Introducing your baby onto lumpier foods
Weaning advice generally recommends that babies should be introduced to lumpier foods between 6-9 months of age. However, research studies have shown that a significant number of babies (13-18%) are not introduced to lumps in this period, and babies not given lumps until after 9 months of age are more likely to be difficult, picky eaters. These problems are still evident at 15 months and even at 7 years of age. It appears that there is a critical period in the second half of infancy during which babies more readily accept new tastes and textures and consequently it is important that babies are encouraged to eat more challenging textures during this period.
Learning to chew is also important in the correct muscle development and use of the tongue needed for speech. Some babies find the move from smooth weaning foods with no lumps to the lumpier foods quite difficult, but it is worth persevering.
If you're preparing your own baby foods then you should adjust the consistency according to what your baby can cope with, aiming for more and more lumps and a coarser texture as you go. Start by introducing soft lumps at first by mashing soft fruits, cooked vegetables or cooked pasta, perhaps with some mashed fish or pureed meat. If on the other hand you are using commercial baby foods like HiPP Organic, switch from Stage 1 to Stage 2 foods that are specially designed for this next stage of feeding. Don’t be surprised if your baby spits out lumps to begin with, or if lumps get coughed back for more chewing – this is normal.
If your baby is finding the change from smooth baby foods to lumpier Stage 2 baby foods difficult, why not try mixing smooth Stage 1 baby food with some lumpier Stage 2 food in the same bowl (choosing similar or complementary flavours), gradually increasing the amount of the lumpier food as baby gets used to chewing. Alternatively, you may want to try mashing the Stage 2 food with a fork slightly before you feed it to your baby, and then gradually mash it less and less.
Until next time.....