Posted on 19. December 2017 by
This week, blogger Sarah from This Mama Life, gives us her advice on Introducing Textures to little ones during their weaning journey. Read her tips below for how you can incorporate different foods in to you baby’s meals.
Introducing textures has to be one of my favourite stages of weaning. It opens up the door to so many more meal and snack opportunities for your little one, and it is so much fun to watch their reactions to different foods. What’s great, at this stage and age, is that your baby will usually be very open to trying lots of new tastes and textures - no fussy toddler behaviours to contend with yet! It is such a great opportunity to expose your baby to lots of different, healthy and fun foods.
I’ve had huge success with this stage with both my babies. My daughter, who is now three, has never been a fussy eater and loved moving onto trying to feed herself. She was often too keen though and couldn’t get the food in her mouth quick enough so still enjoyed us feeding her as well.
Both my children have gotten teeth quite early (my youngest had eleven before he turned one!), so they were more than ready to move onto different textures, after a few weeks of first tastes. We started with slightly thicker purees, mashed up fruit and veg and finger foods.
Some common signs that your baby is ready to move onto the next stage of weaning are:
· They can tolerate thick smooth purees with no problems.
· They move food around their mouth with their tongue.
· They start to do chewing movements.
Here is how I started to introduce more textures into my babies’ meals and snacks.
1. Fork mashing – instead of blending the fruit/vegetables/meals for your baby, mash them with a fork instead. It’s as simple as that! This will give you a thicker and coarser texture for them to try
2. Thicker purees – there are lots of thicker purees, aimed at slightly older babies, on the market and I liked having a few of these in for going out and about or for quick meals
3. Finger foods – start off with dissolvable or very soft finger foods – e.g. very well cooked vegetables, dissolvable cereal puffs etc. You can either bring the food to their mouth or let them try to pick it up and get it to their mouth on their own. After a while, you can move onto giving them bigger pieces of finger foods and types of foods they can bite into – e.g. bananas, sliced egg, broccoli, carrot sticks, soft toast soldiers, rice cakes, pieces of cheese etc.
And I made sure I was offering as wide a variety of food as possible and letting them try it numerous times, even if they turned their noses up at it! It can often take a baby quite a few goes of a certain taste to get used to it and start enjoying it. I was also conscious of making sure both of mine still drank enough milk at this stage as well – my daughter was on bottles and my son was breastfed, so I had experience of both types of feeding in conjunction with weaning.
I’ve always found doing a mix of spoon fed feeding, with different textures, and finger foods has worked well with my two and I like knowing that I’m offering them a variety a choices when it comes to not only what they’re eating, but how they eat as well. Letting them feed themselves finger food really helped with hand eye co-ordination and I noticed that they adopted the same sort of skills needed to pick up their snacks into playing with their toys, soon after we started this stage.
The biggest tip, or thing I’d like to pass on, about introducing textures to your baby is to enjoy it! It is so much fun, and so special, to see your little one mastering new skills and enjoying new tastes. And making it fun really does help to set them up for having great attitudes around food and eating in the future.