When should I feed what?
For an explanation of the stages Read here…
Sprout’s unique pouch packaging.
When Should I Feed What?
The age recommendations for when you start each stage are general guidelines. Some babies are ready for ‘2’ foods before they are 7-8 months, while others might not be ready for them until they are 9-10 months old. Instead of starting each stage of baby food at these ages, it is usually more important that each baby advances through the different stages in their own good time.
Starter – 1st stage
It is recommended that parents try new foods one at a time for 3 to 5 days to test for allergies to any food ingredient while the baby is still primarily breast or formula feeding. Some parents like to add baby’s usual breast milk or formula to a 1st stage food to ease the transition and add a bit of familiarity to a new experience.
Intermediate – 2nd stage
These recipes are combinations of two or more ingredients. Nutritionally, these foods are designed to complement continued breast or formula feeding as your baby is exploring even more foods and flavors.
Advanced – 3rd stage
Meals with Texture
These recipes are designed for children comfortable with more texture in their foods. These recipes also provide more balanced nutrition including more protein and calories for babies eating more food and less breast milk or formula.
What should I feed my baby?
Q: What nutrients should my child get from food?
A: Babies in the earliest months of eating solid foods are still getting their main calories and nutrition from breast milk or formula. The most important thing is for your baby to establish healthy eating habits, and positive food associations. Introduce your baby to a variety of ingredients and you will deliver a variety of nutrients the way nature intended!
Q: When should I start feeding protein-rich foods like meats?
A: Most babies before the age of 8 months have no additional dietary need for protein beyond what they are receiving from breast milk or formula. From about 8 months, meats and other sources of protein, such as vegetables, will be more important parts of your child’s diet. You should make all decisions about your child’s diet under the guidance of your child’s pediatrician or nutritionist.
Q: Is fat an important part of my baby’s diet?
A: Babies need fat for growth, for brain development, and to help absorb fat-soluble vitamins, as well as other functions in the body. If you take all the water out of breast milk, half of what’s left behind is fat.
Babies are growing at a rapid rate and fat provides the much-needed concentrated calories to support and fuel this growth. Fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, which is important for babies who have smaller digestive systems and need more calories in a smaller amount of food.
Fat is also an important part of brain and nervous system development, as about two-thirds of the brain is made up of fat. Fat is a vital part of cell membranes and also insulates the nerve fibers in the brain.
You should make all decisions about your child’s diet under the guidance of your child’s pediatrician or nutritionist.
Q: How many calories should my baby be getting?
A: As long as the calories you are providing are from primarily breast milk or formula and high quality calorie dense foods, and not from juice or sugary empty calories, your child will likely stop eating when full and regulate his or her own caloric intake.
If you have some concerns of either too many or too few calories, take an accurate account of your child’s food intake, and bring this information with you to discuss with your doctor. The doctor will monitor your child’s development and make recommendations based on individual growth and weight.
Q: Why are some of the daily values scores for protein different, even though the grams per serving may be the same?
A: The FDA measures the value of protein from different sources based on the present amino acids and the digestibility of the protein. The FDA uses egg albumen (egg white protein) as the reference point, so different protein sources will have different daily values based on the amino acids and other factors as measured against this standard. For instance, some vegetable proteins lack certain amino acids and will receive a lower daily value than the protein contained in animal products, such as milk, meat, fish, and eggs, even though the quantity in grams may be the same.
Q: How do I know how much to feed my baby at mealtimes?
A: When you begin, you are introducing your baby to the idea of eating something other than breast milk or formula, more than supplementing your baby’s diet. For that reason, it is not necessary at first for your baby to eat a certain amount. Your child should show readiness signs that they are ready to begin solids (discuss these with your pediatrician), and one of those signs is the ability to turn their head. This ability enables your child to signal you by turning away from the spoon.
Babies differ so much in their preferences and their readiness for solids that it’s difficult to make hard and fast rules about the consistency, amount, and type of solid foods to offer. You and your pediatrician should discuss your individual child’s needs as they grow and develop.
Q: Should I feed from the pouch or use a bowl?
A: If your child generally finishes an entire package of baby food and you do not plan to store any remaining food in the pouch, then there isn’t any concern about serving directly from the pouch. It is not recommended that food be stored that has come in contact with a spoon that has been in your child’s mouth, due to enzymes and bacteria that can be introduced into the food. It is for this reason that generally the recommendation is for all baby foods (homemade and store bought) to be served from a bowl, but most parents like the convenience of serving directly from the package.
If you decide to feed from the Sprout pouch, use your spoon to push the gusset at the bottom of the pouch all the way down creating a bowl-shape rather than multiple creases. The bottom gets folded up in shipping, but the pouch is very sturdy and can be pushed against with no concern of tearing it. Longer handled baby spoons work best with our pouches.
Q: Does my baby really care about flavor at this age?
A: Babies actually have better tasting ability than adults! They have about 7-10 thousand little buds all over their mouth, not just on the tongue. As we age we gradually lose these other taste buds. Introducing your child to real food flavors early will help make them more accepting of a varied healthy diet as they grow.
Q: What makes Sprout taste better than other baby foods?
A: Sprout uses unique cooking methods and combinations developed with our co-founder and chef Tyler Florence. We bake and roast our fruits and vegetables for better flavor and texture than you will get from steaming or boiling. When you steam or boil foods, a lot of the flavor and nutrients are extracted into the water, which is mostly discarded. What is left behind and absorbed into the food just makes it “watery”.
At Sprout Baby Foods, we believe it is important to feed babies fruit flavors as well as vegetable flavors, something some other brands do not offer.