By eight months your baby is likely to be happy taking solids from a spoon. If you haven’t started already, now’s a good time for introducing soft lumps and more interesting textures to their food. This will help to encourage jaw development and help them learn to accept new things.
As they become more familiar with soft lumps and they’re keen to start feeding themselves you can also introduce finger foods.
The low down on soft lumps:
- Soft lumps – try for small and soft lumps in a thick puree. Harder lumps, like whole peas in a sauce will be too much for them, they’ll struggle to separate them while eating and they’ll risk choking.
- Mash it – try fork mashing a banana into small pieces – that’s about the texture you should be aiming for
- Jaw development - these soft lumps and mashes are important as they learn to chew, it encourages tongue flexibility and movement.
- Gumming it - most babies are more than able to chew soft lumps with just their gums. Don’t worry if their teeth haven’t come in yet.
- Getting to know food - experience with new textures now might make them less likely to reject lumpy food later on.
Lumpy options: a few fun foods to try
Moving on to a more textured diet means a whole new world has opened up. Here are some foods that your baby might be enjoying already and hopefully some more ideas to try:
- Mashed banana
- Mashed ripe avocado
- Rice pudding
- Lentil dhal or lentil casserole, but make sure there are no hard solid lumps like whole peas in there
- Finely flaked fish in sauce - be careful you’ve removed any bones
- Cooked minced chicken or beef mixed with mashed veges
- Small pasta pieces in cheese sauce
- Cooked mashed egg
- Cottage cheese
- Wattie’s Stage 3 baby foods with the green label.
Finger foods: pick up a few of these
Eating finger foods can give your baby more independence at meal times. It’ll also help them to develop hand eye coordination skills. Cut the pieces of food into finger sizes to make it easier for your baby to pick up and hold. It also reduces the risk of choking.
- Sliced cooked egg – the white and yolk should both be firm and well cooked
- Soft cooked pieces of veges. Try kumara, green beans, cauliflower or broccoli
- Slices of soft, ripe fruit like banana, mango or nectarine (without skin or seeds)
- Small, well cooked pieces of meat – you can cut slices off the family roast
- Cooked pasta and noodles
- Small slices of cheese
- Crackers, rusks or plain biscuits
- Toast or bread fingers in thin slices or ‘soldiers’