Pureed baby food is typically introduced into an infant's diet between the ages of four and six months. This type of baby food can be made at home from scratch, or it can be purchased in a supermarket. When a baby first starts eating baby food, it is usually pureed until very smooth. As the infant grows older, baby food typically will have a thicker texture with more soft chunks of food. Types of pureed baby food include vegetables, fruits, and meats. As a baby becomes comfortable with eating solid food, he can eat baby foods that contain a mixture of vegetables or fruits with meats, and those that include rice or pasta.
Store-bought baby food is generally classified by developmental stages. The first stage is very smooth pureed baby food, while the second stage will have more texture, and the third stage usually contains soft food bits, such as rice or pasta. Homemade baby food purees can also be made from scratch. An infant should be comfortable eating and swallowing smooth baby foods before a thicker pureed version is introduced.
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Vegetables are usually the first type of pureed baby food that an infant eats. A variety of different store-bought vegetable baby foods are available, and many varieties can also be made easily at home. Common vegetable purees include peas, green beans, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes.
Many babies enjoy eating fruity pureed baby food. The healthiest purees do not contain added sugar, but the natural sweetness of fruit is usually appealing to babies learning to eat new foods. The first stage of fruit baby food is usually very smooth, and as a baby matures it may be blended to a lesser degree. Some popular fruit pureed baby foods are bananas, apples, and pears.
Protein is generally introduced after an infant has become comfortable eating both fruits and vegetable purees. In the first stage of meat baby foods, proteins like chicken or beef are usually ground up, and water is then blended with it until it is very smooth. Gravies or sauces may be pureed with the meat for more flavor, after a baby has shown the ability to successfully eat this type of food.
As an infant grows he will usually want to taste a wider variety of foods. Pureed baby food that contains a mixture of different ingredients can be purchased or made. Beef or chicken mixed with vegetables — such as sweet potatoes, peas, or carrots — are popular, and babies may also enjoy chicken with peaches or apples. A baby who has been eating solids for a few months may also eat a pureed baby food that includes pieces of well-cooked pasta or rice.