How Do I Know When My Baby is Ready for Chunkier Textures?

 

So this is a question about feeding techniques. 

When you’re considering feeding techniques, I always recommend that you think about;

  1. Making sure you’re providing foods that meet your baby’s nutritional requirements, and 
  2. Helping your baby to develop a positive relationship with nutritious whole foods. 

When it comes to introducing chunkier textures,  every baby is different and will develop at different stages. Most babies are able to eat chunkier textures and finger foods from 6 months.

I recommend offering purees or mashes to begin the meal (like a first course), then offering them  appropriate finger food to chew on or play with afterwards. 

This might look like pureed or mashed sweet potato with beef mince, followed by a piece of steamed broccoli afterwards. This provides them with the nutrition they need at each meal, while still allowing them to explore different tastes and textures and learn what the whole food looks,  feels and tastes like. 

It’s important that your baby learns to chew foods with a chunkier texture and finger foods by the time they are around 12 months of age, so they are able to eat a wide variety of nutritious, family meals.

This question really sits in a broader conversation about the different feeding techniques - spoon feeding with purees, baby-led weaning and the mixed method. 

For reasons that I explain in more detail in my "Get It Right" Program, I recommend the “Mixed Method” of introducing solids which involves spoon feeding purees with the introduction of well cooked or soft finger foods right from the beginning - so around 6 months - avoiding hard foods that a baby can choke on i.e. whole grapes, nuts and raw carrots.  

Benefits of the mixed approach  are;

  • It can be easier to give your baby iron and zinc -rich foods which are vital for growth and development from 6 months 
  • Purees teach your baby to swallow
  • Your baby can discover new tastes and textures by playing with finger food while you’re spoon feeding, ensuring their nutritional needs are being met
  • It encourages your baby to use a spoon to self-feed, developing onto cutlery use later on
  • And, as finger foods are more effective than purees to encourage chewing and development of muscles in the mouth, this method helps to develop the use of the tongue, jaw and lips, which are all needed for speech development. 

The mixed method approach allows you to introduce solids in a way that works for both you and your baby. 

It offers flexibility that I believe is far more important than sticking to a rigid way of doing things,  particularly if it’s not working for you or for them. 

This feeding technique helps you to ensure you are meeting your baby’s nutritional requirements and reduces fussy eating later on by introducing a wide range of tastes and textures early. 

This method also helps your baby to develop a positive relationship with nutritious whole foods by making introducing solids a fun and bonding experience for both you and your baby. 

If you want to learn more about this, then I go into more detail on this topic and much more in my "Get it Right From Their First Bite" Program system for introducing solids… so scroll down below and click on the link to find out more.  

Click on the button below to learn more about the "Get it Right From Their First Bite" Program.        

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