When Hank first started on puree, I made them. Because I had one child. And that child was only going to get the best. So I steamed pees and boiled carrots. I pureed until every mini mason jar in the city had been filled with mushy love. I thawed and warmed to perfection. And he prefered the store bought. Little turd.
I quickly realized this was a great reason to make my life easier, and embraced me some Gerber’s. I spend only about one month on purees before going to the real deal…because when your mom does feeding therapy things like this happen. But even in my super aware feeding therapist mind, I became confused. Do I go from stage 2 foods to real food? But how can I skip stage 3? Are we robbing our child of a developmental milestone if we skip stage 3? And then I took a sip of my HyVee Starbucks and snapped myself out of it. Stage 3 baby foods are the worst.
Stage 3 baby foods serve no purpose other than to make you think your child hates real food. Because if you go from Stage 2 to Stage 3 in store bought baby food world – you are actually going from Stage 2 to Stage 5 in feeding development world.
Stage 2 is a puree, and to be honest, not that different than stage 1. Store baby food stage 3 is a puree with chunks of multiple different textures and flavors in it. You are going from T-ball to the Major Leagues here. You skipped coach pitch, summer rec, high school, and all the other baseball levels out there that I don’t know anything about. (I am immediately regretting using baseball as an analogy). But we all know you gotta do coach pitch.
In feeding development world, things need to go a little differently. First you got those purees. Easy pea-sy (did you see what I did there?). They pop those spoonfuls of mush in there mouth and there is no wrong way to swallow them down. We then move to munchables. I am the queen of munchables. If I was ever in a parade, I would throw out beef sticks and celery bunches. It would be a wierd parade, but we would have a whole parade route full of excellent eaters. If you don’t know about munchables, you need to. You can click HERE to learn what they are, and HERE for the grocery list. After your little one is munching away with a nice rotating chew on those munchables (we have just been awarded the “most time the word munchables has been printed in a blog post” – yay us!) then we can move on to meltables. Meltables are things that you can literally suck to death if you try. Crackers, puffs, wafers, cheetos…you know, all the good stuff. Because they already know how to chew since they learned on munchables, they will chew this with no problems! Then we can move on to mashables. Think peas, cheese, noodles, diced ham. Unlike munchables, these foods cave under pressure. And unlike meltables, you can’t suck these to death.
THEN we can move onto mixed flavors and textures. And there is no reason to go purchase those Stage 3 foods at this point. Give your kid spaghetti, tator tot caserole, chicken pot pie. Give them all those midwest caseroles and hot dishes they deserve. It is their birth rite as a child of the great plains.
But wait….just to be clear….if you do the whole puree thing and then offer your child a mixture of delicious textures and flavors (again, think tator tot caserole), and they LOVE it. Keep on giving them those delicious mixes! Some little ones do not need to climb the developmental hierarchy, and that is okay! Hank needed every. single. step. Gus went from breast milk to sweet corn, ribs, and pasta salad. Respect your little one’s flow. As long as they are eating and happy, they are doing it right!