Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Share this Article
X

Biting and chewing: my baby is discovering a whole new universe of taste!

(0 reviews)

Since birth, my baby has fed on nothing but milk. By introducing them to solids, I am helping them discover not only new flavours, but completely different textures of food. It's a real revolution for them!

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

All forms of progress are linked in a baby's development! After a few months, their little mouth is capable of managing food other than milk. Now, they are finally ready to discover not only new textures but also amazing new flavours. This is an overwhelming experience, to say the least, which will revolutionise their life!

Chewing: an essential stage in your baby's development

Whereas sucking is a reflex, chewing is the result of a learning process that begins around the age of four months old and continues up until the age of around one year. This is why it is impossible for a newborn baby to swallow anything other than milk during the first three months of their life. Their little tongue will instinctively push out any solid food. At 6 months, a whole new world opens up to your child and each stage in the process leads on to the next. Around two months later, their psychomotor development and the appearance of their incisors enable them to chew. Thanks to this new skill, the muscles in their cheeks, lips and pharynx get stronger. They make the surprising discovery that they can break down food in their mouth.

The emergence of their personal tastes marks the beginning of the construction of their sense of self.

Soon they will be able to eat their food in small pieces. While your baby perfects their chewing technique, their jaws stretch and form. If solid foods are introduced gradually, they will suffer less from ear infections and, later, will have to endure less frequent visits to the orthodontist. Furthermore, during this period of learning how to chew, your little angel will also eventually manage to hold their own spoon and bottle. It is your job to guide them through these first stages in feeding independence.

How to help my baby between 6 and 12 months old: introducing without forcing

It's time: your baby is finally ready to explore new taste horizons. Torn between curiosity and a fear of the unknown, your baby will doubtless be a little bit timid at first. Your job is to respect each stage in their maturity process and never force them.

  • At 6 months: offer them well-puréed, smooth textures, not so radically different from that of milk, so as to begin the transition as gently as possible.
  • Around 7-8 months: replace "smooth" with mashed, leaving more texture in fruit and vegetable purées.
  • From 9 months onwards: move on to small, soft pieces of food such as "alphabet" pasta, small cubes of well-cooked potato, soft rice, well-cooked fruit and vegetables, etc. Continue to purée meat and fish as their texture is more stringy and harder to chew.
  • From 12 months onwards: go for it! Your baby's meal can include small pieces of food of varying thickness and crunchiness. Mash the food with a fork, try them with slices of cooked carrot, cubes of beetroot, little pieces of tomato with the skin removed, etc. Remember, however, that your "big boy or girl" still can't eat like an adult. Don't force them with regard to protein, i.e. meat and fish (3 to 8 teaspoons per day) and prioritise milk, dairy products and cereals.

Does my baby get a say in all this?

Even if you follow textbook procedure, your baby will also want to have their say. Here a few pieces of advice:

  • In order to help your future foodie differentiate between different textures:
  • Offer them part of the meal puréed and the other part mashed or in small pieces, depending on their age.
  • Occasionally let your child touch their food with their hands so that they develop all their senses.
  • If you baby doesn't like a particular texture: wait a few days then try the same texture again with a different food.
  • If your baby refuses to taste a new food: don't force them to eat it. If weaning turns out to be rather a laborious process, don't rush it. Don't turn mealtimes into an emotional tug of war (avoid "eat it for mummy") or a battle of wills. Your baby may just need some time to adjust to all these new things!

Important:

Don't wait too long before moving on to mashed food. By puréeing everything for too long, your child will have great difficulty in subsequently accepting "rougher" textures.

When you move on to small pieces of food, make sure they are not too hard or large. Things can very easily go down the "wrong way"!

Opinion

Sara , mother of Mehwish, 8 months old

"I was afraid my baby would choke on her first few lumps. In fact, she turned the food round five times in her mouth with a surprised look on her face and finally swallowed it, rather satisfied with herself! I was most relieved!"

Read more

Join My First 1000 Days Club

Parenting peace of mind, just a click away. Get your personal weekly advice and solutions via email.

  • Learn about nutrition at your pace
  • Try out tailored practical tools
Related Content
Article Reviews

0 reviews

Search

Still haven't found
what you are looking for?

Try our new smart question engine. We'll always have something for you.