Stage 3 (9-12 months)
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER:
Your baby will not taste salt or sugar until you allow it. Hold off on these as long as possible! These substances add nothing to your baby’s nutrition. Look for spices and herbs adding good things to you baby’s diet. Occasionally someone will give your baby something sweet. However the food you prepare and serve will be the norm. Allow your child to learn to appreciate the true taste of fruit and vegetables with out the interference of salt and sugar at home. (Processed baby food has salt and sugar because adults do not like the taste with out it. Because your baby has not tasted these things he will not miss them.)
Your baby will not need warm food until you introduce it. Breastmilk is at room temperature for baby. It is lukewarm as best. Do not feel you need to heat baby’s fruit and vegetables. Most of these are eaten at room temperature for adults. Salads and fruits as such. Let refrigerated items warm to room temperature before serving them to baby. Avoiding heating baby’s food protects baby from being burned and saves you the concern of getting the temperature right.
Introducing non-pureed food to baby is when things actually start being fun! Cheerios, tiny bites of fruit and berries make life so much easier!!! You will know baby is ready when he starts reaching for food you are eating. Be sure the items are soft as baby does not have molars with which to chew food yet. Be careful to cut very small bites and do not allow baby to stuff them all in at one time. Choking is a problem to be aware of. Also, be very aware of what others maybe giving to your baby. They may not know the stage your baby is in. The best thing to do is to ask others to only give baby items you provide. They may think you are a little overprotective, but this protects baby big time!!! They want to participate, show them appreciation and let them, under your watchful eye. Folks don’t realize how quickly they forget the stages in baby’s development: Example: When our first baby was five months old a good friend handed me her newborn. I was surprised he couldn’t hold his head up!!!! Ha! This was just a few short months since I had been there. We all forget!!!!!
Be careful of things like nuts. They are much harder than baby is accustomed to and can get stuck in baby’s throat. Also, items like hot dogs and grapes, through soft, can get caught. Cut them very small and be very aware when baby is eating.
When you purchase pre-cut foods or foods you believe are a good size for you baby always check the items. Pour out what you plan to use and be sure all pieces are a size you are comfortable serving your little one.
Prepare some of you favorite mild recipes and let baby enjoy them with you. If you enjoy spicy or salted foods take baby’s portion out of the meal before the spices are added.
Snack servings should be about the size of a baby’s fist. (A lot of it may end up as a casualty on the floor.) As babies approach their first birthdays, they are probably drinking less breast milk or formula and eating more solid foods. They can eat snacks now, which they’ll use to show off their newfound power of the pincer grasp. Snacks can be as simple as small cubes of mild Cheddar, sliced and quartered bananas, blueberries, or some of your pasta. Keep pieces small (about ¼-inch dice): They shouldn’t be too hard to hold or chew, and portions should be about the size of your baby’s fist.