Your baby’s first 12 months of life are marked by milestone after milestone, from learning how to roll over, sit up and crawl to growing those first few baby teeth and experiencing “real” food for the very first time. One especially exciting milestone is the move away from simple Stage 1 purees into the more…Read more
After your baby has become accustomed to Stage 1 single-ingredient purees and is ready for more sophisticated tastes and textures, it’s time to dive into Stage 2 baby food combination purees.
To ease this next step of your baby’s food adventure, we’re highlighting some of the best baby food puree combos, starting with two ingredients and then moving onto more complex blends of three ingredients and more. Stick around to the end for additional Stage 2 feeding tips from one of Nurture Life’s registered dietitians!
Start With Two-Ingredient Baby Food Combinations
Somewhere around 8–10 months of age, your baby will have adjusted to the single-ingredient purees of Stage 1 and will be ready to start Stage 2 baby foods, which are generally thicker and chunkier, while introducing new ingredients and flavors.
Before diving into all those inventive multi-ingredient blends, however, we recommend easing in with a few basic purees of only two ingredients.
Why Start With Two-Ingredient Purees?
That blackberry, kale, turkey and quinoa puree may sound more fun (and maybe even more “healthy”), but we like starting with simpler two-ingredient purees. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but focusing on two-ingredient purees can help you navigate these mealtime moments:
- Food sensitivities: By introducing only one new food at a time, you’ll be able to identify any food intolerances or allergies, including the most common “Big 8” allergens.
- Food acceptance: Too much change at once can be overwhelming for a baby who’s already changing so much every single day. By focusing on small tweaks to already-accepted foods, you’ll help your baby adjust more smoothly.
- Palate development: Gradually layering new flavors and textures will help “warm up” your baby’s palate for the more advanced Stage 2 combinations.
Nutritious Ideas for Two-Ingredient Stage 2 Baby Food
As you move into Stage 2 baby food combinations, start with ingredients that your little one knows and tolerates. Keep things safe and simple by combining one already-accepted food with one new food, gradually expanding your baby’s diet one ingredient at a time.
Based on whatever your baby already likes, try out some of these two-ingredient puree ideas to get started:
- Beef & Carrot
- Banana & Avocado
- Sweet Potato & Raspberry
- Beets & Pear
- Chicken & Sweet Potato
- Zucchini & Apple
- Cauliflower & Spinach
- Pumpkin & Farro
- Green Peas & Mushrooms
- Golden Delicious Apple & Kale
- Brown Rice & Beans
- Spinach & Lentils
- Strawberry & Salmon
- Edamame & Mango
For your baby’s Stage 2 starter purees, there’s almost no two-ingredient combination you can’t try! Feel free to blend almost any fruit, veggie, grain or protein—just as long as your purees include one ingredient that your baby already accepts and remain mushy, moist and lightly textured.
Add Depth With Three-Ingredient Stage 2 Baby Food
As your baby explores different food groups, colors and flavors in the form of two-ingredient purees, you can start expanding into more complex purees of three ingredients or more.
Just like the earlier two-ingredient baby food combinations, consider introducing only one new food at a time, even as the purees get more complicated. If you’re ever worried about your baby’s tolerance of a certain food due to a family history of food allergies or otherwise, we’d recommend a combo puree that contains ingredients your baby has already tried plus one new ingredient blended in. This is also a great way to introduce the big 8 allergens (with your pediatrician’s guidance)!
Although many Stage 2 baby foods still lead with fruits and veggies, there’s so much more for your little one to explore! Expand your baby’s palate beyond the “standard stuff” with these more grown-up combination purees.
Stage 2 Purees With Whole Grains
Why not skip the quick-dissolve rice cereals and blend in some nutrient-rich whole grains? With a helping of fiber, protein and complex carbs, whole grains are important for your baby’s energy and digestive health.
Whole Grain Puree Ideas
Stage 2 Purees With Proteins
Protein serves as the main building block of the body, helping power muscle development and transport essential nutrients for bodily processes. Good sources of protein for your baby can be found in blends with meat, legumes or whole grains.
Protein-Packed Puree Ideas
- Beef, Apple & Sage
- White Fish, Potato & Pumpkin
- Sweet Potato, Kale & Chickpeas
- Turkey, Garnet Yam & Golden Beet
- Whole Milk Yogurt, Oatmeal & Blueberries
- Sweet Potato, Pear & Lentil
Stage 2 Purees With Herbs & Spices
Exposure to a variety of spices, herbs and seasonings early on can help your baby learn to accept (and even like!) more foods over a lifetime. Start integrating these new ingredients and a little culinary flare into you baby’s meals to give them a good introduction into more “adult” flavors. At Nurture Life, in addition to interesting whole grains, unexpected proteins and varied fruits and veggies, we love giving babies a palatable way to try out spices like curry, turmeric, thyme and cinnamon.
Herb & Spice Puree Ideas
- Fennel, Peach & Pea
- Mango, Carrot & Ginger
- Zucchini, Mint & Pea
- Apple, Raspberry & Vanilla Bean
- Squash, Bell Pepper, Raisin, Couscous & Curry
Your Baby Food Stage 2 FAQs, Answered
Stage 2 isn’t only about what you’re serving your baby. It’s also about providing a healthy balance of nutrients and keeping at it long enough that your little one is developmentally ready for Stage 3. One of Nurture Life’s registered dietitians explains more below.
Why is Stage 2 Important?
As an intermediary step between liquidy single-ingredient purees and more chunky finger foods, Stage 2 bridges the gap between your baby’s first food adventures and their future of self-feeding. It’s an important time for your little one to develop gumming, swallowing and self-feeding skills, as well as an acceptance of varied flavors and textures.
How Do I Help Ensure My Baby is Getting the Nutrients They Need?
During the first year of life, your baby’s primary source of nutrients should be either breast milk and/or formula. Any supplemental food is meant to help…
- Introduce new flavors and textures to expand your baby’s palate
- Provide additional nutrient benefits beyond breast milk or formula, such as added iron or dietary fiber
- Give insight into your baby’s tolerance of a variety of foods
- Teach your baby’s digestive tract to tolerate different foods
- Help with gross motor functions associated with eating
- Help with dexterity as they learn to self-feed
As long as you continue to explore new foods with your baby as you continue to offer breast milk or formula, don’t worry too much about solving for specific nutrients—your baby will get what they need!
What If My Baby Rejects Combo Purees?
Just like when your baby first started Stage 1 purees, they may take some time to develop a preference for new flavors and textures. Sometimes rejection means, “I’m not ready for that food yet,” and sometimes it means something else:
- “I’m teething.”
- “I’m too full from breast milk or formula.”
- “I’m constipated.”
- “I’m tired!”
It can be difficult to know exactly why your baby is rejecting a new combo puree, but the best answer is typically not to worry too much. Just give them a few days off and try again!
When Should My Baby Start Stage 3?
Every baby develops differently, but most babies are ready for Stage 3 finger foods by around 10 months. The most important cue is not a specific age but rather an interest in self-feeding, experimentation and independence—along with key developmental capabilities like grasping and mushing. For more tips, check out our guide on transitioning to finger foods.
As you enter and move through Stage 2, the best baby food combinations will add a whole new world of excitement to your baby’s high chair tray. By layering new ingredients slowly, you can help your little one learn to love various flavors and textures while getting important nutrients for growth.
If you have any questions about how to support your baby’s eating journey through Stage 2 and Stage 3 baby foods, don’t hesitate to contact Nurture Life’s child nutrition experts at firstname.lastname@example.org!