Moving on to lumps and thicker textures is an important transition once a baby has become accustomed to eating and swallowing well pureed, smooth and soft foods. Although they may not have many or even any teeth, babies can still chew with their gums. Your baby’s nutritional needs should be met with a daily combination of around four bottle feeds, or more milk feeds if they are breastfed, plus some solid foods.
It’s great to offer little ones lots of new tastes without overwhelming them. Most babies take a few days to get used to something new so don’t worry if they grimace and spit it back out the first time. It’s worthwhile trying new foods a few times, before you decide this one is really not for them. The earlier they get used to the idea of lots of different tastes, the less likely they are to become a fussy eater.
Ideal foods for the next stage of weaning:
- Small pasta, rice, porridge and couscous
- Grated cheddar cheese, cottage or cream cheese and cheese sauces
- Minced red meat, white meat and boneless fish
- A wide variety of cooked, diced, minced or mashed vegetables
- Ripe or lightly cooked fruits such as ripe banana, avocado or lightly grated apple
- Eggs are a rich source of iron and can be added to milky desserts or grated into other foods.
Daily Feeding Routine
Baby’s first breast or formula feed of the day can be any time between 5am and 7am. If you have an early waker you may find baby settles back to sleep after the feed – and it will keep them going until around 7am when you can offer breakfast.
For late wakers, it’s fine to give breakfast straight after a breast or formula feed. Some babies won’t be interested in breakfast after a full liquid feed – as they may simply not be hungry just yet.
By around 8 months of age you can offer lunch and dinner separate from their breast milk or formula feed.
Weaning foods to avoid:
- Honey until after the age of 1 year
- Whole nuts and other hard foods which can be a choking risk
- Juices and sugar sweetened drinks. Limit intake of all foods with added sugars
- Do not add salt to foods for infants. This is an important safety issue as infant kidneys are immature and unable to excrete excess salt.
Weaning tips to remember:
- It’s not unusual for a baby to gag a little when they’re becoming accustomed to lumpy foods. So try not to give too much on the spoon until your baby is used to the different consistencies
- Let your baby “explore” the food with their mouth and fingers. They may want to hold their own spoon and experiment with feeding themselves
- Watch your own reactions and stay calm if your baby starts to throw or play with their food. Babies may learn this is a way of getting lots of lovely attention and repeat the performance if they think it is going to work in their favour!
- A pelican-style bib can be ideal for this age and minimises the clean up after meal times
- You may find baby wants to share food from your plate even if they’ve already eaten. Mealtimes are not just about nutrition but an important way for babies to learn about communication
- Mashed foods are fine as long as they are moist and not likely to get stuck on the way down. Mixing solid foods with a little breast milk or formula is ideal
- Throw away any food which has been warmed but not eaten. Food-borne illnesses are common, so preparation, storage and disposal of food needs to be attended to carefully to minimise risk
- You may find it useful to offer your baby extra drinks of cooled, boiled water. Encourage use of a sippy cup or one with a spout is good practice for when they get older. Avoid offering juice, tea, cordial or other fluids.
For further information on Introducing Solids watch our animation.
In this animation we look at when to start introducing solids and the best kinds of foods and textures to start with.