09 February 2010
The final quarter of a baby's first year is a time of rapid change as babies will progress from sitting to crawling and maybe even walking. This is a time of growing independence and your baby will be delighted by this new freedom. During this stage, many babies refuse to be spoon-fed and only want to feed themselves. As your child's hand to eye co-ordination matures, he will find it much easier to feed himself and finger foods will become an increasingly important part of your baby's diet.
Encourage your baby to experiment with using a spoon as soon as he is able to hold one. It will be messy at first and he may well end up biting the wrong end but eventually the food will actually reach its intended destination. The more you allow your baby to experiment, the quicker he will learn to feed himself. It is very important to encourage messy play with food as this enables learning of self-feeding and quicker development as well.
Learning to chewBy this age, your baby should have gained some teeth and graduated to a high chair so now it is important to introduce coarser textures in order to encourage your baby to chew. Your baby will gradually be eating more solids so that eventually solid food becomes the main part of the meal. Variety is important so try introducing lots of different flavours and textures during this stage. Try to give some food mashed, some grated, some diced and some whole. It is surprising what a few teeth and strong gums can get through.