Your baby has now tried a variety of foods. Although you are still introducing new foods and textures, your baby is ready to start being more involved in the feeding process. This section answers questions parents have about when and how to offer new foods — moving from puree to soft finger foods and helping your baby develop a healthy relationship with food.
Babies need pureed food for a short time only. Most babies will progress to mashed food by 7 months and from there on to foods with lumps and then 'finger foods'.
· Introducing solids late or not offering different textures of food as your baby gets older, can cause the baby to have trouble chewing and accepting new foods later on
· It is important to offer different textures of food as your baby moves through developmental stages, not necessarily by age:
o For example, by 8 months babies are generally showing an interest in feeding themselves, sipping from a cup (with help) and may be crawling or starting to crawl. If so, they are ready for minced, grated, diced and lumpy textures
o You do not have to follow "stages" or "steps" as outlined on baby food jars
· By about 12 months, your baby should be eating 'table food'; food that is prepared for the rest of the family. The texture of the food will be a bit different (e.g., you should serve vegetables and meats cooked to soft). Your baby should be able to enjoy most of what the family is eating, they don't need to have a separate meal made for them
Choosing the Right Texture of Food for Your Baby
To ask a Registered Dietitian questions about feeding your baby, call EatRight Ontario at 1-877-510-5102
Expect a Mess!
Babies use all 5 senses when eating. This is how they discover colours, flavours, textures, sounds and have fun — especially when foods fall on the floor! Let your baby begin to experiment with self-feeding.
· Let your baby try eating with an infant spoon or a round-edge toddler fork. Ones with small, thick handles are easy for your baby to hold. They may not get much food into their mouth, but they will have fun trying! Use 2 spoons at each meal, one for you and one for your baby
· Let your baby play with a sippy cup filled with water — eventually, they will figure out how it works!
· Don't expect your baby to get a lot of food or drink into their mouth at first. Until your baby gets more skilled at feeding, you can help out by offering food from a spoon
Be a Good Role Model
Babies learn quickly and copy what they see. Mealtime is an important place for learning about more than just food.
· Babies in high chairs can be part of family mealtimes. This is an excellent chance for you to role model healthy eating habits and to connect with your baby
· Let your baby see you are eating healthy foods and that you serve vegetables and fruits at all or most meals
· Put the salt shaker away. Babies do not need added salt or sugar to their food. If they see you adding it to your food, they will want it too
· Get your baby used to the family meal as a time to share conversation and food