flavours & finger foods
Right now, your baby is learning things about food and eating that will stay with them forever; it is
through actual experiences with food—including watching the eating behaviours of their family and
people around them—that children learn about what they like and want, and how much they need to
We think that the people living in the Mediterranean basin have a good thing going. For them, food is
not just fuel. It’s about eating around the table, surrounded by the people they love and trying lots of
different fresh, seasonal produce. So think about weaning as more than just taste and texture—it’s about
the social aspects, too!
Once you’ve got your little one trying a variety of foods, the next stage can feel tricky because you now
need to come up with different ideas to keep them interested in the food you’re offering. Thinking about
what to feed your baby every day can be pretty exhausting, which is why we’ve put together a stockpile
of tried-and-tested recipes and videos for you.
It really is worth persisting when it comes to introducing new flavours and textures, even if they get
rejected over and over again. Research shows that there’s a direct link between the frequency with which
a child is offered a food and whether that child likes it or not. But it takes patience and persistence; it’s
easy to offer a food a couple of times before deciding the child doesn’t like it and deciding not to make
or offer it again.
However, repeated exposure in the first few years is important,
as it can take up to 12 times for a new food to be accepted.
It can be disheartening to cook something especially and have it rejected, but remember that it’s not a
rejection of affection or of your efforts. It may simply be that your baby is not hungry, or that there are
too many distractions for them to settle down to eating. That’s why there’s a strong argument for offering
baby a little of what you’re cooking for the whole family (so long as it’s suitable, of course), so that if
they’re not interested, the rest of you can enjoy it in any case—and if you eat together, baby can witness
you sharing and enjoying a meal. Eventually, they’ll want to join in!
Hiding veg is a classic trick for parents feeding toddlers and young children, but it can be controversial. Whatever your thoughts, these are some pretty yummy recipe ideas all the same:
tips for moving onto
mashed & finger food
mash instead of blending
Instead of puréeing food until smooth in a blender, simply mash it with a fork.
food to gum on while waiting
While you are mashing the food, why not give Sir or Madam a piece of cooked food to gum on while they wait? Giving them large chunks of soft cooked vegetables, fruit or soft meats is a great way for them to practice picking thing up, holding them and moving them to their mouths.
avoid surprise lumps
They can be very off-putting for babies. Try to stick to one overall mash texture, or keep lumps separate and give pasta pieces or chunks of cooked vegetable separately to the purée.
what about the mess?
This is an extremely messy stage, but bear with it! It is very important for your baby to learn how to eat
independently, because this will make feeding your child easier later down the road. If you’re stressed about
mealtime mess, get a shower curtain or piece of tarpaulin to cover the floor, or use the family dog as a hoover!
Just remember, this stage does not last forever, but can bring your baby such a lot of enjoyment and
satisfaction as they learn to (messily) feed themselves.