Helping Your Baby Progress Through The Textures
Written by Vanessa McNamara, The Travelling Dietitian.
Research tells us that delaying the introduction of textured foods, such as lumps, to babies beyond 9 months of age, may impact their food choices and eating skills for many years. This particular study, following almost 8000 children, determined that those introduced to texture after 9 months ate less variety and had more feeding problems compared to those who were introduced to lumpy foods between 6-9 months.
If your baby enjoys purees, it can be tempting to continue with these for as long as they will eat them. It is important, however, to move through the stages of texture to arm your baby with all the skills and practice they need to help them manage and enjoy a variety of foods.
Puree – Start with thin, smooth purees. Gradually thicken these as your baby gets used to them. Soft foods such as cooked sweet potato, pumpkin, apple and pear puree well.
Taleii’s Top Tip: You may want to thin out Taleii’s pouches with baby’s milk of choice to begin with.
Lumpy/mashed – Rather than blending purees until smooth, stop while it’s still lumpy or merely mash instead of blend. Oatmeal, mashed banana or avocado are good examples of lumpy foods.
Taleii’s Top Tip: Add mashed banana, avocado or baby oats to Taleii’s pouches to add a little texture.
Soft finger food – This can include soft fingers of fruit, steamed vegetables, well-cooked pasta, fingers of toast, grated cheese etc.
Taleii’s Top Tip: Serve finger food alongside Taleii’s pouches. Your baby can dip the finger food into their familiar puree to help to soften it for an easier transition.
Mixed textures – This is often the most difficult texture for babies to master. Mixed textures can include yoghurt with pieces of fruit, pasta with a sauce, crumbed fish, minced meat with sauce.
Taleii’s Top Tip: Use Taleii’s pouches as a sauce to serve with pasta, minced meat or cooked lentils.
Good infant feeding practices to keep in mind:
- It often takes babies at least 10-15 exposures to a new food or texture before they will be willing to try it. Don’t give up, keep offering it alongside foods that you know your baby will eat, without adding any pressure to eat it.
- Let them get messy and explore the food as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if they don’t want to eat it. They learn just as much about the food by smearing it over their tray and squishing it between their hands so don’t be tempted to clean them until the meal is over.
- Wherever possible, try to eat with your baby to show them how you eat and manage different textures. Show positive reactions to food and demonstrate how much you enjoy eating it too.
- By one year of age, babies should be eating mostly family food. This is something to work towards as you are progressing through the textures.