Baby Food Stages On Labels: What Do They Mean?

We understand how overwhelming the information can be when it comes to which foods to feed your baby and at what stage. There are labels on store bought food that can be confusing and there are plenty of conflicting guidelines on what to include when making DIY baby food at home. It's great to keep in mind that babies develop their palates at different rates and can sometimes be adverse to textures and flavours that the next child will love. A healthy openness to trial and error is needed during the first year of feeding, but don’t fret, as you introduce new foods, your baby will eventually find their rhythm. 

Stage 1 - Purees of a thin consistency (4 - 6 months)

This stage is where you start to introduce baby foods in the form of purees that are easily digested. Made with single ingredients and pureed until very smooth, this stage is where you can build your budding eater’s appetite. Aside from important nutrition, these purees will expose your baby to new flavours and textures. These purees are often made with vegetables, fruits or very smooth grains and cereals. To make them even easier to swallow, they can be thinned out with water to a consistency that resembles a thick soup. 

A tip for this baby food stage: offer your baby one puree at a time to monitor any allergic reactions that may occur.

Stage 2 - Purees of a thicker consistency (6- 9 months)

As your baby develops their palate for purees in the first fews months, they will start to get used to the feeling of thicker foods. Muscles in the mouth that facilitate swallowing skills are becoming stronger, so this stage is for introducing purees that have a thicker or chunkier texture. When your bub isn’t quite ready to chew properly but is definitely trying, you can mix in mashed up bits of fruit and vegetables instead of just offering a soup-like consistency. Store bought food for this stage can often be soft spaghetti in a sauce, apple puree with chunks of apple or purees with multiple ingredients in the recipe.

A tip for this baby food stage: this is a great time to introduce grains, yoghurt or small pieces of different proteins.

Stage 3  - Finger foods (10 - 12 months)

Sometimes known as the baby led weaning period, this stage is where your child starts to feed themselves soft chewable chunks of different foods. This can be a fantastic time to start experimenting and giving bub a little bit more freedom to explore with their hands. It can be messy, but it will be a whole lot of fun once you’re in full swing. In contrast to the two earlier stages, now is the time to introduce multiple ingredients, textures and flavours to your baby’s diet. They will be learning to chew and swallow small pieces of soft food like deboned fish, cereals, vegetables and fruit. Things like scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, small pieces of meat and cooked pasta can also be great for this baby food stage.

A tip for this baby food stage: try introducing herbs and spices to expose your baby to new flavours that will be common in foods they eat as they grow.

Try Funch baby food today!

Every bub will develop differently, especially with their food habits, but these three baby food stages should work as a guide to which age groups can be eating what foods. As for food labels and what they mean, you’ll be able to head to the shops and confidently select the purees that your toddler requires. At Funch, we have a delicious range of nutritional baby food and baby purees that are fantastic to take with you wherever you’re headed. Available online with free shipping available Australia wide .

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