Is your baby aged approximately seven to nine months? Welcome to the world of chewing.
It’s not just a case of moving their gummy jaws up & down. It’s about understanding how to move the food around their mouth, avoiding their throat before it’s ready & understanding when it’s been chewed enough to swallow.
Stage 2 moves your baby from purées & some mashed foods (see Weaning Roundup: Stage 1 for more details) to mashed food with soft lumps & bumps, minced foods & ‘bits’. As well as finger foods.
First, prepare yourself. Read up on what to do if your baby chokes. Babycentre.co.uk has a great 1 minute video clearly talking you through it. Baby Girl choked on a breadstick half way through Stage 2. Never have I been so happy – or relieved – I did my reading.
We found that introducing Baby Girl’s favourites in a new form was the most successful way of getting her used to the newer textures. Start small & work your way up.
We still used the Baby Bullet until about eight months old for certain things. We just whizzed things a bit less & a bit less. But by the end of stage 2, we whizzed nothing & mashed some but mostly just gave Baby Girl food as it usually appears. Just as baby-bite-sized-bits.
In stage 2, Baby Girl suddenly found her appetite. At about 7.5 months, over night, she went from five teaspoons per meal to a baby bowlful.
She also started reducing her mid-morning and mid-afternoon bottles from 7oz to 4oz of her own accord in favour of a rice cracker or two and some apple slices. This goes against the advice on the tin (three 7oz bottles per day until 12m) but I’ve learned to trust Baby Girl. She knows what she needs. I don’t know if this is a common baby trait, or if I’m lucky, but if Baby Girl is hungry, she eats (& man, does she eat!) & if she’s not, she doesn’t.
Slurp to Chew (all a big hit with Baby Girl):
- Mashed bananas to slightly less mashed or bananas fingers
- strawberry purée to strawberries cut into chunks
- salmon & sweet potato mash to fried salmon & sweet potato cakes (huge hit!)
- apple & pear purée to apple & pear slices
Baby Girl’s new favourites:
- slow cooked beef stew*
- mango chicken curry*
- coconut lentil dhal
- coconut chicken curry*
- chicken casserole*
- strawberries cut into chunks
- grapes cut in half
- tomato tuna spaghetti**
- rice crackers
- Organix carrot puff stick thingies (look like Cheese Puffs. Packet assures me they’re not…)
*to begin with, the meat was shredded with a fork but now it’s in mini tender chunks.
**you need to limit your baby’s intake of certain fish, such as tuna, due to the possibility of mercury, like when you were pregnant (read more about tuna, mercury & pregnancy here)
- stewed apples & cranberries
- mac ‘n’ cheese (made with Lactose Free ingredients)
- Mexican bean mash
- eggy bread
- baby cereal (e.g., Organix Multigrain Mini Cereal Puffs)
Point blank refused:
- porridge (still)
- blueberries (both mash or whole)
- baby guacamole
- hummus (both homemade & store bought)
Baby Girl also tried a prawn cracker thanks to her Odd Father. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such sheer joy on her tiny face. Too bad she won’t get to try another one for some time.
We’re quite strict with Baby Girl’s salt intake. There’s still no salt whatsoever added to her food. It’s dehydrating, which just seems counter productive when you’re battling to get her to drink water, & all this flavour is new to her anyway, so she hardly needs salt to enhance it!
Baby Girl has tried some sugar in stage 2; biscuits, maple syrup within things (a vain attempt to get her to like porridge!), baby gingerbread men over Christmas & she tried (& loved) some panettone on Boxing Day too. But we’re keeping this to a minimum as well. We figure she has her whole life to put whatever she likes into her body. We might as well try to start her off on the right path. I was brought up with the phrase ‘all things in moderation,’ which I feel gave me relatively good eating habits so I’m hoping I can do the same for Baby Girl.
Be warned: stage 2 also coincides with The Wonder Weeks’ Leap 6, when Baby Girl discovered mood swings, which resulted in even bananas being thrown on the floor at one point (you know it’s bad when a baby won’t even eat bananas…); & Leap 7, when Baby Girl “unconsciously plays with emotions, such as naughty or nice, to get your attention”… take a deep breath, because life with bambino is about to get testing.