RD, LDN, CBS
Certified in Maternal and Infant Nutrition from Cornell, Angela’s mission is to help people reach their wellness goals. She also helps run a program that teaches pregnant women about how a healthy lifestyle optimizes prenatal and postnatal care.
Choosing what to feed your baby can be both exciting and intimidating. With so many brands, ingredients, combinations and stages, it can be difficult to sort though what’s what when staring at the supermarket shelf. To help you make the best decisions, here are a few baby food basics to get you started.
Stage 2 foods are thicker in consistency and can be started
once your baby is comfortable with the consistency of stage 1 foods. Foods included in this stage are often
combination foods like sweet potatoes and banana or apples, squash and
When looking at the array of baby food choices, you may have
noticed that each selection is labeled with a stage. The stages refer to where
your baby is developmentally in relation to eating. Stage 1 foods are considered first foods to
start around 6 months of age. They are usually single ingredient items
including single grain cereals like oatmeal and rice cereal and thinner purees
like green beans, squash, apples, peas, bananas, pears and even single pureed
proteins like chicken and turkey.
Stage 3 products are chunkier and contain small soft, pieces
of foods. Once your baby is doing well and seems comfortable with one stage,
use that as a sign that he is likely ready to be progressed to the next stage.
The ingredients in store bought baby foods can vary greatly
by brand. Some manufacturers may add more ingredients for preservation, taste
and texture, while others do not. The
main ingredient in the foods you choose should be the specific food you are
choosing, meaning that it should come first on the ingredients list. If you are choosing peaches, then peaches
should be the first word on the ingredients list.
Most baby food manufacturers today do not add salt to their
products; however added sugars and empty calorie fillers still manage to sneak
their way in. Examples of this include extra fruit juice added to jarred
fruits. Choosing foods with as little and as natural ingredients as possible
will reduce your baby’s exposure to these additives.