icon-arrow-down icon icon-arrow-fill-down icon icon-arrow-next icon icon-arrow-prev icon icon-tag-close icon
When can baby eat stage two and three food?
Q: When should stage two and three foods be introduced? I've been giving my 8-month-old baby cereal only in the morning and mixing up fruit and veggies for lunch and dinners. The advice I read is never specific about what each meal should look like.
Ruth
A: There's a reason why you can't find a menu listed for infant feeding: Babies are all different in what they will eat or can tolerate, so to adhere to a fixed menu is not in the best interests of any baby. The guideline to introduce cereal at 6 months is an example of this. Some babies are ready at 5 months and others at 7. Feeding guidelines only give you an idea of what's appropriate for a particular age.

Up until 4 or 5 months, babies have something called an extrusion reflex that causes them to push food out of their mouths. However, after 5 months most babies can take a small bit of cereal and transfer it to the back of the tongue. We give thinned cereals and pureed foods at this age while they are learning how to eat solids, which is really all they do until 10 months of age. Until then, breast milk or formula is still the main source of nutrition.

Moving on to the next category of foods depends totally on your baby's ability to transfer and swallow. I recommend you feed only single flavors—no mixed dinners—to make it easier to detect any potential food sensitivities.

The general guidelines for infant feeding are as follows: Cereal from 5 to 6 months (rice to begin), strained foods at 7, textured foods and meats at 8 and soft or mashed foods at 9 to 10 months. Please refer to our Infant Feeding Series for more specific information.

Susan M. Leisner RD, IBCLC, RLC Nutritionist & Lactation Consultant