Healthy Eating as Your Baby Grows

As your baby progresses from assisted sitting to sitting without support, her feeding abilities will progress as well. It’s time to thicken your baby’s food, and add new tastes and textures to the menu.

Advances in Feeding Skills

As your growing baby starts to really catch on to the feeding process, she will start to show more signs of readiness to move on to thicker baby foods. You will notice that baby is opening her mouth readily for food, and will close her mouth around the spoon to get all of the food off. She is less likely to spit food out now – at least, not accidentally! Although still not quite ready to try finger foods, you may notice more attempts to use her hands to bring food towards her.

Your baby is still not really ready to chew, but it’s time to start learning about thicker foods to begin that process. Thicker purees that are not quite as smooth will provide a bridge into truly chunky foods.

Adding to the Menu

Around this time, you can start adding more fruits and vegetables to your baby’s menu, and also start combining them for different tastes. Although it’s ok to start meat as one of baby’s early foods, most parents don’t add it until baby is a little more advanced. Meats are best served mixed with a fruit or vegetable that your baby is familiar with in order to add flavor. It’s not unusual for babies to refuse meats at first. Even pureed, meat has a very different texture from fruits, vegetables and cereal. Combine foods in whatever mixes you like, but make sure to continue the rule of adding only one new food at a time to watch for allergies.

If you are buying your baby’s food in jars, it’s time to make the switch to stage 2 foods. These will be thicker and have more interesting combinations of flavors. If you are making your baby’s food, don’t add as much water to your purees, and leave them just a little lumpy rather than entirely smooth. You can even try serving peas that are not strained to see what your baby makes of the shells.

Eating More Often

At this point, your baby might be ready to have more than one solid feeding in a day. His main source of nutrition, however, remains breast milk or formula. As he grows and his appetite develops, he should be able to have two feeding of solids a day without impacting his intake of breast milk or formula. Feed baby solids a little while after nursing or having a bottle, and let him eat until he refuses more food. Babies are far more in tune with their hunger cues than we are as adults, and they won’t overeat, so it’s ok to let him have all he wants as long as he has already met his nutritional needs through the breast or bottle.

In the coming months a whole new world of foods will open up for your baby, and as teeth begin to appear it will become easier for him to chew new foods and move into thicker, chunkier and more complex foods. Keep introducing new foods, and don’t give up on ones baby has refused before. His tastes are developing and changing; you might find he suddenly won’t eat a favorite food, or develops a new appreciation for one he wouldn’t eat before.

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