Guide to Infant Food Texture Stages

Not only is the introduction to solids an exciting milestone in your baby's overall development, but there are mini-milestones within the food introduction process which can be equally as exciting for a parent.

There is an exciting and abundant world of food that awaits your little one, so make sure you capitalise on their natural curiosity and heightened sense of taste by introducing them to as many different foods, tastes and textures that you can.

First foods (around six months, not before four months)

Given your baby has only had milk for around the first six months of their lives, their first foods will need to be smooth and pureed.  A good thing to start with is infant rice cereal as this is iron enriched. Cooked pureed meats, vegetables or fruit are also good first choices. Enjoy watching your baby as they learn to eat by moving food from side to side in their mouth before swallowing, some of the facial expressions can be very entertaining indeed!  And don't worry if your baby doesn't take much to begin with, it certainly is a big change from milk.

From six months onward

Once your baby is getting used to smooth and pureed foods, you can start to introduce mashed foods like banana, thicker purees and then progress to small soft lumps. . Most babies can learn to chew soft lumps even if their teeth have not come through yet.  Harder lumps such as whole peas in a sauce will be too much for them and they’ll run the risk of choking, so stick to soft, easily mash-able foods and you will be fine.

These mashes and soft lumps will help your baby learn to chew whilst also stimulating and strengthening all the jaw muscles needed to begin speaking. .  Older babies can react negatively to textures of foods so by introducing these earlier on, you have a better chance of them being less likely to reject lumpy food later and developing an adventurous eater.

From eight months onwards

This is the age to introduce your little one to lumpier, more textured foods – think minced meat, soft chopped up foods like steamed pumpkin or small pieces of cooked pasta.

Finger foods can also be offered at this age which are great for chewing practice and help with hand-eye co-ordination.  Some finger food ideas are cooked pasta, toast fingers, or a piece of soft steamed fruit or vegetables.