Stage 3 foods – This is when your baby is going to be able to move onto chunkier purees which have little bits and it’s of pieces of food and is thicker in texture and finger foods! Now stage 3 is usually going to happen at around 8 to 9 months of age, if your baby started with solids at 6 months, stage 3 might come a little later at around 10 to 11 months of age.
There are things you can buy and they’re very convenient if you’re out and about. You can also start to really make your own food and as intimating as this might sound, you might find that this is a really easy and cost-effective way to feed your entire family. Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about finger foods: It is around this time that your child, the AAP says between 8 and 12 months will be developing the pincer grasp -the ability to grasp things and food with their thumb and forefinger. So it’s at this point when your baby has developed the pincer grasp that these finger foods are going to be a really interesting and fun part of your baby’s development because you’re going to be able to have your baby in her high chair, introduce a few of these foods, and to see her grasp and begin to actually pick these up and get them to her own mouth so it’s a big step to independence. And what a lot of people start with are cheerios, that’s like the famous classic one. We use a lot of those in my house. Here’s another alternative, these are organic puffs – very light, flavored with fruit juice, not bad… a little starchy but not bad. These are by Happy Baby so these are good finger foods. But the other thing you can start to do is really chop in very, very small ways soft foods and certain fruits and your baby can start to eat these things on her own. So I’ve got a few of these in front of me now and let’s quickly, quickly go through them.
Banana is a great one because it’s nice and soft and again, small pieces and you’ll see her get really messy but she’ll manage to get some of this into her mouth. Here’s some very well cooked pasta, cooked into very small pieces. Avocado, I am a big fan; I think this is so healthy and good to get your children over that green phobia. Strawberries, again nice and soft, very well washed, tiny tiny pieces. Here finally are some cooked carrots. Now, these have been very well cooked and I’m going to show you just how soft these are. They cannot be hard at, see, very, very mushy, go right into a puree. These are basic finger foods and let’s look at some of the other options you can consider with these to give to your baby. Again, make sure you soft cook all of these until they’re very soft. So here they are some other examples — peas, squash, potatoes (sweet potatoes or white potatoes), green beans, broccoli, for fruits you can give small, ripened, or soft bits of banana, ripe peaches, pears, and you can even give berries. You can also give soft cooked small pieces of pasta or tofu cubes, which is a really good thing to try to introduce to your baby. As time goes on you can try to introduce little its and bits pieces of ground meat or even turkey and things like that. And now a quick word about fish and eggs – it used to be the tradition at this stage it wasn’t a good idea to introduce fish and eggs to your baby, however the tides have turned, and many people think that it’s a good idea to introduce certain types of fish and eggs to your baby at this stage to prevent allergies. Now those are fish that are not high in mercury like swordfish nor do shellfish so definitely check with your doctor on this. So this is the time to be adventurous, go for it! You can even try pancakes, muffins, again little pieces of fruits — strawberries, banana – look at my little Marielle here. But just make sure that you give these foods in little tiny small bits so there’s no risk of choking and make sure that the food is nice and soft. Now a very important word on finger foods and choking — the AAP has identified 10 choking hazard foods which are high risk: hot dogs, nuts and seeds, chunks of meat or chunks of cheese (those are ones that are not very easy and small for the baby to swallow) whole grapes, hard candy, popcorn, peanut butter, raw vegetables, and chewing gum. One last word for you guys about liquids — my doctor told me not to give fruit juice, not to get my baby in the habit of drinking fruit juice. But he did say that after 6 months that it was a good idea, especially on a hot day, to give my baby little sips of water, just to get my baby into the habit of drinking water which is healthy as we all know for your whole life and to keep the baby hydrated.
One tiny little last word on stage 3 foods and finger foods — once you’ve put these foods out in front of your baby, sit down with your baby for the whole time and never leave your baby alone. Not for a split second, not to go to the bathroom, not to get the door, nothing, you just don’t want to run the risk that your baby eats one of these little finger foods and that a piece of food gets lodged in her throat. So never leave her alone, go over all this with your doctor, and best of luck introducing your baby to these stage 3 foods.