Note: The information featured on this page is currently under review, and will be updated in due course. Please ensure that you speak with your health care professional about any queries you may have about the issues covered here.
After the first few weeks, introduce a wider range of foods and begin to allow some soft lumps. Carry on encouraging your baby to finger feed. It is useful to give some different flavoured foods separately, so that babies can find out about different types of food and their distinct flavours.
Once your baby is taking vegetables, you can add a very small amount of butter, polyunsaturated margarine or vegetable oil, for example olive oil. Do not use low-fat spreads as they are low in energy.
A little grated hard cheese or cream cheese can be added to puréed vegetables. Natural yoghurt, fromage frais or greek yoghurt can be added to vegetable or fruit purées. Remember to choose the full fat varieties.
Once your baby has been having three meals a day for a week or so, you can start to offer a savoury course followed by a pudding. Try stewed fruit mixed with fromage frais, custard or baby rice. Use your baby’s usual milk to mix with the rice first.
You can start offering lumps from around one to two months after starting weaning. All babies should be offered lumps at the very latest by around nine months.
The best way to introduce lumps is to give finger foods. Introducing lumps by spoon can sometimes be a big step for your baby. Don’t put it off, as the longer you leave it, the more difficult it may become.
Start offering lumpier food when your baby is close to sitting up without a lot of support, playing with food and putting it in his or her mouth. Introduce soft but small lumps, for example ripe mashed banana or avocado, or fork-mashed or partly liquidised soft home foods. You can also try very well cooked split peas or lentils mixed with your baby’s savoury food. Try to make lumps the same size and softness.
Your baby may cough, gag or heave a little if they try to swallow a lump whole, as a way of bringing it back to spit out or chew up properly. This is normal for many babies starting to eat lumps – calmly encourage your baby and assure them that it is okay.
When your baby shows an interest in touching their food, it is important to allow this, as it helps them to learn about how different foods feel and how to eat them. Be prepared for some mess. If a baby can play with a new lumpy food with their fingers, they may be more willing to put it in their mouth and later, take it from a spoon. If your baby is finding it very hard to manage lumps, discuss this with your health visitor.
When first introducing lumps, it may be very helpful to avoid:
- Foods that have small hard lumps within a purée or liquid, as some babies may not be able to control the lumps and runny food in their mouths at the same time. Examples are cereals with milk and some ‘stage two’ baby foods.
- Potatoes with lumps in them could cause problems, so make sure that these are runny enough.
Remember: this advice is for the first few weeks after introducing foods with lumps. You can move on to the foods mentioned above as your baby progresses.