By 8 months your little one is most likely to be happy eating mashed, soft lumpy solids from a spoon.
By 8 months your little one is most likely to be happy eating mashed, soft lumpy solids from a spoon. Once they are, you can expand their world a little further! Coarser mashed food, soft lumps and foods chopped or grated into small soft pieces are the next progression. When it comes to your baby's diet, it’s about helping them learn to accept new and different foods and also encouraging your little one to learn how to chew. This also encourages tongue flexibility and movement which will one day help them talk your ear off all day long!
'Soft lumps', not 'hard lumps'?
When you are pureeing your baby's food, whether it be pumpkin, sweet potato or carrot, try creating a thicker texture including a few soft lumps. Hard lumps will be too hard for them and could present a choking hazard so are best to be avoided at this age.
Lumpy foods to try
Babies can be born fussy eaters, but a great way to try and avoid this is by introducing new and interesting textures and flavours so that they are more accepting of foods further down the track.
Moving on to a textured diet opens up a fun and exciting new world of food for your little one to try, including:
- Soft fruit (peeled and without seeds or stones) e.g. nectarine, banana
- Small pieces of bread
- Heinz Stage 8 month+ baby foods with the green label.
Another new world of food for your little one at this age is finger foods. Finger foods can benefit everyone in the family – your little one is entertained for hours as they gnaw on a seemingly endless rusk, whilst you get a taste of freedom by not having to spoon feed them every mouthful!
Finger foods give your baby a sense of independence at mealtimes which is really important as they develop into their own little person. Finger foods also help them develop all important hand-eye coordination skills. Just make sure you cut up finger foods in to a manageable size so that your baby can hold it ok and again, ensure that it is a soft texture that they can cope with, to minimise any risk of choking.
Some ideas for finger licking finger food include:
- Sliced cooked egg – just make sure the white and yolk are firm and well cooked
- Soft cooked pieces of vegies such as sweet potato, carrot, cauliflower or broccoli
- Thin slices of soft fruit such as nectarine, banana or mango (without skins or seeds)
- Small, well-cooked pieces of meat such as a slither from your family roast
- Cooked pasta and noodles
- Small slices of cheese
- Soft Toast or bread fingers in thin slices or ‘soldiers’
Some finger foods are easier for little ones to choke on and should not be given to children before 3 years of age, including:
- Hard raw pieces of fruit and vegetables
- Whole cherry tomatoes or grapes – cut into halves or quarters
- Whole Nuts
- Rounds of cooked meat such as sausages – cut lengthwise
- Lollies (hard or soft – including marshmallows)
- Other foods which your baby can’t easily chew or swallow. Cutting food into strips the size of your little finger helps minimize the chance of choking, just make sure you don’t give them big chunks.
Most of all, never leave your baby alone while they are eating – always stay close by and keep an eye on them.