What does a 7 month old eat?

By : | 0 Comments | On : February 3, 2017 | Category : Solids, Uncategorized

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{Starting Solids} What does a 7 month old eat?

If you follow One Handed Cooks on Instagram you would’ve noticed Louis has started his journey on solids. I’ve loved sharing some of the meals he has been enjoying over the past month. And many of you have been showing interest as your little bubbas are a similar age and wondering if your babies can eat a particular food or wanting advice about progressing with texture and finger foods.

Louis (a few days shy of 7 months) is my third little boy, so it’s my third time ‘starting solids‘, and each of them have taken to solids in their own way. It’s taught me a lot. So, with this first hand experience and my knowledge as an Accredited Practising Dietitian I’m now quite relaxed with the process of what to offer when etc.

While it’s hard not to compare what your own baby is eating to others of similar ages (I’m constantly comparing what Louis is eating to what his older brothers did), BUT, to make mealtimes as positive and stress free as possible for you and your baby tune into their eating style and individual food preferences. It might be that they don’t like the spoon and prefer finger foods OR they want to eat only smooth purees and gag at any hint of texture OR any type of puree or mash must contain avocado for it to be accepted. Catering to their preferences (even if they are different to your own) while sensitively expanding the variety and texture will make starting solids as smooth sailing as possible. 

(Note: the images below are from our Instagram page.)

VARIETY

From six months of age the guidelines now make it very easy for us to progress to introducing a wide variety of foods to our babies quite quickly. Other than introducing iron-rich foods first there are no ‘rules’ about which foods to offer first and we no longer need to wait 2-3 days before introducing a new food. Of course there are some foods babies need to avoid but at 7 months of age babies should be enjoying a variety of iron-rich foods, such as red meat, chicken, fish, legumes, green leafy vegetables, eggs, wholegrain as well as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and a small amount of dairy (on cereal and in cooking but not as your baby’s main drink). You can also begin to adapt family meals for your baby – a great way to bypass many fussy eating behaviours. Louis’s first food was fork mashed avocado and tonight he enjoyed homemade baked beans mixed with some pumpkin and zucchini puree, last night was chopped/mashed lasagne and tomorrow is chicken schnitzel fingers with finger food fruit and veg.

For more: One Handed Cooks cookbook, Baby Foodie ebook, Finger Foodie ebook, Starting Solids: Is Your Baby Ready?, Benefits of Homemade, Introducing 1 meal 3 ways.

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2-3 MEALS PER DAY

Depending on when you started solids, say at 4 1/2 months or closer to 6 months, by 7 months of age most babies will be enjoying 3 meals per day. With my Hamish (#2) and Louis (#3), we started solids at around 5.5 months and had progressed to 3 meals per day by 6 months. From memory, George (#1) was a slower progression to 3 meals. Appetites vary greatly between babies depending on their growth needs and you have probably noticed that your baby’s individual appetite varies day-to-day and even meal-to-meal. Many parents tell me there is a particular time of the day e.g. breakfast or lunch, when their baby eats ‘best’ (it can be helpful to choose this time to introduce new foods or offer more variety), compared with other meal times where they might choose to eat only a small amount. At 7 months you may be just getting to the point where you can predict how much food to offer to your baby (but they will forever keep you on your toes) but if not, your best bet is to tune in to your baby’s hunger and fullness cues and let them tell you when they’ve had enough to eat. Introducing a little sign to say ‘all done’ right from the start helps set up communication right from the start. It was the cutest when my boys could begin to tell me they were “all done”.

For more: One Handed Cooks cookbook, Baby Foodie ebook, Finger Foodie ebook, Starting Solids: Food Timing & Meal Timing How to Raise a Mindful Eater, How to Introduce New Foods to Kids, The Mealtime Ritual

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SPOON FED MEALS

Lots of babies love to be spoon fed, and until your baby reaches six months it’s the only way to go. But at 7 months of age you can choose (or they may choose for you) to ditch the spoon. For me, I found George (#1) and Louis (#3), with the big appetites they had, loved big bowls of spoon fed meals for a long time alongside the introduction of finger food, as it was difficult for them to satisfy their hunger with finger foods alone at this age. If spoon fed meals are your baby’s thing it is important to begin with progressing with texture if you haven’t already. Mashing meals instead of pureeing, using shredded/minced meat to add texture or stirring through legumes, small pasta, quinoa, rice etc will help develop their oral motor skills. Some babies enjoy the texture while others will happily continue on smooth purees until 9-10 months of age and gag at any hint of texture. If the latter is your baby it can be helpful to slowly challenge them with increasing texture so the lumps and bumps are better accepted – often an even distribution of lumps is better accepted by stirring through a teaspoon of quinoa rather than uneven mashes – begin slowly add in a teaspoon at first and then begin to increase the amount. Or sometimes babies prefer the addition of finger foods rather than more lumps and bumps. It’s also OK to vary the types of texture of meals and continue to offer smooth purees while you are experimenting with texture. I often find Louis will tend to prefer less texture the more tired he is. A bit of trial and error and a couple of options at each mealtime usually helps us.

For more: One Handed Cooks cookbook, Baby Foodie ebook, Finger Foodie ebook, INSPIRATION: 50+ baby purees, 10 First Food Baby Purees, FAQ: Spoon Refusal

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FINGER FOODS

Whether you are baby-led weaning or simply combining spoon fed meals with finger foods, the early introduction of finger foods, is really important for developing strong oral motor skills and learning how to eat. We need to learn how to bite, chew and swallow safely and efficiently to be able to eat and enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods. Lamb cutlets, meatballs, tender chicken strips, soft boiled pasta, hard boiled eggs, soft fruits, steamed and roasted vegetables, toast crust, crustless sandwiches, lasagne are all lovely early finger foods. My Hamish (#2), or Mr Independent, was quick to show his preference for self-feeding and showed a strong preference for finger foods and family meals. He didn’t seem to have the same appetite as brothers yet his growth was still tracking at the same rate as theirs did. However, I did continue to offer a small amount of spoon fed meals and allow him to feed himself. By keeping up the spoon (but not forcing it), he was quite capable of using cutlery at a young age and allowed me to offer a variety of meals that would suit both him and George. If you wish to combo feed you will find your own balance of spoon fed meals and finger foods by watching your baby and offering variety.

For more: One Handed Cooks cookbook, Baby Foodie ebook, Finger Foodie ebook, 100+ Baby Led Weaning & Finger Food Recipes, How to Encourage Toddlers to Use Cutlery, Why We Love the Tasting Plate,

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BREAST MILK AND/OR FORMULA

At 7 months of age, breast milk and/or formula is still an essential requirement for your baby’s healthy growth and development and should be their main drink until at least 12 months of age. The number of feeds may still vary, particularly if you are demand breastfeeding, but you will probably find more of a routine begin to develop. For the majority of babies this age, a milk feed will still be offered 30-60 minutes prior to solids but depending on your baby and family’s routine at some mealtimes solids may be offered before a milk feed. I have found with my boys, that some milk and solid feeds separated naturally over time, others I deliberately made the switch to solids first and for breakfast I always offered milk before solids until I weaned them off the morning milk feed. You will find a routine that works for you.

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WATER

At 7 months, your baby should be offered a small amount of cooled, boiled water in a sippy cup at mealtimes. At first it is more of a mouthwash than a drink as they tend to spit and splutter it out as they learn how to ‘sip’. The best sippy cups to help with your baby’s oral motor development don’t have a ‘leak proof’ valve, or have one that can be removed. You can also begin to assist your baby with an open cup too. I find Louis drinks best this way.

For more: Introducing the Sippy Cup, Keeping Babies and Toddlers Hydrated

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So, really this has been a very general guide and hopefully it has given you some insight into how different all babies can be when it comes to eating styles and food preferences. Hopefully sharing a few of my experiences has been helpful. We’d love to hear your experiences in feeding your babies and what foods they enjoy.

*Please read our Disclaimer: if you have specific concerns regarding your child’s appetite, eating behaviour, growth/development or the nutritional adequacy of their diet we recommend you consult your medical practitioner for assessment and referral to an appropriate health care provider, e.g. an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), Paediatrician or Health Nurse.

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