Feeding skills develop as part of a baby’s overall development and each baby develops at their own pace with some babies needing more practice that others before mastering new feeding skills. Your baby may well have already started eating thicker textures and lumps and feeding themselves with soft ‘finger foods’ such as fingers of soft cooked vegetables, cauliflower or broccoli florets, pieces of ripe fruits, or soft crusts of bread and are ready to move on to a wider range of firmer finger foods. But don’t worry if you baby is still working on perfecting these skills, just keep offering these lumpier and soft finger foods and they will learn how best to handle them very soon.
From 9 months onwards, if your baby is getting on well with lumps and the softer finger foods, the time is probably right to start offering larger soft lumps, minced or even chopped meals and a much wider range of finger foods with a slightly firmer texture. At around 9-10 months, babies develop the ‘pincer grasp’, with the thumb and finger giving them more control over holding these foods. I suggest parents try offering some of the following at this stage if your baby seems ready:
• Fruits with the pips or stones removed e.g. halved cherries, halved grapes, and segments of citrus fruits such as clementines
• Raw vegetables: sticks of cucumber, peppers, courgette
• Strips of pitta bread with hummus or smooth nut butter • Sandwiches with soft fillings e.g. cream cheese, nut butter
• Fingers of toast, rice cakes, oatcakes • Pieces of hard-boiled egg or omelette
• Grated or small pieces of hard cheese
• Soft cooked pieces of chicken, fish or falafel