When to start pureed baby food
When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods | Nutrition
For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.
- Sits up alone or with support.
- Is able to control head and neck.
- Opens the mouth when food is offered.
- Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
- Brings objects to the mouth.
- Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
- Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.
What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that for most children, you do not need to give foods in a certain order. Your child can begin eating solid foods at about 6 months old. By the time he or she is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. These foods include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurts and cheeses, and more.
If your child is eating infant cereals, it is important to offer a variety of fortifiedalert icon infant cereals such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of only rice cereal. Only providing infant rice cereal is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration because there is a risk for children to be exposed to arsenic. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administrationexternal icon to learn more.
How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?
Your child needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.
Now that your child is starting to eat food, be sure to choose foods that give your child all the vitamins and minerals they need.
Click here to learn more about some of these vitamins & minerals.
Let your child try one single-ingredient food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.
Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.
Potentially allergenic foods include cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Drinking cow’s milk or fortified soy beverages is not recommended until your child is older than 12 months, but other cow’s milk products, such as yogurt, can be introduced before 12 months. If your child has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about when and how to safely introduce foods with peanuts.
How Should I Prepare Food for My Child to Eat?
At first, it’s easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your baby’s oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.
Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.
Here are some tips for preparing foods:
- Mix cereals and mashed cooked grains with breast milk, formula, or water to make it smooth and easy for your baby to swallow.
- Mash or puree vegetables, fruits and other foods until they are smooth.
- Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, usually need to be cooked so they can be easily mashed or pureed.
- Cook food until it is soft enough to easily mash with a fork.
- Remove all fat, skin, and bones from poultry, meat, and fish, before cooking.
- Remove seeds and hard pits from fruit, and then cut the fruit into small pieces.
- Cut soft food into small pieces or thin slices.
- Cut cylindrical foods like hot dogs, sausage and string cheese into short thin strips instead of round pieces that could get stuck in the airway.
- Cut small spherical foods like grapes, cherries, berries and tomatoes into small pieces.
- Cook and finely grind or mash whole-grain kernels of wheat, barley, rice, and other grains.
Learn more about potential choking hazards and how to prevent your child from choking.
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Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old (for Parents)
Most babies this age are ready to try solid foods. Experts recommend starting solid foods when a baby is about 6 months old, depending on the baby's readiness and nutritional needs.
Be sure to check with your doctor before giving any solid foods.
Is My Baby Ready to Eat Solid Foods?
How can you tell if your baby is ready for solids? Here are a few hints:
- Does your baby swallow food or push it out of their mouth? Babies have a natural tongue-thrust reflex that pushes food back out. Wait until this reflex disappears (typically when babies are 4–6 months old).
- Can your baby support their own head? To eat solid food, an infant needs good head and neck control and should be able to sit up.
- Is your baby interested in food? Babies who stare, reach and grab, and open their mouths for food are ready to try solid foods.
If your doctor gives the go-ahead but your baby seems frustrated or uninterested in solid foods, try waiting a few days before trying again. Breast milk and formula will still meet nutritional needs as your baby learns to eat solid foods. But after 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — like iron and zinc — that solid foods provide.
Do not add cereal or other food to your baby's bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain.
Watch for signs that your child is hungry or full. Respond to these cues and let your child stop when full. A child who is full may suck with less enthusiasm, stop, or turn away from the breast or the bottle. With solid foods, they may turn away, refuse to open their mouth, or spit the food out.
How Should I Start Feeding My Baby Solid Foods?
When your baby is ready and the doctor says it’s OK to try solid foods, pick a time of day when your baby is not tired or cranky. You want your baby to be a little hungry, but not so hungry that they’re upset. So you might want to give your baby a little breast milk or formula first.
Have your baby sit supported in your lap or in a high chair with a safety strap.
Most babies' first food is iron-fortified infant single-grain cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Place the spoon near your baby's lips, and let the baby smell and taste it. Don't be surprised if this first spoonful is rejected. Wait a minute and try again. Most food offered to your baby at this age will end up on the baby's chin, bib, or high-chair tray. Again, this is just an introduction.
When your little one gets the hang of eating cereal off a spoon, it may be time to try single-ingredient puréed meat, vegetables, or fruit. The order in which you give them doesn't matter, but go slow. Offer foods that are high in iron and zinc — such as meat, poultry, eggs, and beans — especially if your baby is breastfeeding. Try one food at a time and wait several days before trying something else new. This will let you identify any foods that your baby may be allergic to.
Which Foods Should I Avoid?
Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.
Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.
Possible signs of food allergy or allergic reactions include:
- bloating or an increase in gassiness
Get medical care right away if your baby has a more severe allergic reaction, like hives, drooling, wheezing, or trouble breathing.
If your child has any type of reaction to a food, don't offer that food again until you talk with your doctor.
Babies shouldn't have:
- foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
- high-sodium foods
- honey, until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
- unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese
- regular cow's milk or soy beverages before 12 months instead of breast milk or formula. It’s OK to offer pasteurized yogurt and cheese.
- foods that may cause choking, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts
Tips for Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods
With the hectic pace of family life, most parents try commercially prepared baby foods at first. They come in small, convenient containers, and manufacturers must meet strict safety and nutrition guidelines.
If you prepare your own baby foods at home, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Follow the rules for food safety, including washing your hands well and often.
- To preserve the nutrients in your baby's food, cook it in ways that keep the most vitamins and minerals. Try steaming or baking fruits and vegetables instead of boiling, which washes away the nutrients.
- Freeze portions that you aren't going to use right away.
- Whether you buy the baby food or make it yourself, texture and consistency are important. At first, babies should have finely puréed single-ingredient foods. (Just applesauce, for example, not apples and pears mixed together.)
- After your baby is eating individual foods, it's OK to offer a puréed mix of two foods. As babies get older, they will learn to eat a greater variety of tastes and textures.
- If you use prepared baby food in jars, spoon some of the food into a bowl to feed your baby. Do not feed your baby right from the jar — bacteria from the baby's mouth can contaminate the remaining food. If you refrigerate opened jars of baby food, it's best to throw away anything not eaten within a day or two.
- Around 6 months of age is a good time for your baby to try a cup. You might need to try a few cups to find one that works for your child. Use water at first to avoid messy clean-ups. Do not give juice to infants younger than 12 months.
Over the next few months, introduce a variety of foods from all the food groups. If your baby doesn't seem to like something, don’t give up. It can take 8 to 10 tries or more before babies learn to like new foods.
Baby food - from a jar or with your own hands? Pros and cons
Complementary foods are solid foods for young children in addition to dairy products that they have received for several months as their sole source of nutrition.
— Polina Alexandrovna, why is the introduction of complementary foods called a transitional stage in a child's nutrition?
— The beginning of acquaintance with complementary foods does not mean the transition to an adult diet. The first or second complementary foods are important so that the child adapts and is psychologically ready to eat adult food, and his digestive organs are tuned to work properly. Therefore, complementary foods are considered a transitional stage from milk nutrition to nutrition at a common table.
- Is the composition of canned zucchini or apple puree for babies different from the homemade version?
- Factory nutrition may vary depending on the raw materials that the manufacturer uses in a particular puree. Therefore, it is impossible to say that all such food is the same. For example, zucchini puree may contain rice flour so that its consistency is more correct in the opinion of the manufacturer. Mom decides what to put in, and in the same way she can add rice flour. An industrial puree that is suitable for a child and meets the requirements of parents may be identical in composition to homemade puree.
— There is a lot of speculation about baby food in jars. What are the most common parenting misconceptions?
- The most common myth is "canned mashed potatoes don't taste good and kids don't eat them well." In fact, most babies enjoy eating factory-made purees without experiencing any problems.
There are concerns that baby puree is “wrong” or does not meet nutritional requirements. The manufacturer is required by law to list all the ingredients of the product. For example, mashed potatoes may contain rice flour that is not always healthy, especially if vegetables are introduced to the child in order to avoid constipation. What kind of food is more useful for the baby, whether to buy just such a puree or look for another in composition - the parents decide together with the doctor. Therefore, it is wrong to equate all manufacturers and their products.
- "10 myths about canned baby food"
- Puree is often said to contain preservatives.
— Modern technologies make it possible not to use preservatives in the production of baby food. That is why it is written on the jars that open food is not stored for more than a day even in the refrigerator. As long as puree does not come into contact with air, it does not spoil within the specified shelf life due to sterilization and vacuum packaging. After opening the jar and contact with air, the puree quickly deteriorates, which indicates the absence of preservatives in it.
— Is it true that canned baby food is addictive, and then the child refuses natural products?
- There is no causal relationship here. When a child refuses a fresh apple, the problem is not the canned puree in his diet, but that he is not familiar with food in pieces. The child ate a homogeneous puree for a long time, and then they offer him a large piece of an apple - naturally, he will not cope with it right away. That is why, after the child gets used to a homogeneous puree, puree with soft small pieces is gradually introduced - so that there is no discomfort if the baby does not chew them. Gradually, the pieces become larger and denser. Over time, the child comes to eat a real whole apple or other hard fruit or vegetable.
Baby food in a jar or homemade puree - which is right for a baby? Pros and cons of
— How long can I feed my baby bottled baby food?
- You can feed your baby as much as you like, there is no strict age limit. But baby needs to be introduced to the different textures and flavors of . The need for canned food usually disappears when the baby moves to a common table with a diet familiar to the whole family. During this period, puree from a jar, especially tasty and sweet fruit varieties, often becomes a safe treat for grown-up babies.
— In which cases canned baby puree is contraindicated?
- There are no diseases in which canned puree is contraindicated. But for some diseases, the presence of a particular product in baby food is undesirable. Factory puree is different in composition. Parents can choose purees without ingredients that are not suitable for the baby or should be limited in his diet, and continue to feed the canned product without problems.
— How to choose baby food in a jar that is healthy for a child?
- First of all, you need to read the full composition of the product on the back, because some ingredients are not indicated on the front label of the jar. It is important to pay attention to the expiration date of the food, the reputation of the manufacturer. All components of the puree must correspond to the age and condition of the child, his individual characteristics.
- the first puree must not contain rice flour;
- Strawberry puree should not be given to a four-month-old child;
- cereals are excluded from the diet of children with celiac disease (gluten intolerance);
- An older baby should be offered puree with chunks.
What mistakes do parents make when preparing mashed potatoes for feeding with their own hands
- Sometimes parents cook the wrong way - sometimes they overcook vegetables, and also make the puree too thin or thick. I hope that no one will fry food for their young children instead of boiling or steaming. Sometimes parents put spices and salt in baby puree, which is also not worth doing. The child should initially get acquainted with pure tastes, and extraneous additives are useless.
In addition, mothers need to be guided by foods that are appropriate for the age of the child, do not cause allergies and are not difficult for him, and also be guided by what the family eats. If parents give the baby something that they themselves do not eat, then when switching to an adult table, he may refuse the usual family food, he will have to cook it separately. This will be a big problem.
- The child refuses the food prepared by the mother and does not eat anything. What to do in such a situation?
— The same food or dish can be offered to the child during the week. Food selectivity in children often depends on taste sensations, but a child may refuse to eat for other reasons, for example, when he is not hungry or would like to play instead of dinner. If during the week the child does not perceive the product that the mother offers, perhaps he still does not like it. In this case, the same product can be given in the form of canned nutrition . Often, kids really refuse homemade puree, preferring the factory version. Again, mom can cook another product and give, for example, broccoli instead of zucchini, which the child will appreciate.
Fruit baby puree MAMAKO ® contains 20% goat curd. This food option is convenient at the stage of introducing children not only to fruits, but also to dairy products. It is the little ones who eat sweet, tasty foods well during the first feeding period and even when they get older - for dessert.
- Are the recipes for complementary foods from 6 months and those for 10 months different?
- For toddlers, there are no recipes and complex dishes, because it is a simple food for discovering pure tastes without salt and spices, gradually getting used to the texture of the products. In the preparation of the first children's dishes, you can vary the combination of vegetables, focusing on the taste of the baby.
Recipes appear from the age of two or three with a full transition to the common table, when family preferences become more important. Of course, the baby needs to be introduced to products that are not consumed in the family, because there is a kindergarten and a school ahead. However, the basis of his diet should be food from the general household table . In addition, parents should be careful in cooking: do not overcook foods, do not add artificial ingredients, properly cool food so that homemade vegetable or fruit puree for the first feeding is healthy and safe for the baby.
- Is it possible to combine canned and homemade food and in what proportions?
— There are no strict rules: what is convenient for the family is chosen. For example, it is difficult to make meat puree at home, so sometimes parents add industrial meat supplements to homemade vegetable puree.
There is also no clear gradation in the percentage of different food options. In one plate, you can mix what you have prepared yourself with what you bought in the store. But at home it is not always possible to achieve the desired combinations and prepare, for example, a combined product that includes a variety of fruits and cottage cheese.
Choose a way of eating that is comfortable for your family. It is easier for someone to cook for their child on their own, for someone it is easier to buy ready-made mashed potatoes. Pediatricians often recommend mashed vegetables or fruits of industrial production, because when it is used for a child, the risk of undesirable consequences is much less.
* Breast milk is the best food for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child's life and continued breastfeeding after complementary foods are introduced until the age of 2 years. Before introducing new products into the baby's diet, you should consult with a specialist. The material is for informational purposes and cannot replace the advice of a healthcare professional. For feeding children from birth.
Stage 2 baby food: what is it, when to start and what options to try
- What is stage 2 baby food?
- Stage Identification by Brand
- What is the difference between Stage 1 and Stage 2 meals?
- When and how should I start feeding my baby 2nd stage complementary foods?
- What are your baby food options for stage 2?
- Store-bought baby food stage 2.
- Homemade Baby Food Stage 2
Accompanying your child through the different stages of learning how to eat real food is an exciting journey. Sometimes, along with a sense of pride - - you can feel a little confused. How should you navigate milestones?
What is stage 2 baby food?
Let's start from the beginning: what do the stages of baby food mean?
Rome wasn't built in a day, and your child's digestive system won't jump from liquid to solid in one day either. That's what baby feeding stages are for - to help your baby manage the mechanics of eating and ease the transition to your baby's digestive system.
Determining milestones by brand
Although the different baby food steps are not standardized (if they were, your life would be easier!), most popular brands more or less follow these four steps:
- Step 1: From 4 up to 6 months (single ingredient watery puree)
- Stage 2: 6 to 9 months (thicker texture, strained or puréed)
- Stage 3: 10 to 12 months (porridge with soft chewy small pieces )
- Stage 4: After 12 months (food that you can eat with your fingers and small soft pieces of food that you share with your dinner)
What is the difference between eating the first and second stages?
Stage 1 food is quite watery. They turn into a smooth paste that runs off a spoon easily, so stock up on bibs. These products usually consist of one ingredient: oatmeal, apples, carrots. Your child will start eating about half a teaspoon of this.
Stage 2 food becomes more exciting. They are strained or ground into a thick paste. They are made from a combination of foods that can include legumes and even meat or fish. They can combine flavors, such as fruit and vegetable blends. Your child's appetite is growing and you will have to keep up with larger portions.
When and how should I start feeding my baby 2nd stage complementary foods?
Around 6 to 9 months of age, your baby is probably ready to switch to stage 2 complementary foods. Not every child will stick to this schedule, simply because every child is a separate world.
Here are a few signs that your baby is ready to move on:
- Tongue reflex: Around five months old, your baby will begin to lose the tongue thrust reflex and will not immediately push out the food you are trying to feed.
- More Please: They will easily eat the first stage foods and look hungry to eat more.
- Variety: They ate foods from all food categories (vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, meat) and showed no allergies or intolerances.
- Enjoyment: They easily eat a spoonful of food in stage 1, swallow and swallow with pleasure.
At this exciting stage, feel free to give your child most of the foods. By offering them a wide range of flavors and textures, you give them the foundation for a healthy diet and also make it easier for you. Be aware of the following safety considerations:
- Choking Hazard: Avoid nuts, seeds, and popcorn at this stage. And don't forget to cut round foods like grapes and hot dogs lengthwise.
- No honey: Babies under 12 months old should not be given honey as it can lead to botulism.
- No Juice: Follow AAP recommendations and stick to breast milk, formula or a little water and stay away from juices.
- Feeding safely: Always fasten your child to a high chair and watch him while he eats.
And if you're curious about peanuts, here's the scoop: 2017 National Institutes of Health report suggests giving babies peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months of age. (Wait up to 6 months for children with mild to moderate eczema.)
Surprised? Do not be. A recent study showed that Israeli children rarely suffer from peanut allergies because they have been chewing bamba, a peanut-based snack, as early as 3 months old. Talk to your doctor about safe ways to include peanut products in your baby's diet.
What are your baby food options for stage 2?
What is included in the stage 2 baby food menu? Basically, you can go the store or home route. Or you can mix both depending on how much time you have. It depends on you and your personal schedule.
Here are some delicious ideas for both.
Store-bought baby food stage 2.
- Plum: These organic blends come in easy-to-carry bags. Try pear, spinach and peas, or banana and pumpkin.
- Beech-walnut: Available in tins and bags. Serve a few apples and bananas or pineapple, pear and avocado.
- Best in the world: Another organic option, in bags or jars. Try sweet potatoes, barley and chickpeas, or pasta with tomatoes and white beans.
- Gerber: A classic served in plastic jars, jars or bags. Flavor combinations include peach mango and dinner with oatmeal or chicken noodles.
Remember to keep an eye on your baby while he eats. Bags are convenient, but caps can be a choking hazard. Glass jars can break, so keep them out of the reach of children. Your child should always enjoy snacks and meals under close adult supervision.
Homemade Baby Food Stage 2
Cooking up a storm for your baby's nascent taste buds doesn't have to be difficult at this stage. Here are some recipes to help you. (You can find more baby food recipes here.)
Don't skimp on spices and herbs: your little one will appreciate the extra flavor and the micronutrients they contain will boost their immune system.
- Apple, walnut and carrot: Cook the ingredients until they are soft when checked with a fork. Drain off some of the water, but set it aside in case you need to dilute the mixture. Sprinkle with a little curry and stir.
- Blueberries and chickpeas: You can make your own chickpeas or use ready-made ones to save time. Mix equal amounts of blueberries and chickpeas. Mix and add breast milk, formula, or water to get the right consistency. You can also add some rice for added appeal and texture.
- Salmon with fried zucchini and fennel: Drizzle salmon and vegetables with oil and roast for about 15 minutes. Add chopped parsley and stir. You can dilute formula with breast milk, formula, or water.