Moving from second to third stage foods

My 10-month-old son continues to eat second stage foods while beginning to like table foods. Should I change to third stage foods now?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Yes and no. Your son is in the thick of changes now, as he moves out of babyhood and into toddlerhood. The transition will be sporadic, at times chaotic, and challenging, but rewarding, for you to nurture. One of the big changes will be in what he eats.

Now is a great time to introduce stage three foods because they will provide him with more textural stimulation, are of a thicker and thus more appropriate consistency, and introduce him to a wider variety of foods. However, some stage two foods will still serve him for a long time to come. You may be giving way to soft cooked diced carrots from the dinner table and abandoning the pureed carrots in a jar, but my guess is he will still enjoy the applesauce and other fruit purees. Pureed squash is fine for all ages, and convenient for you if you don't have the time to cook and mash a fresh squash. The yogurt breakfasts will be a great snack for him for a few more years still, you will just need to hide the baby food jar so as not to hurt his ego when it is no longer 'cool' to be eating baby food.

It is important for you to continue with the iron fortified baby cereal well into the second year of life. The iron fortification is still critical for proper brain development and baby cereal provides the most bioavailable form of fortification iron. The small juice jars are a perfect way to control the amount of juice you allow your son to have during a day. By limiting him to one four ounce jar, you can be sure he is not filling up on juice to the exclusion of more important foods. You can dilute that four ounces to eight ounces by adding some fresh spring water. The vitamin C in the juice will make an important contribution to his daily intake of that vitamin.

Continue to offer him table foods and finger foods. You can go beyond crackers and begin to offer him soft cooked fruits and vegetables, ripe banana pieces, tender pieces of cooked fish, well cooked legumes, muffins, and soft bread. Babies his age also enjoy a stale bagel to gnaw on when teething.

In summary, it is fine to continue to have stage two foods in your son's diet so long as he is not resisting the changes to more appropriate foods for his age, which should include more textured foods, as you say it does. Stage three foods are a great addition at this point as are table foods.

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