Your baby has passed the important milestone of first foods and is now a champion eater (or not), and now, it's time to introduce new and more advanced foods into your child's diet.
When your baby is approximately 7 to 8 months old, he or she will most likely be ready to advance into the second stage of foods, which will open up a whole world of possibilities.
What Foods to Introduce
Stage two of baby food is when you can start introducing all kinds of new things into your baby's diet, including egg yolks, meat, yogurt, hard cheeses, and nut butters.
Did I just say nut butters? Yes, yes I did. But, surely, I didn't mean peanut butter? Actually, that's exactly what I meant.
Previously, parents were advised not to introduce nuts, especially peanuts, into their child's diet until they were older, but new guidelines published in 2017 by the National Institute of Health recommends that parents start giving their children, even at-risk children, peanut puree as early as 4 months of age.
According to NPR,
"The guidelines are largely based on dramatic findings from a large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015. Researchers found that babies at high risk of developing a peanut allergy who were fed the equivalent of about 4 heaping teaspoons of peanut butter each week, starting at the age of 4 to 11 months, were about 80 percent less likely to develop an allergy to the legume by age 5 than similar kids who avoided peanuts."
The second stage of baby food is also a great time to start adding fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and butter and spices into your child's diet.
Best Foods to Introduce During Stage 2
- Egg yolk (cooked and chopped into small pieces)
- Meat - chicken, red meat, and some fish (cooked and blended)
- Nut butters
What About Texture?
Unlike stage one baby food, stage two baby food should have some texture to it, such as a lumps and a thicker consistency. While you'll still need to mash food up fruits and vegetables and blend meats, this is the time when your baby is starting to learn to use their gums and first teeth to "chew" food.
The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that you shouldn't give babies at this stage food that can cause choking, though. Foods that are choking hazards are hot dogs, nuts, seeds, chunks of meat, chunks of cheese, hard fruit, grapes, popcorn and raw veggies.
You can, however, give your baby small chunks of soft cooked food (or raw bananas) to pick up and eat, allowing him or her to start helping in the feeding process.
Prepackaged or Homemade?
This is a personal choice, but homemade food will always win out in the taste department, and it will give you the peace of mind of knowing exactly what went into your baby's meal.
Making homemade stage two baby food for your child is no harder than making food for the rest of the family. If you're making meat and mashed potatoes for your family, feed your baby the same thing. The only variation that you'll want to make is to blend up the meat and make sure the mashed potatoes are bland (i.e., no salt) for your baby. The best way to do this is to portion out a small amount of the potatoes and meat before you add additional salt and pepper. (Note: Stage two is a great time to start adding spices to your baby's diet, but you still want to be careful with certain spices and seasonings. While a baby can have a small amount of salt, too much salt before 12 months of age can hurt your child's immature kidneys.)
If you're in a pinch, though, there are some great (and organic!) prepackaged baby food available at your local grocery store.
Homemade Stage 2 Baby Food Ideas
Oatmeal and Peanut Butter
Adding peanut butter to oatmeal is a great and delicious way to introduce peanuts into your child's diet.
1/2 c. Old Fashioned Oats
1 c. Water
1-2 T. Peanut Butter
1/4 t. Cinnamon (optional)
Bring water to rolling boil, add in oats, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until water is absorbed and oats are soft. Stir in peanut butter and cinnamon. Let cool and serve.
Yogurt and Cinnamon Apples
1/2 c. Plain yogurt
1 T. Butter
1/4 t. Cinnamon (optional)
Peel and chop the apple into small, bite-size pieces. Add apple and butter to a skillet and sauté until apple is very tender. Add in cinnamon and stir until combined.
Allow apple to cool and then mash into small pieces with fork or potato masher. Mix apple into plain yogurt and serve.
Whatever foods you choose to feed your child, remember to have fun and enjoy this special time of food exploration with your growing baby.