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Baby Food Stages

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It is time to start giving your baby more than just breast milk or formula. It is time to introduce him to the wonders of REAL food, stuff he has to “chew” on and actually swallow. When you go to the baby section of your local store though you are faced with rows and rows of baby food, in all different flavors, sizes, and numbers. How do you know which food to choose and where to start?

baby-food-stages.jpgStage One
When you first give baby food to your infant you will start with the stage one foods, normally this will start with cereal. Baby food companies make cereal that comes in thin flakes, that expands slightly when formula or breast milk is mixed with it; much like instant potato’s that you can buy in the grocery store. When you first start on cereal you will want to use a very small amount of flakes and a lot of liquid making it only slightly thicker than the breast milk is by itself. As your baby gets used to the swallowing of this thicker food, you will gradually add more cereal. Most pediatricians suggest that you start with rice cereal, but if you are unsure, be sure to ask at your baby’s next well-check.

After your baby masters the stage one cereals you will move onto the stage one packaged baby food. This baby food is finely pureed, chunkless food made from fruits and vegetables that help introduce your baby to these healthy lifestyle choices. While finely pureed, it is still much thicker than the breast milk or formula that you are giving your baby. Most of the time it is recommended that you start with the vegetables and give each vegetable for one for a week, before introducing a new vegetable to your baby. This is to help determine if your baby is allergic to any of the food. Also, vegetables are less sweet than fruit and will often help you avoid a situation where you baby only wants the sweeter foods.

Stage Two
Stage two baby foods are thicker, less pureed versions of the stage one foods. They contain a little more texture to help the baby get used to lumps in their mouth. They also expand on the fruits and vegetables by mixing 2 or 3 together in a jar. At this stage some companies that make baby food may begin introducing more variety to include meats and pureed noodles.

Stage Three
By stage three your baby should be a pro at swallowing pureed food. Stage three baby foods are much chunkier than the earlier stages and often include 3 or more items mixed in one jar. For dinners they will normally include a meat and/or pasta dish with a vegetable. There will be your fruits and vegetables, and also a wide variety of “desserts” for your baby.

After the Stages
After the numbered stages of baby food your baby is normally ready to be introduced to table food. They should be able to eat small pieces of cut up meats, veggies and pasta, and may even be able to feed themselves. There are still options that give baby variety however, that you don’t have to cook. Gerber makes food called Gerber Graduates that will be meals of non-pureed, single serving, baby sized portions that can be taken with you and eaten straight out of the package or heated up for your baby. These choices for parents are great for convenience purposes or on the go.

Other Options
In addition to the baby food on the market, there are several different versions of baby cookies and biscuits’ designed to help your baby learn how to hold food and chew it. These are called finger foods, and are generally dissolvable and easy to hold. When babies get the pincher grasp down and are able to chew on food a little bit more, a popular choice for a take along snack are original, plain cheerios. They can easily go in a bowl or baggie and be thrown in the diaper bag to be taken with you to friends, relatives, shopping, or out to dinner. Once your baby graduates from a diet strictly of breast milk and formula the choices for nutrition are huge and never-ending. Be sure to keep the options open and choices interesting as your baby learns more about the world around him.


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10 Responses to “Baby Food Stages”

  1. 10
    Breanna Says:

    I started my son out on rice cereal at 3 months an than started to put 1 stage baby food in his cereal at 4 months. He loved it an is a very good eater. theres nothing wrong with it as long as you know your kid can take it.

  2. 9
    Jen Says:

    Solids are for play until a year and a day!

    Keep on nursing but let baby experiment with foods (I started with purees with just a few very very small lumps) starting around 6-8 months.

  3. 8
    Time-Saving Thanksgiving Day Tips | Holidays | Babies Online The Blog Says:

    [...] With a Toddler If your little one is in the later baby food stages, such as enjoying table food, you’re both in for a treat this Thanksgiving! Don’t stray too far [...]

  4. 7
    amanda Says:

    i think its okay to start them out when their stomach anit getting full and they want another bottle heck yah are more less starving babies until they are 6months old dang. i started my daughter out when she was 3 or 4months old and now she is 3years old and she is smart and nothing wrong with her. i started my son on a ceral with his milk.and just some of stage 1 baby food like bannas and he loves them,.

  5. 6
    Karrie Says:

    I have always wondered this to, and I have had four. My older three (ages 12,9 and 8) were given baby food around 4-5 months and I just slowly went up to the next ‘stage’ every couple of months may be? Been a while. Well, I was young and just did my best, thinking that they were given baby food as a source of nutrition and they needed it. They were always big babies. Now I’m a little older and wiser and my 4th baby turned 8 months today. I breastfed exclusivley for 6 months, introduced the cereals first, a couple weeks later the 1st foods, and she is still on 2nds. Since now I know that the baby’s main source of nutrition for the 1st year is breastmilk/formula, I give her that 1st THEN the solids instead of the other way around.

  6. 5
    Sabz Says:

    @ Marti, stage 1 is basically the first solids your baby gets, besides breastmilk or formula. AAP recommends waiting until baby is 6 months old before starting. Many start earlier and many babies don’t start until 8 or 9 months. I started my son on stage 1 foods when he was 6 months old and he did great. Just make sure your baby gets milk as the primary food, supplemented by stage 1. HTH, Sabz

  7. 4
    Cate Says:

    Marti’s question is a good one. While all babies are different, there is no reccomended ages for beginning each of these stages.

  8. 3
    sarah Says:

    hey marti, they say (in australia) that its best to start around 6months- because to much later then that the milk breast or formula doenst have the nutrients in it they need(it doesnt have enough) ad they say too early is bad as well thou I think around 4-6 months is ok but preferably closer to 6months althou my baby started at 5months , he would watch us eat and watch the food and he is a big boy..i hope this helps : P

  9. 2
    Sarah Says:

    Most of the people I know started their babies on cereal around 4 mos. I did a great deal of research and found that it is recommended that you wait until around 6 mos. Waiting helps to reduce the risk of developing food allegeries. My son turned 8 mos yesterday and we just started giving him foods other than breastmilk a few weeks ago. He’s doing fine and I’m glad that I waited. Babies don’t really need anything other than breastmilk (added vitamin D and iron drops) or formula for their nutrition the first year. Other foods are introduced mainly so that the baby gets used to eating foods rather than simply drinking them…

  10. 1
    marti Says:

    im confused….when exactly do you start stage one (how old should he be)?

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