Stage 3 Weaning
In stage 3 weaning you’ll learn how to cope with fussy eating and about the positive impact of sharing mealtimes with your little one.
At a glance
Sharing mealtimes encourages a healthy interest in food and helps to develop social skills
Tips for coping with fussy eating
Handy portion size advice
New foods you can introduce from 12 months
By the third stage of weaning your baby should be eating a good variety of foods with varying tastes and textures from the different groups. By this point, your family will probably be eating the same foods together, so remember not to add any sugar or salt.
Your little one may have already developed the word ‘no’, and may be more than happy to use it! But don’t be deterred as they are just trying to show their independence.
Eating with your little one
Eating together will get your little one interested in what you’re eating and wanting to try it too. By stage 3 weaning, they should be having a balanced diet with the appropriate amounts of all the food groups listed on stage 2.
Remember that you should try not to use food as a reward as this may encourage inappropriate eating habits. Little ones are still learning to distinguish hunger and thirst, and often get confused. If they say they are hungry between meals, try and give them a drink before offering a snack.
As your baby develops, they’ll be more likely to voice their independence, and this may mean they become fussier about what foods they like and dislike. This can make mealtimes stressful, but don’t worry this is a common phase. Here are some tips on how to handle fussy eating:
- Give your child the same food as the rest of the family (remember not to add any salt)
- Eat your meals together so your child can see you eating and can copy you
- Remember that your little one doesn’t need as much food as you, so always give them the appropriate portion. You can find a handy guide suitable for babies 12 months and older here.
Foods to introduce from 12 months
In the third stage of weaning and from 12 months, you can introduce whole grains (good source of fibre and they usually contain a higher amount of nutrients), honey and diluted fruit juice. Your little one still shouldn’t be eating salty or sugary foods, raw shellfish, shark, swordfish and marlin (contain high levels of mercury), foods high in saturated fat, and low fat foods (infants need full fat foods to support growth).
Role of milk
Now that your little one is eating three balanced meals a day, and some healthy snacks in between, the amount of milk they need will have reduced.
You should avoid giving cows' milk as a drink before their first birthday. SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk, suitable from 6 months onwards, is designed to complement the weaning diet.
Once your little one is 12 months or older, their milk consumption should again reduce to around 400 mls a day. They can now have cows' milk as a drink. We recommend SMA® PRO Growing Up Milk as it is fortified with key nutrients such as iron and vitamin D.
You've successfully reached the end of stage 3 and by now your little one will be enjoying a good variety of foods! We'd love to hear all about your weaning experience, so do get in touch with the SMA Careline® and share your feedback.
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. Using infant formula also has social and financial implications which must be considered. Infant formula should always be prepared, used and stored as instructed on the label, in order to avoid risks to a baby’s health. 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 6 months. The decision to start weaning or to use this product before 6 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. . SMA® PRO Growing Up Milk is suitable for young children from 1-3 years, as part of a healthy balanced diet and it is not a breast milk substitute.