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Feeding Skills

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Quick Overview

It can be difficult to know when your baby is ready for new food experiences. It is important to keep offering your baby different food textures during the second half of their first year, so that they continue to develop their feeding skills.

Feeding Skills

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Guidance & Tips for Parents

All babies develop at their own pace, it is important to keep offering your baby more and more complex food textures during the second half of their first year, so that they continue to develop their feeding skills. They should be able to join in family meals eating minced and chopped family foods and self-feeding firmer finger foods by 12 months of age.

Some babies are more sensitive to textures and need more practice to accept them. Babies who spit out lumps can continue to be offered lumpy food and soft finger foods so that they learn to manage lumps in their mouth rather than reverting back to only smooth foods. It is important to continue to promote sucking and chewing of non-foods (such as toys, whether soft or hard). This will help to desensitise them to different textures and improve their eating skills.

 

Timing

Skills to learn

New food textures to introduce

First few weeks of complementary feeding

  • Taking food from a spoon
  • Moving food from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing
  • Managing thicker purées and mashed food
  • Smooth foods
  • Mashed foods
  • Soft finger foods for playing and sucking
 

Around 6 – 9 months

  • Moving lumps around the mouth
  • Chewing lumps
  • Self-feeding using hands (with palmar grasp)
  • Sipping from a cup
  • Mashed food with soft lumps
  • Soft finger foods
  • Liquids in a lidded beaker or cup

Around 9 – 12 months

  • Chewing minced and chopped food
  • Self-feeding using pincer grasp
  • Self-feeding attempts with a spoon
  •  Firmer finger foods
  • Minced and chopped family foods

 

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