Babies love to explore their food, and when you are weaning your little one, you will no doubt want to give them as many different textures and flavours as you can. Whether you are using purees and smooth textures to introduce your child to solid foods or you are trying baby-led weaning, there are lots of ways you can introduce your baby to their first foods.
Here are some tried and tested foods to try with your baby, just remember, even if they hate a particular food now, their sense of taste and appreciation of texture is developing so quickly that in a few days, weeks or months that food they took great delight in spitting out could well be their new favourite. So if at first you don?t succeed, try again.
From 6 Months
? Chopped Fruit – try cut up chunks of fruit. Choose fruits that can be easily broken up to reduce the risk of choking. Bananas are a firm favourite with many weaning babies, but you may be surprised at the fruits your baby enjoys; try mango, pineapple, melon, pear or peach.
? Vegetables ? cooked and cooled vegetables can introduce your little one to this important food group. Try to give your baby a range of colours and flavours; see what they think of broccoli and cauliflower, potatoes and sweet potatoes or carrot and parsnip?
? Baby rice and baby cereals can be made up with your baby?s usual milk; you can express breastmilk or make up formula to add to mashed potato or mashed vegetables to allow your baby to try different textures.
? Meat ? soft pieces of cooked chicken or fish will give your baby their first taste of meat; just take care to remove any bones.
? Pasta makes a great first food as babies are often intrigued by the different shapes and love to play with the pieces, which inevitably leads to them tasting them. Rice and lentils can also be fun for baby as well as filling.
? Eggs ? hard boiled eggs (no runny yokes) can be sliced or mashed.
? Toast ? toast is always popular with weaning babies; it is an idea finger food and stimulates their sense of smell (who can resist the smell of toast?!)
? Dairy ? yoghurt and fromage frais are great for weaning babies as they are both smooth and tasty and can be made fun with fruit. Try to avoid sugary yoghurts. Custard is another popular first food.
When your baby is around 9 months old, they will likely be able to manage a wide range of different foods with different flavours and textures. Try to be led by your baby as to what they can handle; if you are concerned about the risk of choking then cut or mash foods until you are more confident your baby can handle the more textured version. Always, always, supervise your baby when they are eating. Do not leave them unsupervised with anything they can put in their mouth even if you are confident they can handle it. This is the best way to avoid the risk of choking. Let your baby explore their food with their hands and encourage them to smell, taste and look at their food. This all helps with introducing them to a wide range of tastes and making mealtimes fun and interesting, helping your baby to a healthy relationship with food.
The HSE has some further information about weaning on their site