Many parents wonder what stage their baby should start eating solid foods. While there isn’t any set rule, babies typically begin consuming solids around 4 months old. However, if you want to get started earlier, you may choose to introduce food at 6 weeks old.
The first few times your child eats a new type of food can be overwhelming for both parent and child. It’s important that you are prepared with some tips on how to handle this transition in feeding style. Here we will discuss the differences between starting out with stage one or two baby food.
What Is Stage 1 Baby Food?
Stage 1 baby food is made from pureed fruits and vegetables. This includes applesauce, bananas, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, squash, etc. These foods have been cooked until they become soft enough so that it doesn’t require much chewing. They also contain no added sugar or salt. You can use these as snacks throughout the day. Some people like to add them into meals too!
What Is Stage 2 Baby Food?
This is when most children eat table food. There are many different types of stage 2 baby food available including meats, cheeses, yogurt, pasta, rice, beans, eggs, breads, crackers, cereals, etc. Most of these foods are already mixed together by the manufacturer. So all you need to do is heat up the jar/container and feed your little one.
Difference Between Stage 1 and Stage 2 Baby Food
The main difference between stage 1 and stage 2 baby food is texture. Stage 1 baby food has very smooth textures while stage 2 baby food tends to have more chunks. Another big difference is taste. Stage 1 usually tastes bland because it hasn’t had anything else added to it yet.
On the other hand, stage 2 tends to have stronger flavors since it was just blended. On top of that, stage 1 baby food often contains less nutrients compared to stage 2.
Examples of Stage 1 baby food are Applesauce, Bananas, Carrots, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Yogurt, Cheese, Pasta, Rice, Eggs, Bread, Crackers and Cereal.
Examples of Stage 2 baby food are Beef Stew, Chicken Soup, Hamburger, Hot Dog, Macaroni & Cheese, Pizza, Rice Pilaf, Spaghetti Sauce, Tuna Salad, Turkey Sausage, Veggie Burger, Vegetable Stir Fry, Yams.
Benefits of Stage 1 and Stage 2 Baby Food
There really aren’t any major benefits to choosing either option. Both options offer similar nutritional value. If you decide to give your baby stage 1 baby food then make sure you follow the recommended serving sizes. Also remember not to overfeed him. He needs to learn about portion control before he starts getting full size servings.
If you decide to give your child stage 2 baby food then don’t worry about following the suggested serving sizes. Just keep an eye on his weight gain. As long as he gains healthy amounts of weight then you know he is doing well.
If you would rather avoid giving your baby processed foods then stick with stage 1 baby food. But if you feel comfortable introducing stage 2 baby food then go ahead and try it. Remember though that you shouldn’t force him to eat something he doesn’t enjoy. Let him pick what he wants to eat. That way he won’t get bored eating the same thing every single time.
How to Start Using Stage 1 and Stage 2 Baby Food
You should introduce stage 1 baby food at around 6 months old. The reason why I recommend waiting till 6 months is because babies tend to spit everything back out after only 5 minutes. By 7-8 months old, your baby may actually want to chew on things instead of spitting them out. At first, you might find yourself cleaning off their plate multiple times during mealtime. This will eventually stop once they realize how good this new food tastes.
You can mix both stages in a bowl for easy access. For example, you could put some stage 1 baby food in a small container and place it next to the spoon used for stage 2 baby food. Then you can easily switch from one type of food to another without having to clean the whole bowl.
When mixing the two stages together, be careful not to accidentally serve him stage 2 baby food. You wouldn’t want him to end up choking or gagging on stage 2 baby food. It’s best to separate the two types of food so there isn’t confusion when feeding him.
When starting to use stage 2 baby food, you should wait until your baby reaches 8 months old. Once he hits 9 months old, you can slowly increase the amount of stage 2 baby food served each day. Make sure you monitor his growth closely. Don’t feed him too much otherwise he’ll become overweight.
Is There a Stage 3 Baby Food?
Yes! There are many different kinds of stage 3 baby food available today. Some companies even produce organic versions of these products. However, most parents choose to skip stage 3 altogether. Why? Because by 12 months old, your little one has already learned how to self regulate himself. So adding more solid foods into his diet isn’t going to do anything but confuse him. Plus, he’s probably ready to move onto finger foods anyway
Both stage 1 and stage 2 baby food are great choices. They provide similar nutrition but differ slightly in taste. Either choice works fine depending on your preference. However, if you choose to feed your baby stage 1 baby food then make sure you follow all the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. And always check with your pediatrician before making changes to your diet.