THE SAME OLD STUFF…
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)