Stage One: Getting started with weaning
As we watch our little ones pass milestones and develop beautiful personality traits, we always try and prepare ourselves for the next stage of our family’s growing journey. Experienced parents and carers will understand the hesitation that comes from beginning the weaning process, but know it can be exciting too. With all of the family meals to be enjoyed over the years, the people who will join the table, and the creativity that will produce incredible food, there is so much to look forward to after this very first step!
When does the weaning journey begin?
Most babies start weaning at around 6 months old. This is the ideal time to introduce solids and encourage a healthy relationship with food. At this age, your baby will be getting most, if not all, of their energy from breast milk or formula, allowing them the time they need to get used to the sight, taste and smell of solid foods. It is always best to consult your doctor if you have any concerns about starting weaning, especially if your baby was born prematurely.
What is stage one of weaning?
Stage one is the very first step on your weaning journey. There are three defined stages: stage one from 6 months, stage two from 7 months, and stage three from 9 to 12 months. Stage one is the initial introduction of solid food.
What are the signs a child is ready to start weaning?
There is no perfect time to start weaning, as every child is unique and will be ready at a different stage. It’s highly recommended to start weaning at 6 months, but there are other ways to tell if your baby is ready to enter stage one.
If your little one is capable of holding their head steady whilst sitting upright, and has a good grasp of their fine motor skills and can bring their hands to their face, they’re likely ready to start on solids. Importantly, they will be able to control their tongue’s thrusting reflex so they can swallow more food than they push out of their mouth. By noting when your little one reaches each of these stages, you can be more confident that they are ready as you hit that 6 months milestone.
How do you start weaning?
It’s best to begin with one ‘meal’ a day during stage one. This will consist of safe, uncomplicated foods with easy textures that your little one can try. This is where your baby gets used to the taste of food and the sensation of having something consumable in their mouth. It is very likely that on their first tries, they will only consume a teaspoon or two. Their milk or formula consumption will not change at this time as the focus is on getting them used to the idea, rather than them receiving nutrients and energy from the food.
What foods are appropriate for stage one of weaning?
This is the fun part! Introducing your little one should be an enjoyable and exciting time for both of you. What we’re looking for are soft, cooked vegetables. We want simple textures that your little one can easily ‘chew’ on. Variety is really important, too, so your baby continues to be curious about trying things thanks to their colours and new flavours. It’s advisable to use vegetables as this helps your child begin a healthy and lasting relationship with these foods. Sweet vegetables are a great choice, too, as we all tend to be more susceptible to sweeter flavours!
How can we keep things engaging and positive?
Choosing the right time of day to give your child their one meal can help to keep things moving in a positive direction. Ensure that you allocate adequate time for your little one to explore these new things so they don’t feel rushed. They should also be well-rested, so that they have the energy to concentrate and enjoy these new discoveries. A great way to keep them engaged is by offering a variety of foods. A combination of foods they definitely like, as well as new things to explore, will make every day exciting!
BuggyBaby’s Top Tip for Stage One Weaning:
Keep things unpressured. There will be things your little one will like and dislike, but providing them with a place where they can explore is incredibly enlightening for both child and parent. This stage of their development is one of fun and excitement!
While this is a wonderful time, we know it can be difficult. There are lots of wonderful resources available for those embarking upon this journey, and we hope our article explains stage one clearly. This is the first step on a journey towards a lifetime of delicious food to be enjoyed alongside family and friends. Every journey is special and very different – take your time and enjoy the faces your little one makes as they learn all about the world of food and flavours!