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Introducing lumps to your baby's diet

Posted on 16 March 2015 by Helen

 

Hi

During my monthly Facebook feeding clinics, parents often ask when’s the right time to introduce lumps to their baby’s diet, and ask for advice on what to do if baby won’t take them or appears to gag or choke on lumpier foods.   Some babies seem to find the move from pureed foods to foods with different textures relatively easy, whereas others can find this quite challenging and take a little longer mastering the new skill of controlling their mouth muscles and tongue in order to successfully chew foods. 

The important thing is to persevere with this stage of weaning as trying a whole range of tastes and textures during the second 6 months of life is necessary if we want children to eat a range of different foods as toddlers.  There appears to be a critical period in the second half of infancy, usually around 7-9 months, during which babies more readily accept new tastes and textures and babies not given lumps until after 9 months of age are more likely to be difficult, picky eaters later on.

To get babies moving onto different textured foods, you should start to mash rather than puree their foods from about 7 months.  Foods should contain some small soft lumps; 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 bought baby foods, there are foods specifically designed for this stage of feeding and plenty of choice to choose from.  And don’t worry if your baby hasn’t got any teeth yet - they can still manage lumps using their hard gums!

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.  Babies are born with a ‘gag’ reflex, which prevents bits of food from being swallowed whole, and this reflex brings the food back up into baby’s mouth for more chewing.  Stay calm and be full of praise and encouragement as your baby learns their new skill.   To minimise the risk of choking, always supervise your baby when they’re around any food and make sure they’re sitting upright and able to support themselves whilst they’re eating.   Just in case, also have a look at the following link so you know what to do if your baby may actually be choking,

 http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2300.aspx?categoryid=72

If you are worried about introducing your baby to lumpy foods, have a chat with your health visitor, or feel free to contact us as we are happy to help whenever we can.

All the best.

Helen

 

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Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Weaning

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