Stage 3 Weaning
Learn how to switch to chopped up foods for third stage weaning with our finger food recipes and advice for meals on the go
At a glance
Finger food helps your baby develop their pincer grip and coordination
Keep it simple - toast and eggs any way are finger food favourites
Sharing mealtime encourages a healthy interest in food and social skills
Prepping the day before helps make it a breeze to take baby out for mealtime
Now mashed up food is sorted, your baby may be ready to progress to chopped up or finger foods and they’ll almost be ready for mealtimes with the family. Eating together will get your baby interested in what you’re eating and want to try it. Here’s a few basic reminders to help keep things on track:
- Always wash fruit and veg before it becomes finger food
- Use a separate chopping board for raw and cooked foods. And always use separate boards for raw fish or meat
- Wash boards and utensils with hot, soapy water after each use
- When your baby gets the hang of the 'pincer' thumb and finger movement, finger food should be easy to hold
- Always wash your baby’s hands before they eat — and after
- Give finger foods that are gentle on gums as teeth may be starting to come through. Cool cucumber will help soothe sore gums
- Let your baby hold a spoon so they can start to learn how to feed themselves. But stay by their side in case they need a helping hand
Food has become more important and your baby will begin to need less milk. Offer them three meals a day, plus some healthy snacks in between, as well as 500-600ml of milk. Getting all the nutrients can be challenging while weaning but SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk is designed to complement the weaning diet. Made up SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk can be poured over cereals and mixed with food. Try using it when cooking instead of the water or fruit juice in weaning recipes. This will help to top up essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and iron.
Finger foods for babies
Babies love this quick and easy finger food almost as much as parents. Why?
- Toasting bread makes it sweeter
- Babies without teeth can gum toast to soften it making it easy to swallow
- Add cream cheese or melted cheese to a little tuna
Soft, cooked or dried fruit encourages your baby to eat a healthy diet now and in the future thanks to many vitamins and nutrients.
- Vitamin C is important for your child’s health and their immune system
- Vitamin A helps with the immune system and your baby’s eyesight
- Fibre will help keep the digestive system healthy
Sweeter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, broccoli and sweet potato are ideal finger foods.
- Try veg steamed, boiled, roasted or fried in a little olive or rapeseed oil. Roasting sweetens vegetables and helps retain their vitamins and minerals
- Serve veg with a cream cheese dip or Greek yoghurt
- Green veg are packed with vitamins, fibre, calcium and iron
- To camouflage the taste, blend veggies into foods your baby enjoys or finely chop and add to soups
This delicious lunch is perfect for little fingers.
- Add frozen peas and sweetcorn straight from the freezer when cooking to bump up the vitamins
- Scramble free range or organic eggs for a quick and easy protein hit
- Add cheese for more flavour, but don’t add salt
- Add finely chopped veg to an omelette and top with cheese
How can I feed my baby when eating out?
As you become more confident with feeding your baby, you’ll want to enjoy family time out and about. Try a picnic – there’s a lot less to clean up compared to indoors. Here are some tips for stress-free meals on the go:
- Plan the day before. Shop for food, lay out clothes and pack a bag, so you can have a leisurely start and set off relaxed
- Prepare your own picnic so your baby gets only nutritious foods
- Keep food fresh by using an insulated bag with a freezer pack
- Babies drop spoons on a regular basis, so pack spares
- Bring a change of clothes as well as lots of wipes and kitchen roll in case it gets messy
- 200ml SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk cartons are ready to use and convenient for when you’re out and about with your little one
Stage 3 weaning recipes
Sheree helps your little one get to grips with minced food and takes you through her Turkey and Red Pepper burgers recipe for mealtimes at home. She also cooks up a treat for when you’re out and about. Watch the videos now.
Turkey and red pepper burgers
- ½ an onion, finely chopped
- 200g of turkey mince
- ½ large red pepper,finely chopped
- 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Firstly, finely dice half an onion and add to your bowl. Add the turkey meat, breadcrumbs and parsley into the bowl and mix together until they are well combined. Once you’ve mixed your ingredients, add the chopped pepper and lemon juice and bind together. Now shape the burger mix into small patties and cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. Pre-heat your oven at 180ºC. Place the burgers on a tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with homemade potato wedges or sweet potato mash. Refrigerate remaining burgers in an airtight container for up to 24 hours or freeze when cooled.
Chicken and apple balls
- 2 chicken breasts chopped finely in a food processor
- 1 large apple, peeled and grated
- ½ small onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- Plain flour
Grate your apple, and squeeze out a little excess liquid. Mix the apple with the chicken, onion and breadcrumbs. With your hands, form a mixture into about 20 little balls, roll in flour and fry in a little oil for about 5-10 minutes until lightly golden and cooked through. Let it cool to room temperature before serving. If you have any mixture left over, refrigerate in an airtight container and cook within 24 hours.