As a mom, you become naturally eager to take your baby down the food aisle; you want to introduce your baby to conventional everyday food. In these times, you are a little laid back about the approach to use, what kind of food to feed your baby, and the most crucial question, when do babies start eating pureed food, the exact time to introduce your baby to these food items. Before we go ahead to answer these questions, let’s consider the feeding status quo and how and when babies start eating pureed food to introduce these food items to your baby.
What are Purees
Purees are finely made food items blended into a smooth suspension. Essentially, purees are gotten from blending a particular food item (or a combination of food items), especially vegetables, into a fine semi-liquid. Now it all adds up. It is crucial to note that just like all other stages of child growth let’s say crawling, sitting, walking feeding too has to be done in stages.
The best way to bring a baby new food is by making them into purees. Babies are originally used to taking liquid breast milk and formula. However, their digestive tract has not been modified to take in solids or food items with a rough texture. Due to this fact, baby dietary integration has to be done gradually and in stages to allow the baby’s organ and taste system to get used in its own time.
It is crucial to state that not all babies get acclimatized to taking in purees at the same time; some get used to new food items rather rapidly while some do not.
NOTE – Just as it is important not to introduce a baby to purees, solid food, or purees with texture at a time too early, it is also important that it is not done too late.
Why you should be careful to introduce food items in stages
To reiterate the importance of stage-by-stage integration, let’s examine some of the effects of the untimely introduction of a baby to purees, solid food (or food with texture).
Introducing purees, purees with texture or solid food too early may cause the baby to choke while eating, and in extreme cases, it may lead to convulsions. This is because the esophageal muscles are not yet modified to support the weight they are subjected to.
Introducing Purees and Solid foods a bit too early causes indigestion and bowel disorders in babies. They may begin to experience pain, discomfort, and sometimes serious diarrhea. This is dangerous to babies as they lose too much body fluid and stress their organs that are still under development.
In some cases, the baby’s body is forced to adapt to this new normal earlier than usual. However, this predisposes the baby to health issues like obesity, diabetes, and respiratory later in their active childhood.
So what happens when you introduce these food items to your baby too late?
Late introduction of purees and texture predisposes your food to food sensitivity issues and severe allergic reactions. Essentially, a baby with allergies is most likely to have a break out (of rashes, Eczema, etcetera) when introduced to certain food items very late. Thus, late discovery and sudden halt of allergies in babies pose a serious threat to their phenotype later on.
- Introducing purees to your baby too late robs them of proper developmental nutrients. In some children, this may lead to stunted growth and other forms of nutrient deficiency.
- Introducing Purees too late may cause a defect in a baby’s oral sensory-motor skills. That is, the baby experiences chewing, tongue movement, and swallowing – actions meant initially to be partial reflexes.
- In the event of the extreme, babies may develop cancer of the lymph when an introduction to purees is late and sudden.
Stages of puree introduction in the baby diet
So let’s dive right in; when is the right time to introduce a baby to pureed food? How do you determine the correct time frame for the stages? What are the differences in the steps of puree introduction?
Stage 1 of Puree introduction
This is the very first stage of introducing a baby to puree. This should be done within the 4-6 months of child growth. Friendly reminder that not all babies get used to purees very early; while some get acclimatized immediately in the fourth month, it extends to 5 or 6 months in some.
The Pureed food in this stage is to be made from a single ingredient and blended properly into a very fine suspension. At this stage of puree introduction, you should go one at a time and watch out for allergies.
You can also try different flavors and food colors to check for your baby’s interests and dislikes. Here is a list of possible vegetables and fruits you can use for stage 1 purees
- Sweet potato
- Green beans
- Oatmeal puree
Stage 2 of Puree introduction
This stage is between the sixth month and ninth month of a baby’s growth. In this stage of Puree introduction, you are allowed to be diverse. You can introduce spices, herbs, and multiple beneficial ingredients into your baby’s Puree. It also has to be smooth in texture.
However, it can be thicker than the Puree made in the previous stage. By now, you have known the type of food that triggers allergic reactions in your baby so that you can avoid them. You can introduce a little bit of grain, cereals, and proteins at this stage.
This stage initiates your baby into the world of variety and flavor. Here are a few new food items combinations that you can introduce into your new puree recipe;
- Beet, cherry, and banana puree
- Avocado Banana and blueberry puree
- Nutmeg, Carrot, and blueberry puree
- Pear and oatmeal puree
- Mango, sweet potato, and ginger Puree
- Salmon and strawberry Puree
- Pea puree fennel and peach
Stage 3 of Puree introduction
The third stage of puree introduction is the ultimate stage of feeding your baby pureed food. In this stage, your baby is well over 9 months old. You are allowed to introduce your baby to chewing and active swallowing. This means that you can begin to introduce small chunks of properly cooked solid food into the baby’s pure mixture.
By now, the baby is already used to the diversity of flavor through combinations, so you need a little bit of upgrade. All of these provide a smooth background for weaning for both the mom and the baby. It is easier to make compared to other stages; all you need to do is pulse your food in a blender and add suitable food chunks.
You can introduce spices, meats, yogurts, whole fruits, etcetera. Here are some combination suggestions for your puree recipe;
- Rice pudding, peach with vanilla, and cinnamon
- A chunky combination of oatmeal, sweet potato
- Meat chunked up in a vegetable puree
- Mint, cheese, carrot, and chicken Puree
- Millet, Cherry, and Carrot Puree
- Avocado, mango, and blueberry Puree (the avocado is not blended but instead cut into small chunks)
- Pasta made of carrot
What you need to successfully make puree and feed them to your baby
- A baby bib
- A high chair
- Under mats for high chairs
- Stick mixer
- Ice cube trays
- Steaming basket
How to make purees for your baby
There are different types of Purees according to the number of ingredients and the stages of baby development. However, despite the differences, Puree making for babies has general steps that are applicable to all. The only differences would be in the smoothness and the sequence of adding food items.
Ensure to clean the food item, fruit, and vegetable you want to use for the Puree. Then, you can go ahead to peel the ones that need peeling and wash them properly.
Cook the food or vegetable using any method that you find suitable. However, steaming is the most advisable method to conserve nutrients and keep food safe for your baby’s consumption.
When the food or vegetable has softened considerably, add enough water to the degree of thickness you want. If the vegetable is boiled, you can retain the water that you used to steam it. That way, the vegetable retains the nutrients.
Blender, whisker, or whatever tool you want to use, blend the food item or vegetable into the desired thickness and smoothness.
If your baby can’t finish the Puree at once, store it in a refrigerator with ice cube trays.
Benefits of feeding your baby purees
Purees are the best ways to prepare your baby for weaning. As you go up the stages, your baby learns to depend less on breast milk; this makes weaning a lot less stressful for you as a mom.
They are the perfect stimulants of bowel regulation in babies. A gradual introduction of purees prepares the bowels for digesting a higher class of the food. Aside from that, the vegetable component of purees serves their function as fibers by adding motility to the baby’s bowel when necessary.
The nutrients of the food items in the Puree – alongside breast milk – facilitate healthy growth, clear skin, and fast integration of the infant to the culture of feeding.
Have You Read These Yet?
Purees are a great way to feed your baby. Aside from the list of recipes and samples written above, you can get creative with your combo and choice of fruits. All you that is required is to watch out for is how to get the perfect and healthy blend at the right time.