You have probably read dozens of resources about what to feed your baby, how much to feed, and when. So, this article cuts the chase and gets right down to selecting the right stage-2 baby cereal for your baby. This is the stage when your infant is ready to try new textures and tastes.
While there is nothing carved in stone about the age at which you should introduce stage-2 food, the general rule is that your baby should have mastered the art of slurping pureed food and digesting it with ease.
Why is it Necessary to Introduce Texture at This Stage?
The CDC suggests that allowing the child to try different tastes and textures helps in developing his motor skills, chewing habits, and help him learn to appreciate various flavors and textures. You can introduce food that is mashed with small lumps, grated, finely chopped, or roughly ground.
At this stage, the food becomes complex, with a combination of two or more ingredients. Some examples are “chicken and sweet potato dinner,” “wheat, banana, and strawberry,” and “brown rice, lentil, and carrot.” Such combinations allow the infant to know what an adult meal tastes like. Bear these points in mind when selecting the appropriate stage-2 baby cereal:
Variety in Texture
When the baby begins to feel new textures in his food, he will learn to chew his food. Also, textures allow the introduction of a variety of proteins and enable your baby to move away from the stage-1 bananas, apples, and peaches. This enables him to experience a well-rounded meal.
This stage also helps introduce grains and meat to the infant. The idea is to slowly move away from the pureed sweet foods to more whole and diverse cuisines. Finger foods can help introduce texture. You can begin with baby biscuits, a piece of banana, or avocado. Watch out to ensure that your baby doesn’t try to swallow them whole.
Variety in Taste
This stage allows the introduction of different tastes like savory and sour ones. Stage-1 food is typically sweet and limited to only one or two ingredients. You now have a wider choice as your infant’s taste horizon expands. Don’t panic if the taste does not appeal to him at first. Try again after a couple of days. Some infants’ palate develops faster than that of others.
Variety in Flavor
There are so many delicious varieties of stage-2 baby cereal out there that you will never run out of choice. Adding flavor helps expand your baby’s palate. You are preparing him to chew different foods. He will understand the taste, texture, and flavor of each type of food.
Make food flavorful by adding herbs like thyme and basil, or spices like cinnamon and allspice. These smells and flavors help the child relate to certain foods.
Moving away from stage-1 food to stage-2 textures and tastes is a significant milestone for you and your baby. For you, the big step is to be able to find the right combination of ingredients that your baby enjoys. For the baby, it is about getting into the habit of chewing the food before swallowing it.
These tips should help you select the most appropriate food for your little one.