THE SAME OLD STUFF…

Your Baby & Toddler - - New­born -

Q:MY BABY IS A GOOD EATER, BUT I’M STUCK FOR IDEAS OF WHAT ELSE TO GIVE HER TO EAT. I AL­WAYS SEEM TO FALL BACK ON BUT­TER­NUT PURÉE, CHICKEN AND SOFT FRUITS. HOW CAN I MAKE THINGS MORE IN­TER­EST­ING? SHE IS NINE MONTHS OLD. WHAT ELSE CAN SHE EAT NOW?

A: By 9 months of age your baby needs to be ex­posed to a wide va­ri­ety of foods and tex­tures to help en­cour­age ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. They will also be start­ing to want to try and feed them­selves any­time from 9 months. Start to of­fer dif­fer­ent tex­tures rang­ing from mashed foods to lumps and even whole soft fin­ger foods. De­pend­ing on your child you could pack away that blender and start to mash her food with a fork. Start off by mash­ing food well and later on leav­ing some big­ger lumps. Your goal is to aim to­wards sea­sonal whole foods. Of­fer whole, soft, steamed food off your plate or place a va­ri­ety of items on her plate to let her ex­per­i­ment. Just re­mem­ber some fin­ger feed­ing safety:

✓ Never leave your baby alone to eat

✓ Al­low baby to pick up the fin­ger foods her­self, don’t shove or force food into her mouth

✓ Fin­ger foods should be soft enough to squash be­tween your fin­gers

✓ En­sure your baby is sup­ported and sit­ting up­right

✓ It is im­por­tant to of­fer your baby new foods and ex­pose her to a wide range of flavours. At this age en­cour­age ad­ven­tur­ous eat­ing (don’t let your own likes and dis­likes in­flu­ence what you ex­pose your baby to). This is also the age of messy eat­ing – watch your baby en­joy the new tex­tures and the feel­ing of squish­ing food in her lit­tle hands and mouth.

Here are some foods you can start in­tro­duce your 9-month-old to:

✓ Slightly more sour fruits (e.g. tart plums or kiwi fruit). Th­ese make a change in taste to the sweeter fruits they are used to.

✓ A va­ri­ety of nu­tri­ent-packed sea­sonal veg­eta­bles with an added flavour punch (e.g. adding turmeric, cin­na­mon, or cumin). Veg­eta­bles such as sweet pota­toes are a go-to for most moms, but branch out and ex­per­i­ment with other veg­eta­bles such as cau­li­flower, broc­coli, and Brus­sels sprouts.

✓ Fatty fish (if baby is not show­ing any signs of al­lergy) is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and can be in­cluded reg­u­larly. Great fish to in­clude are: sal­mon, pilchards, sar­dines, and mack­erel. This can be in­cor­po­rated into fish balls as a great fin­ger food.

✓ Whole grains help ex­pose your lit­tle one to a va­ri­ety of tex­tures which is also great for oral de­vel­op­ment. You can in­clude whole grains such as quinoa, mil­let, bar­ley and bul­gur wheat.

✓ Ex­pose them to nut but­ters – so add some sug­arand salt-free peanut but­ter to mashed fruit and plain, preser­va­tive free yo­ghurt.

Some meal ideas:

✓ Omelette or veg­etable frit­tatas make great fin­ger foods

✓ Jazzed up por­ridge (made by you by milling brown rice, bar­ley or oats) with berry and beet­root purée or grated ap­ple and baby mar­row

✓ Fish and sweet potato mash

✓ Stews – this is a step up from purées and your lit­tle ones will love the flavour

✓ Softly steamed veg­gie sticks (baby mar­row, car­rots, broc­coli, cau­li­flower, and fresh avo slices)

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