Stage 3 Baby Food-Everything You Need To Know

Stage 3 Baby Food

What is stage 3 baby food? What is the stage 3 baby food age? And how do you know when your baby is ready for finger foods?

This article is about stage 3 baby food. It’s short and straightforward but talks about texture, age, finger foods, sample foods, how you know they’re ready, and how much formula they should still consume.

What is stage 3 baby food?

What Is Stage 3 Baby Food

Stage 3 baby foods are blended foods with chewable chunks or easy to chew finger foods.

Stage 3 is still very soft and consists of small cut-up chunks moving closer to table foods—the start of finger foods and self-feeding.

If your baby is ready for stage 3, it’s time to start allowing them to hold and use the utensils themselves. Utensils help them learn their fine motor skills.

Stage 3 Baby Food Age

Baby’s typically begin stage 3 around nine months of age and will continue stage 3 till around 12 months. Stage 3 is starting to move your baby closer to table foods. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to prepare separate meals for your baby anymore. As long as you cut up whatever you are eating in small chunks.

Every baby is different; your baby might not be ready for stage 3 right at nine months. Babies go at their own pace; some are ready faster than others. But this article will go over the consequences of waiting too long to start stage 3 solids.

Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Stage 3

Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Stage 3

  • Eating stage 2 baby foods with no difficulty.
  • They are able to pick up small, soft pieces of finger foods and bring them to their mouth.
  • Can chew and swollow food with no major complications.
  • They start wanting to handle the spoon and start trying to pick things up with their fingers.

Stage 3 Baby Food

Can Your Baby Move To Stage 3 Teethless?

If your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, they can still have stage 3 baby foods. Most babies get their first tooth around four months. However, It can range anywhere from 4-15 months. So yes, your baby might not have their first tooth till 15 months—just another example of how all babies are different. Although, most babies will have at least four teeth by the time their 11 months old.

If your baby does not have any teeth, they can still use their gums to break it down. There are a ton of different finger foods you can give a baby with little to no teeth. For example, if you want to provide them with elbow macaroni, slightly overcook the noodles to make them a bit softer. They can even still consume meat, just as long as it’s gentle enough for them to gum around still.

My daughter started teething at three months; she would have drool dripping off her mouth consistently. Then, at four months, she had her bottom back teeth on one side poke up first. But her two front teeth didn’t come in till around seven months.

With that said, it does not lead me to the topic of swallowing.

Stage 3 Baby Food Age
My daughter is at 11 months. I tried to feed her mashed potatoes, and she vomited on her easter dress.

Sensitive Gag Reflex

When moving on to stage 3 baby foods, you want to make sure your baby uses their jaw muscles and gumming food around and swallowing with no complications.

My daughter had a sensitive gag reflex, which means when I would attempt to start chunkier solid foods with her, it became a scary situation for me. In other words, if the food were not smooth, she would often gag like she was choking or start to vomit. For this reason, it became too scary for me as a new mother to start her on thicker, chunky solids. Therefore, I didn’t begin stage 3 solids till she was about 11 months old.

Not starting her on stage 3 till she was 11 months was a mistake. I should have consulted her doctor before making my own decision. I personally just thought she wasn’t ready for stage 3 yet, and she would get there.

I didn’t know there were simple methods for her to overcome her sensitive gag reflex. What I should have done is the exact opposite of what I did.

Ways To Improve A Sensitive Gag Reflex

  • Add more texture to their food, but instead of it being just a surprise chunk of food, make the texture consistent and even. Therefore, helping make the gag reflex less sensitive and helping them tolerate food in their mouth that is not completely smooth. You want to make sure you start slow by taking a smooth dish they normally like, such as smooth yogurt, and adding just a little bit of graham cracker crumbs. Making it feel more grainy in texture with no lumpy surprises. When they get used to that, add more and more graham crackers till their gag reflex is not sensitive to it anymore.
  • Instead of using lumpy pureed foods, you can try solids that dissolve easily. For example, cookies or crackers, babies with a sensitive gag reflex do better with food that dissolves easily. I know this to be true because when my daughter was 11 months, I started to buy her Gerbers Lil’ crunchies and yogurt melts and she never once gagged eating those.
  • Using textued teething toys that have bumps and other diffrent kinds of raised textures.
  • Brushing their teeth can also help with the gang reflex even if they dont have teeth yet. Just let them play with the toothbrush in there mouth and chew on it with their gums.

There are consequences if you do not try to help your baby get past the sensitive gag reflex and wait too long to start solids. Trust me; I know all about this.


Because I did not know you could slowly fix a sensitive gag reflex. I waited till I thought my daughter was ready for me to try it again. Furthermore, I now have a difficult time getting my child to eat. My daughter is now three years old, and she will not try new things. So my advice to you, if you have this issue, is do not do what I did. Instead, follow the tips and tricks for solving the problems of a sensitive reflex.

If you are still having complications after the suggested tips, consult your doctor. I took advice from friends and family who told me she would grow out of it and not worry about it.

Consequences lead me to prevention in my next topic.

Introduce a wide variety of foods

Offer your baby a wide variety of different foods and textures is extremely important for several reasons. First, food diversity presents a significant role in proper nutritional development. In other words, offering your baby, a wide variety of food will give them the nutrients they need from the five different food groups.

More importantly, solids are offered before 12 months to develop the child’s oral motor skills. However, introducing solids too late can also increase the risk of them developing allergies.

Early eating difficulties cause picky eating, a late introduction to lumpy foods, and not having various foods from 6-12 months. It also makes it difficult for children to want to try new foods.

My daughter did well with the Gerber Snacks. Crunchies were her favorite; they dissolve easier than most snacks, so I could get her to eat these without gagging and vomiting. Down below there a link to easy dissolvable snacks.

Example Stage 3 Baby Food

Note that breastmilk/formula is still an essential part of your child’s diet. The volume may decrease, but you want to ensure they’re still getting at least 20 ounces daily.

You want to be trying to feed your baby 4-6 ounces of breastmilk/formula four times daily, and when they’re eating more table foods, they should be consuming three meals a day with snacks in-between.

Example Foods For Stage 3

  • Cut Up Bananas
  • Shredded Meat
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Cooked Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Mashed Meatballs
  • Soft Cheese
  • Soft Beans
  • Variety Of Fruits
  • Stage 3 Purees
  • Fish
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Whole Milk Yogurt
  • Crackers
  • Veggies (Peas)
  • Cooked Carrots

Make sure everything you feed your baby is soft and cut up into big enough pieces for them to grab and pick up. But small enough to not cause a choking hazard.

Foods To Avoid At Stage 3

  • Whole Grapes
  • Whole Peanuts
  • Raisins
  • Hot Dogs
  • Hard candy
  • Popcorn
  • Seeds
  • Honey
  • Fast Food
  • Artifical Sweetned
  • Heavily Salted
  • Cows Milk (Whole Milk)

They should avoid whole grapes, peanuts, raisins, and hot dogs because they are a choking hazard. Young children have a difficult time chewing them, and they can be inhaled and cause sudden death.

Honey can put your child at risk of infant botulism, a muscle weakness disease, and should be avoided till they are a year old.

Heavily salted foods can contribute to bad eating habits, put them at risk of harming their developing kidneys, and cause high blood pressure later in life.

Cows milk until 12 months of age because babies still need breastmilk/formula for iron; without it, they have a chance of developing anemia (low iron level).

Stage 3 Baby Food Age

Here is a fun chart I made that helps you see all of the stages and ages. In addition, it has examples of different foods, textures, and signs their ready for the next step. If you notice any mistakes with my chart, don’t hesitate to contact me at my email

If you are interested in learning about the Top-Rated Baby Food Brands, you can check out my page by clicking the link. I also have a page on the Top-Rated Infant Formula if you think about switching formulas or weaning off of breastfeeding.

Stage 3 Baby Food-Conclusion

In this article, I have gone over stage 3 baby food, what age babies typically start stage 3, signs your baby is ready for stage 3, examples of foods you can start feeding them, and more.

If you have any questions, you can leave a comment at the bottom of the page or email me at the address listed above and below.

Thank you so much for reading my article. I hope it was helpful. I have a sitemap of my other post listed below; please check out my different posts.

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