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Baby

       

      Weaning at around 7+ months: New foods, textures and flavours

      Do not leave your little one unattended when eating and drinking

      Chew, Chew!

      Once your baby can manage smooth purées, the next step is learning how to chew. At this stage it’s about introducing foods with a little more texture, like foods that have been mashed. It’s important to continue exciting their curious taste buds to help them learn to love even more foods. That’s because by the time they’re two, your baby’s tastes can become relatively fixed until they’re around eight years old1.

      While eating a variety of foods and working towards a healthy, balanced diet is becoming more important, there’s still no need to worry about how much your baby eats – their usual milk still fulfils most of their nutritional needs for the time being.

      Do not leave your little one unattended when eating and drinking

      Introducing new food textures

      Breakfast cereals and meals with lumps are a great way to encourage your baby to get used to a proper chewing movement, rather than just squishing their food around their mouth. Giving them finger foods like fresh fruit pieces, strips of vegetables or cubes of cheese will also help them continue to develop their hand and eye coordination.

      New flavour combos

      It’s time to get creative in the kitchen! Try introducing baby-friendly versions of some of your family favourites, or perhaps try something new altogether. Don’t worry if you’re not a confident cook – healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember not to add salt because it may strain their little kidneys, which are still developing.

      Now’s a good time to remind yourself of all the foods to avoid and include during weaning, as well as how to safely introduce foods that are more likely to trigger allergic reactions.

      Purées

      Cod and peas, carrot and lamb hotpot, cauliflower cheese… your little one can now start to enjoy baby-friendly versions of these classics. Be inspired by our simple but scrummy weaning recipes for babies aged around 7+ months.

      Soft finger foods

      Whether or not you’ve taken a baby-led weaning approach, all babies will benefit from being offered finger foods at this stage. Try soft-cooked veggie sticks dipped in hummus, soft pieces of cooked chicken, wedges of omelette, or toast soldiers.

      Babies need a different kind of diet

      As your baby moves a few steps closer to enjoying family meals, it’s important to bear in mind that your baby’s needs are very different to an adult’s.

      Unlike our diets, which ideally should be low in fat and high in fibre, your baby needs a diet relatively high in fat and low in fibre.

      Although fibre is a good thing, it's very filling. Too much of it may leave your baby too full to eat other foods that will give them the energy and nutrients they need at this stage.

      The right balance

      No single food can give your baby all of the nutrients they need so variety is the name of the game to make sure they get a good balance of vitamins and minerals, as well as the energy they need for all that growing and exploring. Offer a wide variety of foods, for example:

      • Cereal and dairy, such as your baby’s usual milk, at breakfast
      • Plenty of protein and vegetables for their main meal
      • Fruit and dairy, such as an unsweetened yoghurt, for dessert

      This will help provide a good balance of the vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats they need to grow big and strong.

      It’s especially important to make sure their food and usual milk contains a healthy amount of iron, as the natural stores they were born with begin to run low after about 6 months. Green leafy veg, red meat and beans are all great sources of iron to support normal cognitive development2.

      Different food groups and their benefits

      Starchy foods

      Breads, cereals (including oats and rice), pasta and potatoes.

      These foods provide your baby with the energy they need to grow and develop. Offer your baby a portion with each meal and at some snack times.

      Fruit and vegetables

      Fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit and veg.

      Fruit and vegetables contain a whole range of vitamins and minerals which are important for your baby’s development. Ideally you should offer some at each meal and for snacks, with a variety of different colours.

      Milk, cheese and yogurt

      These foods are rich in protein, calcium and some vitamins and minerals. 

      Pasteurised full-fat dairy products are a good source of these key nutrients. Just remember to choose an unsweetened option.

      Meat, fish and alternatives

      Meat, fish, eggs, nuts (either crushed, ground or served as nut butters) and pulses such as lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas and dhal.

      These are valuable sources of protein, iron and omega 3 fats, while oily fish like mackerel and salmon provide vitamin D, as do liver and eggs. Offer these foods once or twice a day to meat-eaters.

      Vegetarians and vegans should aim to have two to three portions of nuts (crushed, ground or nut butters) and pulses a day. Learn more about helping your baby get the right balance of nutrients if they’re vegan or vegetarian.

      Foods high in fat and sugar

      Oils, butter, cakes and biscuits.

      Your baby doesn’t need sugary treats. By avoiding them, you can help prevent tooth decay.

      Vitamin D

      There’s one very important vitamin that you may find difficult to get enough of from food alone, and that’s vitamin D. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, your little one’s body produces it when they’re out in the summer sun.

      Unfortunately, the UK weather makes it hard for them to make enough to support their normal bone development. And as only a few foods like liver, oily fish and eggs contain it, many children aren’t getting enough.  

      That’s why The Department of Health recommends that all babies who are exclusively breastfed are given a daily supplement of vitamin D (8.5 to 10mcg) from birth. If your baby’s having more than 500ml (about a pint) of formula a day, they don’t need a vitamin D supplement because formula is already fortified with vitamin D3.

      How much food should I offer? And how often?

      As you begin to introduce a wider range of yummy foods, you should always let your little one’s appetite lead the way. Your baby's tummy is around ten times smaller than an adult's, and they’ll be sure to let you know when they’ve had enough! Tightly closing their mouth or turning their head away are sure signs that they are full. Never force them to finish their food.

      Because your baby may still only eat a small amount, it's important that every mouthful is packed with nutrients and goodness. Aim to offer new tastes at least twice a day, working towards offering three meals a day, and alternate between new flavours and old favourites.

      How much milk should my baby have at around 7+ months?

      Breast or formula milk is still an important part of your baby’s diet to ensure they’re getting the vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins that they need, so stick to your usual routine when it comes to milk feeds4. Read more about how much milk your baby should have during the different stages of weaning.

      Do not leave your little one unattended when eating and drinking

      Time for brekkie?

      As your little one starts to get the hang of eating, it's a good time to move towards eating regular meals. Breakfast is a great time to try new things, because your little one is raring to go in the morning. Remember not to offer anything with added salt or sugar – this rules out many family cereals!

      Purées

      Creamy baby porridge with small, soft lumps makes a good first breakfast. You can add different fruits or a touch of cinnamon (but avoid sugar and honey!) for a yummy twist. Take a peek at our delicious range of breakfast recipes.

      Soft finger foods

      Chopped-up crumpets, soft toast fingers with mashed banana or pieces of omelette are tasty and nutritious. Or why not try our banana porridge fingers recipe?

      Cracking news!

      The Food Standards Agency acknowledges that raw or lightly cooked hen’s eggs can now be eaten safely by young children, provided they are produced under the British Lion code of practice (marked with a little red lion stamp). Eggs without the Lion mark, non-hen eggs (e.g. duck or quail) and imported eggs should always be cooked thoroughly until your little one is over 12 months old.

      1. Harris G, Coulthard H. Early Eating Behaviours and Food Acceptance Revisited: Breastfeeding and Introduction of Complementary Foods as Predictive of Food Acceptance. [Online]. 2016. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4796330/
      2. Lozoff B, Georgieff M. Iron Deficiency and Brain Development. [Online] 2006. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1071909106001033
      3. NHS Start for Life – Baby vitamins. [Online]. Available at:   https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/baby-vitamins/ [Accessed October 2019]
      4. NHS Start for Life – What to feed your baby – around 6 months. [Online]. Available at:  https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/weaning/what-to-feed-your-baby/around-6-months/ [Accessed October 2019]

      Baby weaning recipes: Around 7+ months

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      Any more questions?

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