Stage 1 weaning – baby’s first foods
The easy way to start solids with first weaning food recipes and nutritional advice
At a glance
Purees are a great way to get your baby used to different tastes and textures
Build up to a well-balanced diet that includes the five food groups
Go at your baby’s pace and stop when they’ve had enough – don’t force them to finish up
Start introducing a cup or beaker instead of a bottle
It’s time to start weaning! This is a big step for you and your baby, and it’s important to get them into healthy habits right from the get-go. Begin with purees until your little one is comfortable swallowing food.
When to start weaning
For your first feed, pick a time when your baby isn’t tired and you’re not in a rush. It may take a while for your baby to get used to taking food from a spoon, so patience is a must. Try following these simple steps:
- Your baby is hungrier and more alert first thing, so it’s a good time for new foods
- Sit baby upright in a high chair with no distractions, like TV, mobiles or tablets
- Give them a little of their usual milk first to relax them and take the edge off their hunger
- Babies like sweet tastes, so good first foods include pureed fruit and naturally sweet vegetables, such as carrot, peas and sweet potato
- If the puree is too thick, add a little of your baby’s usual milk or some cooled boiled water
- Serve food lukewarm or at room temperature
- Only try one new food at a time, combining flavours after a couple of weeks and praise them for trying something new
How much should I feed my baby?
When it comes to weaning portion size, it’s good to remember that:
- Babies have little tummies and need lots of calories for growth - so give them full-fat versions of milk and dairy products
- Fibre leaves less room for more nutritious food so avoid giving them too much
- Go at your baby’s pace and stop when they show you they’ve had enough
- Offer a couple of teaspoons once a day plus their usual milk feeds - gradually building up to three times a day
What should I feed my baby?
Just like us adults, it’ll be no surprise to hear that babies need a healthy, well-balanced diet. There are five food groups which provide all the nutrients your baby needs to grow healthy and strong.
Each meal and some snacks should be based on this food group, which includes rice, pasta, potatoes, breakfast cereals, couscous, quinoa, bread, crackers and rice cakes. They provide calories, B vitamins, folic acid and some calcium and iron.
Vary the types of starch you choose. But try to avoid wholemeal bread and pasta, and bran-based foods which have too much fibre, as well as cereals with added sugar and added salt.
Fruit and veg
A good variety of fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit and lots of vegetables will give your baby vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals. You can start with less than five portions a day, but work your way up to five as weaning progresses.
Milk and dairy products
Cheese, yoghurts and fromage frais help provide energy and fat-soluble vitamins and are an excellent source of calcium, protein and other vitamins and minerals too. It’s fine to give your baby dairy products made of cows' milk such as yoghurt. However, it’s recommended that you don’t give cow’s milk as a drink until after their first birthday, though it can be used in weaning foods from six months.
From six to 12 months, your baby will need the equivalent of 500-600ml of milk a day, which is about a pint. If your baby is over six months old and you want to move on from breast milk, SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk is designed to complement the weaning diet.
Meat, fish and alternatives
Once your baby has mastered simple fruit and vegetable purees, you can begin to introduce proteins. A healthy diet includes at least one portion of meat or fish a day, or two portions of an alternative like eggs, beans, lentils, pulses, nuts and seeds. These foods provide iron, protein, vitamins and minerals. Oily fish also provides omega-3 fatty acids. Each week aim for two to three portions of red meat as it is a good source of iron, and two portions of fish.
Fats and sugars
Butter, cream, cakes, pastries and biscuits all fall into this group and shouldn’t be a big part of your baby’s diet. Instead, give your baby healthy, non-sugary snacks like fruit, rice cakes and natural yoghurt with their favourite fruit pureed and stirred in.
Foods to avoid
Put simply, you shouldn’t give your baby salt, sugar, whole nuts, cows' milk as a drink, undercooked eggs, low-fat foods, saturated fat, shark, swordfish and marlin, honey or raw shellfish.
When to move from bottle to beaker
Aim to introduce a beaker with a spout or a sippy cup by six months, and cut out all bottles by the time your baby is 12 months old, unless advised otherwise by a healthcare professional.
- Keep bottles out of sight when you start offering your baby drinks from a cup
- Replace one of your baby’s bottles with a cup for one meal in the day (when your baby is not too tired). Offer water or diluted fruit juices at meal times if you are weaning
- Seat your baby upright at a table before being offered something to drink. This encourages a good drinking position and puts the cup at the right starting height. You will need to hold the cup for them at first
- Once they get used to using a cup for one meal, replace another daytime bottle with a cup
- Replace the bottle your baby is most reliant on last. For most babies, this will be the last bottle of the day
Stage 1 weaning recipes
Sheree will take you through her simple recipes for fruit and vegetable purees and yummy milkshakes and smoothies.
Root veg puree
- 75g of butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 100g of parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
- 200g of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Boil or steam the parsnips, squash and sweet potatoes together until they are all tender. Cool to room temperature, then puree to create a smooth consistency before serving.
Strawberry and banana smoothie
- 50g strawberries, washed and hulled
- 50g banana
- 60ml of your baby’s usual milk
Start by washing your fruit well, and then chop up your fruit into small chunks. When using strawberries or raspberries you’ll need to sieve them to get all the pips and seeds out. Mix the fruit with the milk. Blend it or use a smoothie maker if you have one.
Apple and pear puree
- 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and finely sliced
- 1 pear, peeled, cored and chopped
- 4 tbsp water
Put the fruit in a saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil, then turn down, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, checking it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Puree and then let it cool to room temperature before serving.
Banana and mango puree
- 1 small banana, peeled and skinned
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and stoned
Simply mash or puree together the banana and mango.
Breakfast recipes for babies
- A knob of butter
- 1 small banana, peeled and sliced
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- Pinch of cinnamon
Melt the butter in a small pan and cook the banana for one minute. Add the orange juice and the cinnamon and cook for another minute. Mash or blend as required. Check that it has cooled to room temperature before serving.
- A handful of sweet cherries, halved and pitted
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 small, ripe banana
Put the cherries in a small pan with the water and simmer for about two minutes until soft. Take them out and puree with the banana. Check temperature and serve when cooled.
Pear and Apricot Porridge
- 150 ml baby’s usual milk e.g. SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk
- 15g porridge oats
- 6 ready to eat dried apricots, chopped
- 1 large ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into pieces
Put the milk, porridge oats and chopped apricots in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer, stirring occasionally for three minutes. Mix together with the chopped pear then serve. Let it cool before feeding.
- 60g peeled banana
- 30ml of water
Peel and chop the banana into little pieces. Place this in a bowl, add the water, and cover with cling film. Pop some air holes into the covering and cook in your microwave at full power for around two minutes (900w). Blend the banana mixture using blender until smooth. Let it cool before feeding.
Peaches and Strawberries over Wheat Biscuits
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 ripe peaches, skinned and chopped
- 75g strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2-3 tbsp of your baby’s usual milk e.g. SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk
- 1 wheat biscuit
Split the vanilla pod and remove the seeds. Place the fruit and pod in a pan with the water, cover with a lid and cook gently for around seven or eight minutes. Take the pod out, mash up the fruit and set to one side until cool. Place wheat biscuit in a bowl, pour about 2 or 3 tablespoons of your baby’s favourite milk over it and mix into a loose paste. Pour the peach and strawberry over the paste and serve. A perfect start to your little one’s day. If there’s any fruit mix left over, freeze in ice cube trays to defrost for another breakfast treat.
Apple and Plum Yoghurt
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 small dessert apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 ripe plums, stoned
- 4-6 tbsp full-fat yoghurt
Put the fruit in a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes, until tender. Remove the plum skins and puree the fruit before mixing with the yoghurt. Cool before serving.
Strawberry and Pear Smoothie
- 50g strawberries, washed and hulled
- 50g tinned pears in natural juice
- 60ml of your baby’s usual milk e.g. SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk
Place the fruit in a bowl, add the milk, cover with cling film (with holes popped in) and cook in the microwave at full power for three minutes (900w). Mix with blender until perfectly smooth. Check temperature before serving.
- 1 pear
- 1 tbsp of water
Wash, peel and chop the pear into small pieces. Put in a bowl covered with cling film that has holes in it. Cook at full power for 30 seconds (900w). Take out and blend into a smooth puree. Cool before feeding your baby.
Lunch recipes for babies
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 400g can green lentils in water, drained and rinsed
- 2 x 400g canned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- ¾ tsp mild curry powder (more for older babies)
- Little olive oil for frying
Cook the onion and celery and carrot in a little olive oil until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, reduce the heat then simmer for 25 minutes. Check temperature, and once cooled, serve with rice.
Lentil and Tomato Soup
- 55g split lentils
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped small
- 500g carton creamed tomatoes
- 600ml vegetable stock (make sure it’s low-salt if shop bought)
Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, half covered for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Sweat for 10 minutes, then add the carrot and celery and sweat for another couple of minutes. Add the cream of tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 25 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced. Take off the heat, add the lentils and the blend everything until smooth and creamy. Once you’ve checked temperature and it’s sufficiently cooled, serve with toast soldiers.
Chicken and Vegetable Stew
- 20g turnip
- 100g carrot
- 50g potato
- 15g diced chicken
- ½ tsp vegetable oil
- 100ml of water
- A pinch of dried thyme
Wash, peel and cut the vegetables into very small pieces – about ½ cm cubed. Place the veggies in a bowl, add the water, cover them with cling film with holes punched in and cook for six minutes at full power in your microwave (900w). Add the chicken and cook for another 30 seconds. Crush the thyme until powdery and add to the mixture. Put in your blender with the vegetable oil and blend to a smooth consistency. Serve once you’ve checked the temperature.
Chicken in Tomato Sauce
- 25g chopped onion
- 100g red pepper, chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 small chicken breast chopped into chunks
- 100g potato, peeled and chopped
- 200g canned chopped tomatoes
- 150ml chicken stock (low salt)
Sauté the onion and the pepper in the oil until softened. Add the chicken and potato and cook for three minutes. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 30 minutes. Chop in a blender to a consistency that’s right for your little one, and serve with rice or potatoes once you’ve checked temperature.
My First Chilli
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 50g finely chopped onion
- 20g chopped celery
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- ½ can cooked kidney beans in water, drained and rinsed
- 100g lean minced beef
- 300g canned chopped tomatoes
- ½ tsp dried cumin
- ½ tsp dried coriander
- Pinch of mild chilli powder
Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and celery over a low heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally until softened. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. In a separate pan, dry fry the minced beef until browned, stirring occasionally. Add this to the onion and celery. Pour the tomatoes over everything and add the kidney beans and spices. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes. Puree if necessary in a blender, check temperature and serve with rice when cooled.
Dinner recipes for babies
Beef with Sweet Potato
- 100g lean casserole steak, diced small
- 1 onion
- A little oil
- 275g sweet potato
- 300ml stock (low salt)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Soften the onion in a casserole dish on the stove. Add the meat and brown it. Then add the sweet potato and stock. Bring it to the boil, then transfer it to the oven and cook for around 1½ hours until the meat is tender. Make sure it’s cooled down, then blend or chop it to the right consistency for your baby.
Lamb and Winter Veg Casserole
- 100g lean casserole lamb, diced small
- 1 onion
- A little oil
- 275g mixed winter veg (e.g. parsnip, carrot, swede, sweet potato)
- 300ml stock (low salt)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Soften the onion in a casserole dish on the stove. Add the meat and cook until it’s browned. Then add the vegetables and stock, bring to the boil and transfer to the oven for approx 1 ½ hours until the meat is tender. Then blend or chop to the required consistency and check temperature before serving. Freeze into small portions and use as required.
Haricot Beans in Tomato Soup
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 can haricot beans in water, drained and rinsed
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ tsp dried mixed herbs
- A little olive oil
Fry the onion in the olive oil until it’s soft and translucent. Add everything else except the beans, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the contents from the pan and mix in your blender until everything is smooth. Return the mixture back to the pan, add the haricot beans and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Take off the heat, mash everything into a soft, smooth consistency, and check temperature before serving. Serve with potatoes, or toast.
Red Lentils and Butternut Squash
- 50g split red lentils
- 120g butternut squash, peeled and diced
Boil the lentils in water until they’re soft. Meanwhile, steam or microwave the squash until it’s tender. When the lentils are cooked, drain them in a sieve. Then put lentils and squash in a bowl and blend with your hand blender until you’ve a puree smoothed to your baby’s favourite consistency. Check temperature before serving.
Chicken and Mushroom Casserole
- ½ an onion, chopped finely
- 1 chicken breast, skinned and diced
- 1 dessertspoon olive oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 3/4 button mushrooms, wiped and thinly sliced
- 150ml water
- 50g frozen peas, thawed
Gently fry the onion and chicken until the chicken is cooked on all sides. Add the carrot, mixed herbs, mushrooms and water. Stir and cover. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, before adding the peas. Cook for another five minutes until the peas are warmed through. Blend to the consistency your baby loves. Check the temperature before serving, it shouldn’t be too hot or too cold.
Strawberry Rice Pud
- 50g pudding rice
- 600ml baby’s usual milk e.g. SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp pureed strawberries
Put the milk and vanilla extract into a heavy bottomed saucepan and mix in the pudding rice. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and mix in the pureed strawberries. Cool, then serve.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The best way to feed a baby is to breastfeed, as breast milk provides the ideal balanced diet and protection against illness for your baby and also many non-nutritional benefits for both baby and mother. We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional when deciding on your choice of feeding your baby. Professional guidance should also be sought on the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding. If you do choose to breastfeed, it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Infant formula is intended to replace breast milk when mothers choose not to breastfeed or if for some reason they are unable to do so. A decision not to breastfeed, or to introduce partial bottle-feeding, will reduce the supply of breast milk. If for any reason you choose not to breastfeed, do remember that such a decision can be difficult to reverse. SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk is only suitable for babies over 6 months as part of a mixed diet. It should not be used as a substitute for breast milk during the first six months. The decision to start weaning or to use this product before six months, should be made only on the advice of a doctor, midwife, health visitor, public health nurse, dietitian or pharmacist, based on baby’s individual needs.