Your 8-month-old is a master of the puree, and now she’s ready to expand her palette. At this stage, she has the eating experience to try new tastes and textures. While she’s not yet ready to sit down with a steak dinner, mashed, shredded and generally lumpy versions of your foods are definitely on the menu.
Purees as Options
Just because your baby is ready to move on when it comes to what he eats doesn’t mean that he can’t stick with some of what he already knows and likes. Stage 2 baby foods are thick purees with some added texture. Staying at only smooth purees doesn't provide the new sensations your baby needs to work his way up to table foods. However, adding applesauce or creamed carrots to his meal is still acceptable with an 8-month-old.
As your baby grows accustomed to more tastes, make sure she has a well-rounded diet. By 8 months, your baby’s daily meal plan should include meats, cereal, fruits, vegetables and either breast milk or formula, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren.org website. Stage 3 baby foods include mixes of different ingredients with even more texture than stage 2. You can buy ready-made stage 2 and 3 food or you can make your own. For example, lumpy, mashed yams, squished avocados and finely shredded chicken in gravy are all options you can cook at home.
Your baby should have three full meals a day, along with two snacks and a bedtime feeding of breast milk or formula, notes the AAP. This should include 1/4- to 1/2-cup portions of foods such as rice cereal, mashed scrambled eggs, cooked vegetables, yogurt and thinly diced or shredded meats. Over the course of the day, your baby still needs between 22 and 32 ounces of breast milk or formula.
Starting Finger Foods
By the end of your baby’s eight month, he's likely ready for finger foods, according to the website KidsHealth. Not all babies are ready for finger foods at the same time. When your baby has the dexterity and eye-hand coordination pick up small pieces of food and get them into his mouth, he’s ready to give these solids a try. He also must be able to chew, and not just swallow, foods. Most babies can do this somewhere between 8 and 9 months, using their tough gums to help mash the already soft food. Pieces of scrambled eggs, cut up well-cooked carrots, diced fruit and chicken shreds should be easy for your baby to eat.
Making the Transition
The transition from soupy purees to texture-packed foods doesn't happen overnight. Your baby has never experienced the feel of lumpy and bumpy foods. He may resist or not know what to do with the sensation. Start by adding one new food at a time. As he gets more used to the texture, give him more variety. If you’re introducing completely new foods, wait four to five days to see how he does with it before introducing another new food. This helps you pinpoint the culprit if he has an allergic reaction, such as tummy troubles or a skin rash, notes the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital. Let your baby explore each new food, feeding himself with his hands. His curiosity may help speed the process and make him more interested in what he’s eating.