Baby cereal is generally the first solid food that a parent will feed her child. After that, the baby can be introduced to a variety of baby food products, which are usually separated into different stages. Babies will generally start eating pureed fruits and vegetables after infant cereal, and then move on to chunkier mixtures of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Commercial baby foods can be purchased in convenient single servings, but some parents may prefer to make all or some of their baby's food themselves.
Once a baby is able to hold his head up and sit on his own, he is usually ready to begin eating solid foods. Baby cereal, or infant cereal, is usually recommended for a baby's first solid food. While rice cereal is the most common type of infant cereal, parents can also choose oatmeal or wheat infant cereal. These baby food products should be mixed with breast milk, formula, or juice before they are consumed.
After a baby is able to eat infant cereals without any problems, he can then move on to first stage baby food products. These products generally consist of finely pureed fruits or vegetables. Infants should generally be fed just one fruit or vegetable at a time to start out with. Once a baby is able to digest one food and has no allergic reactions, he can then be fed another food.
As an infant's digestive tract develops and he has eaten several stage-one foods, he can then move on to stage-two baby food products. These types of baby food are usually introduced at around seven or eight months of age. Although they are still pureed, they generally have a somewhat lumpier texture, which can help a baby get used to chewing larger pieces in his mouth. Stage-two foods may also have more than one ingredient, such as a meats and vegetables.
Stage-three foods are usually even chunkier than stage-two foods. These baby food products will also usually contain more than two ingredients. When a baby is able to eat these foods without a problem, he can then begin to eat small amounts of soft, regular food. Special baby meals can often be found in most grocery stores, and babies can also usually eat regular food, as long as it is cut into small pieces.
Commercial pureed baby foods are very convenient baby food products, since they are already the perfect consistency for an infant and they come in infant sized servings. Buying these products, however, can get somewhat expensive, and some parents prefer to make their own baby food. This can be done by pureeing food with a blender, food processor, or baby food maker.