What are the stages of baby food and when should you introduce them to your child?

on August 16, 2021

Baby food means more than just giving your baby food. It’s a whole learning experience for parents and babies. It’s fun to find out what your baby can eat and create their whole diet for them. Watching them experience new tastes and textures is something that never gets old. It’s just another wonderful part of raising your child.

Sure, it can sometimes feel a bit confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re not sure what baby food to give your child and when, you don’t need to worry. We’ve made this list of baby food stages, so you can spend more time creating fun food memories with your baby.


Pre Baby Food

This stage is typically for when the baby is 0-3 months old.

Your baby has only started growing, so they’re going to need all the help they can get. At this point, they’re not ready for baby food, and are only really developed enough to get their nutrients from either breastmilk or formula.

Breast milk is easy to digest, making it perfect for a newborn’s tiny tummy. There is no hard schedule for breastfeeding, particularly as the baby has growth spurts and its diet needs change. As your baby grows, it will need less frequent feedings, but it will need more milk than before.


Stage 1 Baby Foods

This stage is typically for when the baby is 4-6 months old.

Because of the milk you’ve been feeding your baby, it’s now really starting to grow. But milk is not going to be enough now, so it’s time to start thinking about baby food. You can keep feeding your baby milk, but your baby’s main course should be gentle purees with soft textures.

At 6 months, is your baby doing any of the following?

  • Being able to stay steady in a sitting upright position
  • Coordinating their eyes, hands and mouth to pick up food and put it in their mouth
  • Swallowing their food instead of spitting it back out

Because, if they are, they might be ready for slightly more solid foods.

A great Stage 1 food for babies is baby rice cereal. Sweetpea Foods has a wide range of baby rice cereals and meals with all kinds of fruit, veggies and grains, as we want your baby to be spoiled for choice just as much as you do.

Our baby rice cereals are placed on a large metal cylinder to be dried using an elaborate drum drying process. In this process, condensed steam heats up the cylinder, which removes liquid from the ingredients, converting them to a dry fine powder. This gives them thickness while making them easy to eat.


Sweetpea Baby Food Pumpkin Risotto

Stage 2 Baby Foods

This stage is typically for when the baby is 7-9 months old.

You’re doing such a great job. Your baby has grown so much in just a few months.

For Stage 2, all you really need to do is keep it up. Here’s where the fun begins, because now you can use your creativity to show your baby new foods with different tastes and textures. As long as the foods you use can blend into a very smooth consistency, you can introduce your baby to:

  • Fruits (e.g. bananas, avocados, peaches)
  • Vegetables (e.g. sweet potatoes, baby carrots)
  • Meats (e.g. chicken, turkey)
  • Grains (e.g. barley, oats, wheat and rice)

Keep feeding your baby new fruits, vegetables, meats and grains and keep expanding their baby palate. Only now, you don’t have to puree your foods as finely (think as thick as mashed potato), and you can start combining your ingredients.You’re pretty much a chef!

At this point, no single baby food is going to really fill up your baby the way it used to a couple of months ago. Your goal is to find the perfect combinations of foods that provide the balance of vitamins, minerals and energy that your still growing baby needs, but are also tasty too.

Of course, you can also start to teach your baby to feed themselves. After all, who doesn’t love a bit of finger food? If you’ve got soft finger foods, now’s the time to introduce them to your baby. You could set up a nice little platter too.


Stage 3 Baby Foods

This stage is typically for when the baby is 10-12 months old.

At this point, your baby’s appetite is growing, because you’ve shown it so many different foods. Now you can bring it up a notch and give your baby a wider range of foods that have a bit more texture to them, such as soft chunks of more solid foods. While you’re learning what food to give your baby, they are learning to chew and swallow.

Types of baby food in this stage include:

  • Well-cooked vegetables
  • Ripe fruits
  • Shredded meat
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Soft cheese
  • Cooked pasta
  • Small pieces of tofu

You don’t need us to tell you that your baby is becoming more energetic, as you’ve probably got your hands full as you’re reading this. But now your baby’s needs are changing, and you’re going to need to fix their diet so they can keep their energy going.


Stage 4 Baby Foods

This stage is typically for when the baby is 13 months old and onward.

Congratulations! They grow up so fast.

Your baby has come a long way along their dietary journey, going from liquidised baby food to purees to solids. They have experienced many different kinds of flavours and textures with their baby food, but soon they’ll be ready to move on to the next stage of their diet.

There is no hard definition as to what Stage 4 Baby Foods are. Instead, you get to choose between continuing to give your child the carefully prepared toddler foods of Stage 3, or you can start to introduce your child to the foods that the rest of the family are eating.

Of course, there are considerations that come with this choice, such as:

  • Is the child going to be able to handle the stronger tastes and textures of your food?
  • How you are going to manage their portions and ensure that the food is easy for them to eat
  • What kind of nutritional value your foods are going to provide your child

If you’re looking for baby food that’s nutritious, Aussie grown and, most importantly, very tasty and easy to eat, look no further than Sweetpea Foods. Our range of baby foods are easy to prepare, nutritious and safe to eat.

Nutritionist, Claire Power, wishes that Sweetpea’s products had been around when her children were starting solids.

Claire Power Nutritionist recommends

“It can be overwhelming for new parents with so many options and different styles with purees or baby led weaning. From 4 to 6 months old I recommend starting with smooth purees and increasing texture and flavours rapidly. Vegetables and fruits should be some of the first foods babies try along with an iron-fortified meal such as in the Sweetpea mixes, because iron is a very important mineral for little ones to have a healthy development,” says Claire.

“Full of good stuff, made in Australia and with no nasties, Sweetpea’s baby meals are the ideal first foods for babies. I especially like that they’re a dry food that only requires warm water to instantly become a convenient, delicious and nutritious plant-based meal with wholegrains, protein and iron.”

Adds Claire: “The Sweetpea range is also great for including different tastes and textures which is important for babies to be exposed to. As a mum and nutritionist, their banana porridge, baked beans, mushy veg and pumpkin risotto are the perfect healthy and quick snack for little ones starting solids that are also ideal for busy parents.”