Sometime after six months, you’ll want your baby to get used to lumpy or chopped foods. Babies who go much beyond 6 months eating nothing but pureed things often have a hard time accepting lumpy textures. People have the idea that babies can’t handle lumps until they have teeth. This isn’t true. They can mush up lumps of cooked vegetables or fruit and pieces of whole wheat bread or toast with their gums and tongue.
There are two important points to remember when shifting to chopped foods. First, make the change a gradual one. When you first serve chopped vegetables, mash them up pretty fine with a fork. Only put a little in your baby’s mouth at a time. Gradually mash less and less, when you think your baby is ready. Second, allow your baby to take control a little. For example, you can let Pick up a cube of cooked carrot, for instance, in his fingers and put it in his mouth himself. Babies can’t stand to have a whole spoonful of lumps dumped into their mouths when they’re not used to it.
So start the change at about six months by offering finger foods. You can mash and chop the cooked vegetables and fresh and stewed fruits that you prepare for the rest of the family for the baby or you can buy the chopped (junior) foods in jars prepared for babies. You don’t have to make all the foods lumpy. But it’s good for your baby to get used to eating some lumps each day.
If you’re giving your baby meats, you should still serve them ground or minced fine. Most small children dislike chunks of meat that they can’t chew up easily. They often chew on such a piece for a long time without getting anywhere. They don’t dare try to swallow too big a piece, as adults do when they are desperate. This may lead to gagging. There are good reasons to avoid or delay the use of meats in any case.
Potatoes, pasta, and rice are popular with most children and can be introduced along with other table foods. Try to choose whole grain pasta and brown rice. These contain more fiber and vitamins than more refined products. Also, try other grains, like bulgur and quinoa, for variety.