How can I introduce new foods to my baby?
It takes time to learn to eat, so be prepared to be patient as your baby gets used to the sensation of moving food around in their mouth and learning to chew.
Food preferences are being formed in their first year so variety is important, because from the age of two these preferences may become relatively fixed until they're around eight years old.
There are a few things you can do to help overcome any reluctance from your baby while they're trying new textures and tastes. The main thing is, not to worry - it can take up to 10 tastes before your baby may like a new food – so don't give up!
- Plan to introduce new foods when your baby is alert and happy - mid-morning is often a good time
- Introducing new foods when your baby is hungry for milk will probably just frustrate them
- Babies often reject what they don't know, so try giving them a feel for what's to come by putting a blob of the new food on the table or their high chair tray. Let them squish and look at it before you feed it to your baby on a spoon. Remember to keep your surfaces clean!
- If your baby rejects a new food, combine it with a food they know and enjoy – such as add peaches to a little bit of apple that you know they already like.
- Your baby might want to control the spoon. Be prepared for some mess - then let them grasp it, while you guide it firmly towards, and hopefully into, their mouth, or…
- Have two spoons - one so you can concentrate on getting the food into them and the other for them to experiment with (messy, but fun!).