Your baby is established on purees and mashed foods. You can now move on to adding soft lumps to mashed foods, and begin offering soft finger foods. Just cook and prepare baby foods as if you are making pureed foods, but instead of blending the foods down until it is very smooth, leave a few small soft lumps. Your baby at this stage will be learning how to move lumps around in the mouth, chew the lumps, self-feed the soft finger foods and may also be ready to start learning how to sip from a cup.
Here are examples of some mashed and soft finger food options you can offer your little one:
- Fruits & Vegetables: Almost all ripened, soft fruit and most cooked vegetables (that have been cooked down till soft) can be mashed down to the texture appropriate for your baby or given as soft finger foods. Avoid skins and pips/seeds.
- Meat & Pulses: Try offering a few overcooked black, garbanzo or kidney beans, small pieces of a cooked fish finger, tofu, thin slices of cheese like cheddar or Edam cheese, or small pieces of mashed fish cooked in a sauce.
- Cereals: Cook down barley on the stove until soft, try lumpy oatmeal or rice porridge, or give baby rice or baby oatmeal cereal with a thicker consistency and with added minced/mashed pieces of soft ripened fruits.
- Soft Finger Foods: There are lots and lots of options! Examples are small pieces of overcooked noodles/pasta or soft toast with spread (can be dipped into expressed breast milk, formula , cow’s milk or cow’s milk alternative to soften it more if needed), soft fruit broken into small pieces/diced up (e.g., bananas, ripe pears, peaches, strawberries, blueberries), thin small pieces of cheese.
Once baby has been introduced and used to a range of different foods you can try different creative combos. For example, mash a vegetable or two into pureed meat, try mashed cooked fruit and vegetables mixed together, or you could even mix fruit and meat together! Some combinations would be mashed ripened pear with cooked fish, or a mashed scrambled egg with applesauce. At this time, you can also begin offering small amounts (1/2 – 1 ounce at a time) of water, expressed breast milk or formula from a free-flow lidded cup with meals to encourage baby to learn how to drink from it. Once baby is established on this, encourage baby to move on to taking small sips from an open cup with meals.