Weaning Milestones: What to aim for at different ages

The first few months of weaning can be filled with many questions. . . At what age should I introduce a beaker with water? When do I start offering a second meal or snacks? How old should my baby be before I give them harder textures?

These are all very important questions and ones I hear all the time.

In this post I share a quick guide of what to introduce at different ages; 6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months and 12 months.

As always, it’s important to remember that babies progress at different rates and weaning rarely looks the same between two children. This guide is not an exact science every baby has to follow but rather it will help give you a feel for how fast you should be moving forward and what you can work on introducing next.

If your baby isn’t doing any of the things listed under their age, that’s totally fine. Celebrate the things they are doing and slowly try introduce new things that are appropriate for their age one at a time.

While I was weaning both my boys, I found it really helpful to know what was advised for different ages and what I was aiming for in the months to come. I hope you find this as helpful as I did!

Around 6 months (not before 4 months)

  • At this age you will be thinking about starting to wean.

For more information see my post ‘How to introduce solids: Day One’

6 months old

  • Your baby should be having about 4-6 milk feeds per 24 hours
  • 1-2 meals a day
  • Start soft finger foods
  • Give soft smooth purees or mashed foods from a spoon (unless you’re doing baby led weaning)
  • Increase the variety of food you’re offering your baby
  • Introduce a free flow cup or beaker containing water with meals. Note: tap water can be given from 6 months so there’s no need to pre boil it anymore… Yay!
  • Introduce foods rich in iron. For the importance of iron rich foods, see my post ‘Introducing solids – Week Two’

6-9 months old

  • About 3-4 milk feeds per 24 hours
  • 3 meals a day
  • 1-2 courses per meal
  • Include a variety of food from the 4 main food groups – fruit and vegetables, dairy, carbohydrates and protein.
  • Introduce fruit or yoghurt after a meal as a second course
  • Mashed foods with soft lumps via a spoon
  • Sipping water from a free flow cup or beaker
  • At this age your baby will probably happily be self-feeding soft finger foods.

9-12 months

  • About 2-3 milk feeds per 24 hours
  • 3 meals a day
  • 2 courses per meal
  • Soft chopped family foods, from a spoon or your baby self-feeding with their hands
  • Your baby may start trying to self-feed with a spoon
  • Start offering harder finger foods
  • Focus more on giving family foods
  • Can start giving snacks between meals if your baby is eating his or her meals well.

12 months

  • About 2-3 breastfeeds or 500ml of formula per 24 hours
  • 3 meals per day
  • 2 courses at each meal
  • 2 snacks between meals
  • Drinking water from a free flow cup
  • Eating family foods
  • Managing most textures. Although this may depend on how many teeth your baby has and they might still struggle with really hard or very chewy textures, for example raw carrots or meat. But this will come as they get a bit older.

It’s important to remember that babies’ gums are really hard. Yes, teeth obviously do help, but if your baby’s teeth haven’t appeared yet they can still chew soft foods so there’s no need to wait till they have teeth. Soft fruits, for example strawberries, peach slices and banana, softly cooked vegetables and pasta can all be eaten before your baby has teeth so don’t hold back if you’re still waiting for them to pop out.

And as with all guides. . . this is just a guide! Remember all babies are different and some progress faster than others. If your baby isn’t doing something I’ve mentioned for their age that’s ok!

Hopefully the above guide will help you know what you can introduce next and thereby help your baby progress with weaning. It’s more important that your baby is advancing with weaning and taking small steps forward than what exactly they are or aren’t eating or drinking!

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