeds after the solid food.
- Put them in a highchair for mealtimes. They need to be upright to swallow their food properly and with a highchair, they can also safely be strapped in.
- Buy ice cube trays, so you can make baby food in large amounts and then freeze it in individual portions.
- Get a cup they can sip water from during meals to get them used to drinking from cups instead of only drinking from a bottle. This will also help your baby to stay hydrated.
- Get a spoon that’s specifically made for weaning. You can get a rubber or plastic soft weaning spoon. It will be kinder to their gums.
- Ideally, get bowls with suction bases that will stick to the tray of the highchair. Babies will often flip over their bowls and throw them on the ground – but not if you get special bowls like these.
- Get a mat you can put under their bowls or a mat you can put under the highchair to catch any food “escaping” from the bowl, especially if you’re choosing the baby-led weaning option where your baby feeds themselves.
- Stay with your baby while they’re eating in case they choke.
- Always remember to wash your hands before preparing baby food.
How to feed your baby when out of the house?
What should you do when you’re out and about and you need to feed baby?
- Be prepared. You don’t want to be caught off guard if baby gets hungry. Either prep food before you leave the house or plan so you can get something on the way or where you’re going.
- Know which stores stock which foods so that when you’re on the go and baby gets hungry, you’ll know where to shop.
- On days when you’re out of the house, you can keep it simple by choosing foods you don’t have to heat up like yoghurt, soft fruits like bananas and prepped baby food you get from the store.
- Since they’re still drinking breast milk or formula at this age, you can give them milk when you’re out.
- If your baby is comfortable with suitable finger foods and you’re at a restaurant, you can give them suitable finger foods from your plate.
Time to move onto stage 2
Once baby is ready and has become used to eating smooth solid food, baby can progress to stage 2 of weaning. During stage 2, you can introduce more textures and tastes to your baby and incorporate lumpy textures like mashed potatoes and also finger foods.
Once they’re used to eating different textures, they can move on to the last stage. With stage 3 of weaning, your baby will eat an even bigger variety of foods and can start to eat with the family in smaller portions.
Don’t forget the milk
It’s important to carry on giving your baby breastmilk or formula while weaning as they will still get most of their energy and nutrients from the milk.
From 6 months old, you can give your baby a vitamin supplement to help ensure they get all the nutrients they need in a day. A supplement containing vitamins A, C, and D is recommended, but if your baby is consuming more than 500 ml of formula per day, they should not take supplements as formula is fortified with these vitamins and various other nutrients. Breastfed babies should get a vitamin D supplement from when they are born. Speak to your health visitor for more advice on vitamins.
Stage 1 of the three stages of weaning is all about introducing your baby to solid foods. You get to play around with which foods they try and can help them develop a good palate. Who knows, they might even develop a love of trying new foods and not be scared to try anything new when it comes to food.
All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health matters for further information or medical advice, please speak to your GP or a Pharmacist.