Why won’t my baby eat lumpy foods?
Introducing lumps to your baby’s weaning diet can be tough, here’s some tips that may help
Stepping up from eating smooth food to food with lumps can be a big transition for some little ones and some may refuse to try lumps altogether. This is why it is now advised to start with blended mashed foods rather than smooth purees (although, if advised to wean earlier than 6 months, purees are recommended).
Why is it important for my baby to eat lumps during weaning?
The important thing is to persevere and not give up. Getting babies to progress from mashed foods and then getting used to lumps is important as it helps them accept lumps in everyday food and will help them get used to family meals in time.
It's also important to encourage them to eat the lumps in their food as the muscles used to chew their food are the same ones that they need to develop their speech.
What do I do if my baby won't eat lumps in their food?
Don't introduce lumps too quickly, once they've mastered mashed food, gradually introduce lumpier food at around 7 months.
Before introducing actual lumps, simply thicken the mashed foods they are having, then over time add fine textures in to their meal like well-cooked rice or a few tiny pasta shapes. You can also loosely mash some of their steamed vegetables or fruit with a fork and add to some that has been fully mashed up.
If you do this slowly, once they are used to it you can start to chop some of the veg finely and mix that in. You can also try well-cooked scrambled egg, liquidised meat and fish too.
It's common for babies to reject new textures on the first, second and even third attempt of you giving it to them, but keep trying. Do also bear in mind it may be the flavour they are not keen on not the lumps, so make sure you offer a variety of flavours to get to know what your baby ‘s tastes are.
How best can I encourage my baby to try lumps?
It can help to offer your baby some soft finger foods to encourage them to chew. Cooked vegetables, pieces of fruit, or fingers of toast are great for this. Quite often babies prefer this to being spoon fed.
To encourage lumpy foods, plain mini rice cakes are a good introduction. They dissolve in your baby's mouth, so although there's no need to chew them they can help them get used to biting their food.
Homemade food can help more with introducing lumps as it naturally varies in texture and flavour.
Persevere with lumpy food over several weeks. If your baby refuses a particular food, don't keep offering it every mealtime, wait a couple of weeks before trying the same food again. Patience is key as often babies continually refuse certain foods even as many as eight times before finally giving it a go.
Let your baby take their time to find their confidence with one texture before introducing new ones.
Variety is important, so where you can offer a variety of tastes. Just because they refuse one type of lumpy food, they may not refuse another.
Sometimes your baby may gag. It's normal so positively reassure and encourage your baby to help them tolerate lumpy food. Try putting a little less on their spoon and introduce lumpier foods slowly - persisting with the shift from mashed foods to mashed foods with small lumps and then on to larger lumps takes patience but is less likely to lead to food refusal in your baby's weaning journey process.