Your baby is getting a lot better at this whole eating thing - so now it's time to add a bit of texture to the mix!
If your baby is getting the hang of smooth, mild tastes and accepting them quite easily, now’s the perfect time to move on to the next stage of weaning!
As well as adding more adventurous flavours, this next stage is also about gradually introducing a thicker, more mashed consistency to help your little one learn to chew. (Despite how easy we adults find it, chewing is a learned skill – and it's important for lots of other things as well, like strengthening the muscles your baby will need in order to learn to talk!)
Don't be afraid to offer a wide variety of foods from now on – this is the perfect time to introduce heaps of vibrant, healthy flavours, because your little one is much more likely to love new foods at this age.
Why? Between 6-12 months, babies are developmentally primed to try lots of different tastes and textures – something that's definitely not true later on during the “picky” toddler years! The types of food babies try during weaning affects what they will eat later in childhood, so introducing them to a broad range of flavours and textures now can literally help give them healthy eating habits for life.
As your little one becomes more active, you’ll probably notice he or she is getting hungrier, too! A simple rule of thumb is to let your baby’s appetite be your guide as you gradually increase the amount of solid food you offer.
Great foods to offer now
Foods containing iron
Iron is essential to our health, and at this age your baby needs more of it than milk alone can offer. You can make sure your baby gets enough by offering a wide variety of foods, including these top-rated iron-boosters:
- Red meat
- Pulses and beans
- Green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and watercress
- Fortified breakfast cereals (choose gluten-free varieties before 6 months)
We know just how important iron is for babies, so lots of the recipes in the HiPP Organic baby food range contain these ingredients.
Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron better, so it's a good idea to give your baby some fruit juice or other food that's high in vitamin C at the same time as an iron-rich meal. If you are at all concerned about whether your baby is getting enough iron, ask your doctor or health visitor.
Omega 3 foods
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, and our bodies need it for good health, especially when it comes to brain and nerve function and healthy skin. Oily fish, rapeseed oil, walnut oil and linseed oil are all good sources of omega 3 fats.
We want to make sure all HiPP Organic recipes are as nutritious as possible, so we use rapeseed oil, a vegetarian source of omega 3, in our stage 1, 2 & 3 savoury jars*. Each of these jars contains at least 25% of your baby's recommended daily intake of alpha-linolenic acid, which the body converts to omega 3 (RDA = 0.39g per day for 4-12 month olds).
*except Tender carrots & potatoes and Pasta in a ham & tomato sauce
Other tastes to try now:
- Foods that contain gluten - why not try our creamy porridge?
- Slightly bitter-tasting veg such as broccoli or cauliflower – these are some of the healthiest veggies out there, so it's well worth getting your baby used to them now. Our carrots, cauliflower & peas savoury pouch is a great way to start.
A note on texture
At the beginning of weaning, the key was smooth puree – the smoother and runnier, the better. But now that your baby's a puree expert, it's time to move on to something a bit more challenging. Our foods for babies 6 months and older are the perfect choice – just textured enough to help your baby begin to get the knack of moving food around and swallowing it.
Don’t worry if your baby doesn't have any teeth yet – babies are clever little mites and will use their gums to chew on more textured foods.
Essential weaning info at your fingertips
For ideas on quantities and other foods to try at this stage, why not download our handy weaning chart?
Or tack our weaning simplified leaflet on the fridge – it's a quick way to remember what your baby can and can't try at each stage.
Your own routine
By now, you and your little one are probably starting to develop your own mealtime pattern. Remember, babies, parents and ways of life are all different, so weaning charts are only an approximate guide to help you figure out what and when to feed your baby.
For example, you might like to give your baby breakfast early, together with a milk feed, or you might find it's easier to give the milk feed by itself and then offer breakfast (with no milk feed) an hour or so later. You’ll soon figure out what works best for you both.