We are so delighted that your baby is growing steadily.
We are sure that you are asking the same question that is on the lips of several parents, “when should I begin to feed my baby with stage 3, 3rd stage, or 3rd level food?”
That’s why you are reading this article.
We have conducted an in-depth study around the subject of feeding babies with 3rd level food, and we will provide you with information that will help you weather through this phase successfully with your baby.
Let’s dive right into it.
What is Stage 3, Baby Food?
At stages 1 and 2, your baby eats purred food, but at the 3rd stage, you introduce them to lumpy and chunky foods.
Stage 3 is where your baby begins to feed on individual portions of food that do not create any mess, generally referred to as finger foods.(1)
3rd level baby food also includes lightly-mashed cooked vegetables and finely-diced fruit.
One essential feature of 3rd stage baby food is the mixture of foods with diverse textures and tastes.
In an attempt to feed your baby with 3rd level foods, you are also introducing them to new healthy eating habits that will be useful even in the future.
What is the importance of stage 3 baby foods?
Babies will grow to become adults who will no longer find the required nutrients in purred food. Thus, they need to learn to gnaw and chew food.
But will they learn this in one day? Obviously, NO.
3rd level foods help babies to master the act of gnawing, chewing, and swallowing food without gagging and choking.
Babies that take 3rd stage baby foods will develop good sensitivity to foods of different kinds, tastes, and textures.
We are sure that you are itching to know precisely when to begin giving your baby 3rd level foods. We are there already.
When should I begin feeding my baby stage 3 foods?
There is no straight jacket answer to this question; however, babies are usually ready for 3rd level foods when they are 9 to 10 months old.
Each baby is unique; thus, we cannot set a hard and fast rule for stage 3 baby food. However, some signs could help you know that you can begin to feed your baby with 3rd level foods.
When your baby
It may be time to move them to 3rd level foods.
We believe that you desire to know the foods you can feed your baby within the 3rd stage. We'll also provide information on' that.
Which foods can I give my baby in stage 3?
At the 3rd stage, you can feed your baby with almost any kind of food; however, you must ensure that the baby can mush the food easily.
How do you ensure that babies can mush food easily?
- Cut up a large chunk of foods into smaller pieces.
- Boil grains till they are very soft
- Mash fruit
- Shred meats
You must know that at the 3rd stage, solid foods become an essential part of your baby’s diet; thus, ensure that you feed them with nutritious solid foods.
Rather than providing your baby with only rice cereal, use fortified baby cereals like oats, barley, and multigrain.
Why is it wrong to feed your baby with rice cereal only?
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, your baby risks being exposed to Arsenic when fed with rice cereals. (3)
Other food recommendations for the 3rd stage include:
Why do we recommend feeding your baby with a variety of these solid foods?
As soon as your baby gets used to these first 3rd level foods, you can progress to more advanced 3rd level baby foods.
Some healthy and nutritious combinations of foods for 3rd level babies are discussed as follows.
- Pasta and Chicken meatballs: Ditalini is an example of an excellent tiny pasta fed to 3rd level babies. It would be best if you cooked the pasta until it is very soft to aid easy chewing. To supply protein in the diet, add chicken meatballs to the food.
- Carrot pasta: This meal provides babies with adequate vitamins for healthy growth. To prepare this meal, you need five medium carrots, ½ coriander teaspoon, ½ orange zest teaspoon, and ½ dry pasta.
- Broccoli, Beef Meatloaf, and Butternut Squash: Your baby gets a lot of protein and iron from this combination. Be sure to cut the broccoli into bits to aid comfortable mushing.
- Sweet potato, sausage, and Egg bite: This combination provides calcium, iron, and protein for your baby. You can prepare it by layering egg bites with sweet potatoes and Italian sausage.
- English pea, potato, and Salmon cake: When you pair organic English pea with potato and salmon cake seasoned with lemon, you provide a nutritious vitamin-filled diet for your baby.
All the 3rd level food options we have discussed are homemade. There are commercially prepared 3rd stage baby food that you can buy from a store if you do not have enough time to prepare stage 3 baby food at home.
Some of them are:
- Heinz Vegetables Beef and Spaghetti (Junior Food)
- Earth’s Best Chunky Orchard Fruit
- Beech-Nut Naturals Stage 3 Chicken Lasagna
- Gerber 3rd Foods Broccoli and Carrot with Cheese
What are the tips for preparing stage 3 baby foods?
General tips for preparing homemade stage 3 foods are highlighted below.
Always add a formula, breast milk, or water to cooked cereals and mashed grains to make chewing and swallowing easier for your baby
Smoothen fruits, vegetables, and other foods by pureeing or mashing them.
Ensure that you cook solid foods until you can easily mash them with a fork before giving them to your baby.
Cook hard fruits and vegetables like carrots and apple to make it easier to mash them.
Slice soft food so that your baby does not choke while trying to swallow them.
Remove all bones, fat, and skin from fish, meat, and poultry before cooking them or giving them to your baby.
Cut sphere-shaped fruits like grapes, berries, Altand cherries into small pieces so that your baby can easily mush them.
Slice cylinder-shaped foods like sausage, hot dogs, among others, into small pieces, so they don’t choke your baby.
Ensure that you cook and mash or finely-grind wheat, oats, barley, and other whole grains before giving them to your baby.
Now that we have discussed 3rd level foods extensively, we are sure that you want to know how best to move your baby from stage 2 to stage 3 baby foods; thus, you ask...
How do I move my baby from stage 2 baby foods to stage 3 foods?
You must know that there are significant differences between stage 2 and 3rd level baby foods. The feel and sensory experience of the two food stages are entirely different for the baby.
You need to be methodical and patient while moving your baby from stage 2 foods to 3rd level foods. (3)
The following tips should help.
Monitor your baby as they experiment with foods referred to as “hard munchables.” These are goods that can help your baby to feel different textures and learn tongue movement. They include beef jerky, celery sticks, stale liquorice, among others.
When your baby has practiced with the hard munchables, you can progress to giving them meltable solids such as veggie sticks, graham crackers, among others.
As soon as you are through with that, move on to giving your baby soft cubes of food cut to about pinky nail size. Here, you can feed your baby with bits of cooked carrots and potatoes and sliced bananas.
After this, progress to portions of pasta, lunch meats, and other soft mechanical foods.
From here, you can now begin to feed your baby with the homemade and commercially prepared 3rd level foods that have been discussed earlier in this article.
We are sure that you are aware that red flags are to evade when giving 3rd level foods to your baby, and you want to know them. So, we believe the next question on your mind is
What are the precautions to take when feeding my baby with stage 3 foods?
As mentioned earlier, 3rd level foods are significantly different from stage 2 foods, and the risk of choking is heightened with stage 3 baby food than with stage 2 food.
Discussed below are some warnings to keep in mind as you transition your baby to stage 3 foods.
We are sure that the information provided in this article has benefitted you in no small way. We are sure that you and your baby will have a good time together in stage 3.