Is 100 Foods Before 1 the Best Way to Wean Your Baby? 
You'll find them all over social media and Etsy. Beautiful weaning plans and checklists to help you introduce your baby to 100 foods before 1.
But is there actually any benefit to starting weaning in this way? Will giving your baby 100 foods before 1 actually make them any less fussy? Will they be more open to trying new foods?
And what exactly are the rules? Do you count foods when they are licked and spat out, or only if the food is eaten? How many times should you offer these foods? And does it count more than once if you offer them both cooked and raw? Let's find out!
100 foods before 1 - is it possible?
If you start weaning at around 6 months, that gives you 182 days to play with. Let’s say you offer 1 meal for the first month, then 2 until you are giving 3 meals at 9 months. That’s roughly 360 meal occasions to offer new foods at. So 100 before 1 should be easy right?
Well, first think about how many different foods you eat on a daily basis. Or over a week. It’s probably not that a huge number. Partly due to preferences but also due to budget and meal planning. You might be concerned with reducing food waste, or limited by what’s available near you. Maybe it depends on what's foods are on offer that week and who is cooking. We are creatures of habit, and most of us stick to what we know and like.
You may want to introduce your baby to aubergine but hate it yourself, and never cook with it, so buying a whole aubergine and preparing it for your baby to have a small nibble is going to feel like a big inconvenience and a waste of money.
Check out these tips for managing food waste whilst weaning
We also know that babies need to taste a food many times before they really like it. And for most babies tasting a new food only comes after familiarisation. Babies need to see and experience the food in their environment first. And that means you eating and cooking with it yourself.
Having aubergine that 1 time just to check it off a list - what's the lasting impact really going to be?
What are the 100 foods before 1?
Here's the thing. Depending on where you look and who you follow, the 100 foods can look quite different. There are so many variations and combinations of foods that exist in the world. It looks different depending on the country you are in and your own cultural upbringing.
Which means, there are no universally accepted 100 foods that should be given before your baby turns 1. Sorry.
Food challenges, like 100 foods before 1, can be a good thing. Maybe they prompt you to think about how you can mix up your own diet and increase the variety. Our gut microbiome wants us to eat a variety of plant based foods, so this could be a great starting point.
Rather than thinking of specific items, start with categories of foods, and build variety from there.
Herbs and spices
And that's just individual foods - don't forget that most of us don't eat these foods in isolation. We mix them together, add some flavour and create complex dishes. So include those in your list as well.
You absolutely 100% do not need to purchase a £5 list from Etsy in order to do weaning well. Make your own list from the categories above, and see what number you get to.
Here are some ideas for adding in herbs and spices when you start weaning
Why try 100 foods before 1?
Challenges like this become a problem if they cause you to feel anxious to do something that isn’t right for your baby. Some babies will take a lot longer to wean than others, that's normal. Some might be more reluctant eaters and less willing to try new foods. Also normal. Having the deadline loom over you can create a stressful eating environment. And a stressful environment absolutely will affect how your baby eats.
However, we have so many decisions to make on a daily basis that decision fatigue can be a real thing. Add to that the tiredness of being a new parent, and you might just be craving the structure of a list.
Lists of 100 foods before 1 can act as a source of inspiration if you aren’t particularly adventurous with food. And seeing someone else has offered prawns, might give you the confidence boost to introduce them to your own baby.
If having a target in mind helps you with planning your meals, and makes cooking easier, then that is fantastic. Just remember it's not magic, and you can deviate from it at any point. And if it's 85 instead of 100, that's ok too!
What foods should baby try before 1?
The most important thing about introducing new foods during weaning isn’t the number of foods that they are exposed to. You haven’t failed at weaning if you don’t offer 100 foods before 1.
Instead it’s about offering a variety of foods to your baby in a way that is relaxed, neutral, responsive and provides the space for them to explore foods in their own time.
That’s what will help your baby to become a confident happy eater.
But there are some foods you should try to include before your baby turns one. This can help avoid potential allergic reactions in the future.
The world of allergens can be scary and misleading - advise has changed over the years based on new research. Most advice encourages the slow but consistent introduction of allergens in babies diets from around 6 months.
The main allergens to be aware of including in your babies diet are:
cows' milk (in cooking or mixed with other food)
foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
If your baby already has a diagnosed food allergy, then your GP or paediatrician may want you to introduce these foods differently, so make sure to check with them first.
So, is 100 foods before 1 the best way to start weaning your baby?
Well in my opinion, no. Because in my practice I see so many parents who have tried to follow the 'right' way to wean their baby, whatever that is, and end up stressed and disappointed a few months down the line.
Anything that causes you stress by trying to stick to it is a hard no in my book. The flip to that is that it really can feel hard to come up with new things to eat every day, and many of us like that bit of structure that lists can provide. It really depends on you as a person and how a list like this might make you feel.
If you're thinking about starting to introduce food to your baby soon, make sure you're clear on the signs that your baby is ready before you begin. You can read about that in my blog '3 signs your baby is ready for weaning'.
And if you're here because you tried using a list and are finding it a bit too much, then I'm here to help - send me an email to book in for a 1:1 chat about how things are going, and what we can do to make your weaning journey more enjoyable.