Babies’ food preferences and feeding skills go through stages, just like other developmental skills, and other areas of development influence how babies attack their food. First came the introducing solids stage where parents’ main goal is to get baby through the transition from liquids to solids and from sucking to mouthing and chewing. In this stage, baby gets used to mouthing and swallowing different tastes and textures. Most beginning eaters only dabble in solid foods, taking only a couple spoonfuls of a few, select solids. An important principle of feeding is both the food and the method of feeding should match. From seven to nine months, babies develop several developmental skills that make mealtimes more interesting:
They begin to pick up objects with the thumb and forefinger.
They develop a fascination with tiny objects, such as morsels of food.
They want to “do it myself.”
You can capitalize on a baby’s developing fine motor abilities and growing curiosity by adding new tastes and textures to baby’s diet that give him an outlet for these skills. By nine months, it’s time for finger foods.
- cooked carrots
- rice cakes
- O-shaped cereals
- pasta/spaghetti pieces
- mashed potatoes
- teething biscuits
- peas and beans
- egg yolk
- more cereals: rice, barley, wheat, oatmeal
- cubes of cheese, 1/2-inch
- cubes of cooked fruit (fruit cocktail size)
A baby’s growing ability to put things in her mouth also means parents need to be more cautious. The ability to pick up and mouth tiny objects means that parents need to be more vigilant about foods that can cause choking. As a precaution, emphasize melt-in-the-mouth finger foods, such as rice cakes, pasta, bagels, and cooked carrots. Stay away from crunchy, raw fruits and vegetables. Raw carrots, nuts, and seeds can wait until your child is at least three-years- old.