stage 3 & 4 – 10+ months upwards
So you and your baby have made it through the gooey stage, you’ve mastered the mush and the lumps, and you’re now adept at removing stains from bibs and clothes. Congratulations! But what happens when your baby decides to take the spoon into her own hands? Well, things get a whole lot messier, that’s for sure!
The final stages of weaning are all about your baby’s growing independence, developing her biting, chewing and self-feeding skills, and having fun with finger foods! This can happen anytime between about eight months to a year, depending on your child, but when you see her start wanting to take charge of the whole mealtime thing, you know you’re heading for the days of pasta sauce in the hair and pumpkin on the walls. (You can also pat yourself on the back: this also means you have a baby who is curious about food, and that can only be a good thing.)
With all these new skills to practice, your baby might well start to get impatient when you try to feed her (and no wonder – she wants to have the fun herself!) One easy way to strike a balance is to give your baby a spoon and let her get on with it – but keep one on hand for yourself, so you can sneak in the odd mouthful on the side while she’s busy throwing broccoli to the dog.
did you know?
Babies don’t need teeth to chew: at this age, any teeth that haven’t erupted yet are just underneath their gums, making them very hard and good for chewing and even biting. (If you don’t believe us, stick a clean finger in there and have a feel – though you may find out the truth the hard way!) Chewing is really important to babies this age: it helps them develop the tiny muscles in their lips, jaws and tongue which are important for turning those baby babbles into real words.
Around ten months is a good time to start introducing your baby to even thicker purees and mashed or grated food. Try combining a favourite soft food like sweet potato with some fish or pulses, and fork-mashing them together into a thick paste. If your baby is teething, he will naturally want to bite and chew more right now, so make the most of it by giving him slices or sticks of apple, pear or cucumber to gnaw on.
variety is key
The Holy Grail – the real point of this whole crazy weaning journey – is to introduce your baby to an exciting variety of flavours and ultimately encourage a love of healthy food. If you haven’t already, you can start adjusting baby’s mealtimes to fit in with the rest of the family, so you can all enjoy the social side of eating together. Combining foods from the different food groups in each meal (like rice or quinoa, vegetables, and some fish, meat, dairy or pulses) will help make sure your baby’s getting everything she needs to grow.
If she’s eating well and enjoying her food, you’ll probably notice she’s not drinking as much milk as she used to; this is perfectly normal. Babies generally decrease their milk intake on their own as their food intake increases, though some milk lovers do need to be encouraged to move along to solids. Talk to your health visitor if you have any concerns about how much food or milk your baby is taking in.
Plum’s top tips – nutritional superstars
Looking for more weaning advice?
Comments are closed.