Your baby goes through many physical and mental stages in his first year. The same can be said for his diet. He goes from only drinking breast milk or formula to eating regular foods by the end of his first year. By the time he is about 8 or 9 months old, he can begin to eat Gerber Stage 3 foods, also known as Gerber NatureSelect 3rd Foods.
Introduction to Solid Foods
At about 4 months old, your baby can begin to eat solid foods. These solid foods include baby cereals and runny, pureed fruits and vegetables. These foods are considered Stage 1 foods by Gerber. When your baby is 6 months old, she can start to have Stage 2 foods, which are a little thicker and have larger serving sizes.
Gerber Stage 3 Foods
Gerber Stage 3 foods are the final foods your baby will eat before he graduates to table foods. Stage 3 foods are similar to the foods he had at Stages 1 and 2, but Gerber NatureSelect 3rd Foods include small pieces of table food mixed in. Stage 3 foods are intended to help introduce this "real" food into your baby's diet and help him to get used to the texture and chewing that's involved in processing table food.
Starting Baby on 3rd Foods
Unless your pediatrician says otherwise, you can start your baby on Stage 3 foods when she's about 8 months old. Initially, you'll give him small bites so that he is not taken by surprise by the little pieces of food that are mixed in. Give him a chance to play with these little pieces so he can get used to chewing them. Once he shows he's capable of handling the pieces of food, you can give him bigger spoonfuls at a more rapid rate. As with any new food your baby eats, try one new food at a time to check for any potential allergic reaction.
When to Stop
There's no set time when you should stop giving your baby Gerber NatureSelect 3rd Foods. It is up to you. When you think she's capable of handling chunks of food on her own, you can begin to transition her onto table foods. For some kids, this might only take a couple of weeks of Stage 3 feedings; for others, it might take longer. By 10 months, she should be ready to move on to table foods.
When your baby is eating table foods, he's essentially done with baby food. Any progress made going forward in eating will simply mean he can have bigger pieces of table foods. Once he's on table foods, there's no need to go back to the pureed foods. As the name of the Gerber Graduates line suggests, he's now ready for anything he's capable of putting in his mouth and chewing.
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