A Guide to Stage 3 Weaning
7 min read
Stage 3 of weaning marks the beginning of your little one’s journey into eating more regular meals.
After progressing through the stages of weaning and getting to grips with purees and finger foods, the third stage will offer even more foodie fun! Here, we provide parents with some of our top tips to make this transition into stage 3 that little bit smoother!
The Weaning Stages
As you may know, the weaning journey is usually broken down into three broad stages:
- Stage 1 (from around six months) - Your baby’s first tastes of solid food.
- Stage 2 (from around seven months) - The introduction of more textures, flavours and ingredients, sometimes in the form of finger foods.
- Stage 3 (from around ten months) - The further introduction of more regular meals and reduced milk feeds.
As your budding foodie moves into stage 3, they will continue to become more reliant on solid foods and begin their transition to eating three meals a day to fulfil their nutritional needs and fill their stomachs!
If you are unsure about any of the weaning stages, take a look at our comprehensive guide.
When to Start Stage 3 Weaning
As with the previous stages, your little one will develop at their own pace and this will guide the journey. As a very general guide, stage 3 weaning tends to start at around ten months of age.
However, every baby is different, so don’t fret if they seem to deviate from this slightly. Some babies will be ready for more solid food somewhat earlier than this mark, while others may take a little longer to feel ready.
If you are ever concerned about your baby’s weaning development, make sure to get in touch with a healthcare professional who will be able to give tailored advice to your little one.
Getting Started With Stage 3 Weaning
The final weaning stage is all about getting your little one to a point where they are starting to enjoy three solid meals a day.
These meals will start as small portions; let your baby take control of how much they eat - they will eat until they are full and may not always be able to finish a meal. Continuing to introduce a variety of finger foods is also important here as it gives little ones more control over what they are eating and offers opportunities to explore new, crunchier textures.
By 12-15 months, your budding foodie will have graduated to a fully-fledged one! At this point, they will be enjoying regular meals throughout the day with the rest of the family.
Babease Top Tip
Spread out meals throughout the day to give them a chance to develop an appetite for solid meals later on in the day. Light snacks throughout the day can prevent your little one from getting too hungry and offer more chances to experiment with finger foods and textures.
Stage 3 Weaning Foods and Meals
By this stage, your baby should be getting used to soft lumps and a variety of textures. They may also be ready for crunchier finger foods like harder vegetable shapes or breadsticks as they progress.
Finger foods made out of a range of veggies are packed full of goodness! Vegetables that made great finger food include:
Offer a wide variety, including more bitter-tasting vegetables to encourage a broader palette and enjoyment of all veggies!
More lumps can also be introduced here, with hearty stews making a great meal option that can provide a range of textures, flavours and nutrients. However, you should still take care to mash or chop more difficult foods where appropriate to accommodate little mouths.
To make meals more variable, you can also offer a small dessert after the main course in the form of chopped fruit or unsweetened yoghurt.
Babease Top Tip
Although they may be able to enjoy a wider variety of foods, make sure to stay away from potential choking hazards like whole nuts or uncut grapes for now.
As your little one starts enjoying family meals, you should also avoid foods and recipes with a high salt or sugar content as this is not good for them.
Reducing Milk Feeds
Even though solid foods are starting to reduce your baby’s reliance on milk, they will still need some milk to support their nutritional needs. Milk feeds, whether this means breast milk or formula, should continue until 12 months.
During stage 3, milk feeds may be reduced to around two or three times a day. For those breastfeeding, your baby will adapt their feeds depending on how much food they’re now having.
If using formula, it is recommended that you give your baby around 400ml per day during stage 3.
Babease Top Tips For Stage 3 Weaning
We know that the weaning journey is exciting, but it can also be challenging at times! Our top tips will have your little one eating through the final weaning stage with ease.
Eating as a family will allow you to model for your little one as they follow your lead with eating and enjoying a meal. Setting a consistent family mealtime routine shows your baby what to expect from these more regular meals and helps set some good habits.
Give your little foodie the same food as the rest of the family to ensure they are included in the mealtime experience. If you’re ever on the go, make sure to bring some food along to keep to your regular mealtime schedule.
When eating, try not to place all your focus and attention on your little one. Let them soak up the mealtime atmosphere and take things at their own pace.
Praise Good Eating and Ignore Fussiness
You are bound to be given a grumpy refusal every now and again but don’t worry - this is not necessarily a sign that they do not like the food! Refusing certain foods may just be a way for your little one to test their independence.
Focus on encouraging and praising your little one as they eat, especially when trying new foods.
Get Them Involved
Food should be part of a multi-sensory experience, with sight, smell and touch being just as important as taste.
Get your little one to point out what ingredients they want as part of their meal to encourage them to feel excited and involved during the preparation process. You can also show them how to mash certain foods to explore texture and make the whole meal experience fun and intriguing.
Hopefully, our top tips have given you a place to start, allowing you to embark on stage 3 of the weaning journey with confidence and excitement!
For more support, explore our blog which has helpful information on all things weaning.