Making baby food at this stage is a lot of fun. Your amazing baby has developed some wonderful new skills and you feel more confident in choosing the right foods for him.
After months of pureeing, mashing and carefully introducing new foods, making baby food now become a little easier. Your baby is probably enjoying more textured foods and has sampled a wide variety of flavours.
You are now in a better position to cater to your baby’s tastes, because you have been able to identify just what he likes … and what he doesn’t!
Remember, though, that your baby’s tastebuds are developing all the time. So don’t give up on a particular type of food … just try it again from time to time. You may be surprised by his reaction!
At this stage, your baby needs to be obtaining calories from a range of healthy sources. He also needs about twice as much calcium as he did at birth (see Calcium Requirements of Infants, Children, and Adolescents for more information). Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth – it helps the teeth resist decay and maintains healthy gums.
Iron is another essential part of his diet, supporting both growth and development. It plays a major role in forming haemoglobin, the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body’s tissues. Iron is particularly crucial in brain development.
This baby nutrition table lists the key components of a healthy, balanced diet for your baby and shows you the foods to include on baby’s menu.
A baby at this stage may sometimes seem to be eating less food than he was before.
DON’T PANIC – this could be due to any one of the following reasons –
IMPORTANT: If you are at all concerned about your baby’s appetite or development then, of course, discuss your worries with your doctor.
You can give your baby a spoon at any time, but he probably won’t be able to actually start feeding himself until at least 10 months of age … and sometimes much later. Visit the Making Mealtimes Fun section for some great advice on encouraging your baby to feed himself, along with some tips on creating a happy atmosphere at the family dinner table.
You might also like to read our tips for coping with the mess!
Many babies prefer pureed food to more textured foods – our fourth child, up to the age of 2, would have been delighted if we’d pureed everything!
But learning to chew is important to your baby’s development. So, although it’s tempting to “give in” and remove those lumpy bits when making baby food, try matching your baby’s stubbornness with your own … and resist!
Serve foods that contain lumps within a sauce – chopped pasta with a creamy sauce is a good example. Offer your baby plenty of finger foods, which encourage biting and chewing. And be patient – your baby will eventually get the hang of it!
By the end of this stage, your baby may well be enjoying three meals a day, with nutritious snacks in between. His milk intake will have reduced as he has come to rely mainly on solid foods for his nutritional needs. Milk is still important, though, so continue to offer it as a healthy alternative to sweet drinks.
Making baby food for your little one, and equipping him with the skills to feed himself, are tremendously rewarding. Congratulate yourself on what you and your baby have accomplished … and take the time to enjoy this wonderful stage of babyhood.
Would you love to know what your baby is thinking and enable him to communicate his needs to you? See how baby sign language can make it happen!