What’s happening this fortnight
At seven and a half months old, your baby is likely to be a pro at eating purees – but have you tackled lumps yet? Introducing lumps is an important step in the weaning process. Not only does it increase the range of new tastes that you can offer your baby, but it’s also essential for helping to develop the muscles your little one needs for speech. As you broaden your baby’s diet, she’ll naturally get to try a new range of textures, such as flaky fish, rubbery cheese and chewy meat, but you’ll also need to gradually start offering thicker foods rather than blending everything to a smooth puree.
While some babies take easily to more solid foods, others struggle and may completely refuse to eat lumpy food. Remember, this is a major new milestone for your baby, and one that can be hard to master. Getting the right texture is likely to be the key to success: if you try to leap straight from runny purees to chunky mashed meals, your little one may be thoroughly put off. In fact, some babies never take well to lumpier purees, and prefer to move on to chopped food or finger foods.
Try not to be disheartened if the introduction to lumps doesn’t go well. It’s normal for babies to gag at first, especially if they don’t yet have teeth, but research shows that by introducing chunkier textures early on in the weaning process, you’re likely to help avoid fussy eating later on. It can take up to 15 attempts before your baby will accept a new food, so if at first she refuses a lumpy puree, just tidy up and try again another day. If you can keep calm and keep smiling, you’re likely to make the transition from purees to lumps that bit easier for you and your baby.
Did you know…?
Your baby doesn’t need teeth to be able to eat lumpy foods. By ‘gumming’ foods, she can break them down into a smooth enough consistency for swallowing – although you may need to avoid very hard foods, such as raw apple or carrot, until she has her first gnashers.
What to watch out for
As you introduce a greater variety of foods to your baby, such as fish, eggs and cheese, the potential for allergies and intolerances increases. True food allergies are uncommon, but the usual culprits include foods such as cow’s milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts and seeds. When introducing a potential trigger food, it’s sensible to make it the only new food that you give to your baby that day, and wait a full 24 hours before trying anything else new. That way, if your little one has a reaction, you’ll be able to pinpoint what caused it.
If your baby develops severe symptoms in response to a new food, in particular breathing difficulties, phone 999 straight away. Milder reactions, such as skin rashes, diarrhoea or colicky tummy pain, should be reported to your GP, who can give you advice about how to handle the potential allergy or intolerance.