There’s thousands of baby food and stages information out there. It can be challenging to put all the information together. This is why we’ve created a SmartMom Baby Food Stages Chart. Here, we’ve collected and compiled recipes and tips so that you can focus on what is important- enjoying mealtimes with your growing baby!
|0-4 months||What: Liquid; your baby has learned and likely mastered the suck-swallow-breathe sequence.Diet: breast milk or formulaMeal Prep: Freeze breast milk for optimal convenience and emergency supply. Breast milk can be frozen for 2 weeks, or 6-12 months in a self-contained freezer kept below 4 degrees Fahrenheit. Meal prep varies greatly for families at this stage. Pumping, breast-feeding, and bottle feeding are often combined for the best option for your schedule and your child.SmartMom Tips: Consider developing a schedule and system that can be well communicated with spouses, sitters, and grandparents. Label all frozen milk clearly with the date. Also, place the newest supply in the back to ensure it all gets used before the expiration date.|
|4-6 months||What: Thick Purees/Paste; your baby is working on manipulating and transferring solid food in their mouth.Diet: fortified cereal mixed with breast milk or formula; some fruit/vegetable pureesMeal Prep: Although your meal prep may still involve pumping and storing breast milk, now you can add cereal to the pantry! Many fortified cereals are stored at room temperature and mixed with breast or formula milk. If you plan on making your own cereals, consider purchasing oats and rice organic and in bulk. You will want to use a good food processor to ensure your baby gets a smooth cereal that they are developmentally prepared to swallow.SmartMom Tips: Did you know you can make your own baby cereal? We like this step-by-step rice cereal recipe by The Vintage Mixer and this oatmeal cereal recipe by Weelicious. If you decide to go the homemade route, be sure to consult your pediatrician on ensuring that your baby is getting enough iron, a vitamin that slowly depletes from a baby’s body around 6 months.|
|6-8 months||What: Puree/Pea-sized soft solids; your baby is easily transferring consistent textured solids and is ready to explore various textures of foods in his/her mouth.Diet: pureed vegetables and fruits; pea sized soft beans and meatsMeal Prep: Alright SmartMoms, here’s where is gets fun but also requires a bit more planning. Your baby has so many more culinary options! Consider making fruit and vegetable purees in a blender and freezing them in small containers or ice cube trays. Then, simply defrost for the day’s meals. There are so many recipes out there to try, so create a Pinterest board to save all those great recipe ideas.SmartMom Tips: Despite our best intentions, homemade purees aren’t always feasible, so be sure to always have store bought baby food stashed for those occasions. For those times when you have your blender handy, here are some of our favorite recipes for purees:Baby Foodie’s Peas, Zucchini, and Mint|
|8-10 months||What: Mixed textures of soft and purees; your baby is developing the ability to chew and swallow foods with varying textures. This is challenging your baby’s brain with new sensory experiences!Diet: chunky vegetable and fruit purees; small finger foods; egg yolks; dairy.Meal Prep: The great thing about meal prep at this stage, is that your food and your baby’s food begin to overlap a bit more. If you’re making chicken and brown rice for dinner, you can easily incorporate these elements into your baby’s meal too! Chunky purees can be made by mixing a vegetable or fruit puree with a soft grain or cottage cheese. A small pasta can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for an easy finger food.SmartMom Tips: Chunky purees can be a great way to encourage a new sensory experience with both taste and texture. Try this recipe for peach and raspberry quinoa to promote your little one’s adventurous eating.|
|10-12 months||What: All textures; your baby is able to chew and swallow almost everything, however, be certain that pieces are small and meats are tender.Diet: Nearly everything; however, doctors still recommend waiting until 12 months to introduce honey and cow’s milk.Meal Prep: Meal prep has never been easier! Encourage your child components of the meals you prepare for the rest of your family. Continue to keep safe finger foods on hand. Also, closer to 12 months, note your child’s preferences. Picky eating can appear quickly and it’s important to have things handy that your child will eat, for occasions when your best intentions to get your baby to eat kale, well, fail.SmartMom Tips: Despite how you may have been raised, encourage your child to play with their food. For babies who struggle with sensory integration, playing with their food can be strategic in getting them to later eat foods that vary in color, texture, and consistency. Here are a couple recipes that also promote sensory stimulation:Avocado and Edamame Dip; the dip provides one consistency, and the veggies you pair it with provide additional textures and colors!
Toddler Eggs; even at my age, I have a love/hate relationship with eggs. Introduce these textures early, even if your child only plays with them for the first couple tries. (Note: your pediatrician may recommend introducing eggs with both the yolk and white after 12 months. Consult to be certain.)