Preview the new Recipes for Growing Me ~9 months edition!
April 27, 2020
It seems to be well documented that infants are ready for complementary foods at around 6-months of age; [i] [ii] however, the importance of introducing different textures around 9-months is not as well known. It makes sense that this transition should naturally occur if the goal for infants is to enjoy a variety of foods and textures by one year of age; [iii] but how are we supposed to know when—and why our infants are ready for this progression? According to an expert panel review, introducing finely chopped foods at around 9-12 months is recommended (provided that your infant shows signs of developmental readiness). [iv]
Why is this age so critical?
As infants develop, the gastrointestinal tract and immune system change to accept foods other than maternal milk or formula. Changes are also occurring in terms of oral motor abilities.
As the infant grows and the anatomical structure of the oral cavity develops, basic reflexes change and the infant’s movements become more voluntary. The oral cavity expands to allow more room for the infant’s tongue (due to an increase in the size of their head, downward movement of the jaw, and absorption of the fat pads in their cheeks). Infants are eventually able to perform more lateral and up and down movements with their tongue, versus the front-to-back type of movements that are part of the initial sucking reflex. This change usually occurs between 6 and 9 months and allows infants the ability to manipulate semi-solid foods rather than pushing them out due to their reflex. Once the infant collects the food and pushes it toward the back portion of their tongue, a swallowing reflex occurs; this is why it is important to ensure foods are appropriately sized for the infant to prevent choking. [vi] In addition to learning how to chew, it is further noted that the introduction of a lumpier texture helps infants develop their fine motor function. [vii]
Infants also display changes in trunk, shoulder, and neck control, allowing them to sit up and independently control their head. See our blog on “When Should Babies Start Eating Solids”, where we explore how to know when your infant is ready for complementary foods.
Tidbit for Your Tiny OneNot only is complementary feeding a time of constant growth for infants, their demand for important vitamins and nutrients increases. There is evidence to suggest that a delay in introducing a variety of textures by 9-10 months of age could be associated with feeding difficulties later on. [viii]
Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
The following recipe poem is an excerpt from our upcoming book Recipes for Growing Me ~9 months:
Did you know?As I transition through foodsFrom 6 to 9 months oldThink of adding more textureBecause I’m stronger and boldInstead of foods that areA mashy old messProvide me with more textureAnd I will do bestIron remains importantAs do many vitamins tooIn this recipe book are manyHelpful suggestions for youWe hope we’ve contributed something beneficial to your baby’s diet, and remember…DON'T HOG THE BLOG...share with new parents today!
Have a bloomin’ day!Sarah & Karen
[i] DynaMed, (2017). Feeding the term infant: overview and recommendations. Dynamed. http://www.dynamed.com
[ii] Government of Canada, (2015). Nutrition for healthy term infants: recommendations from six to 24 months. http://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-guide/resources/infant-feeding/nutrition-healthy-term-infants-recommendations-birth-six-months/6-24-months.html
[iii] Government of Canada, (2015). Nutrition for healthy term infants: recommendations from six to 24 months. http://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-guide/resources/infant-feeding/nutrition-healthy-term-infants-recommendations-birth-six-months/6-24-months.html
[iv] DynaMed, (2017). Feeding the term infant: overview and recommendations. Dynamed. http://www.dynamed.com
[v] Naylore, AJ, and Morrow, A., (2001). Developmental readiness of normal full term infants to progress from exclusive breastfeeding to the introduction of complementary foods: reviews of the relevant literature concerning infant immunologic, gastrointestinal, oral motor and maternal reproductive and lactational development. Washington, DC: Wellstart International and the LINKAGES Project/Academy for Educational Development. https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/Pnacs461.pdf
[vi] Naylore, AJ, and Morrow, A., (2001). Developmental readiness of normal full term infants to progress from exclusive breastfeeding to the introduction of complementary foods: reviews of the relevant literature concerning infant immunologic, gastrointestinal, oral motor and maternal reproductive and lactational development. Washington, DC: Wellstart International and the LINKAGES Project/Academy for Educational Development. https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/Pnacs461.pdf
[vii] Boop, Cheryl, (2020). Is overuse of baby food pouches a problem? Nationwide Children’s. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2020/02/baby-food-pouches
[viii] Fewtrell, M., et al. (2017). Complementary feeding: A position paper by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (Espghan) Committee on Nutrition. JPGN 64, (1), 119-132. https://journals.lww.com/jpgn/Fulltext/2017/01000/Complementary_Feeding__A_Position_Paper_by_the.21.aspx
— P.S. If you’d like to learn more about Watch Me Bloom, you can buy our Recipes for Growing Me ~6 months book, say hello on Facebook or follow us on Instagram. If you liked this blog, share it with a new mom. Reading this for the first time? Subscribe and receive a complimentary digital download of our ‘Love Me Forever’ Digital Print to frame in your nursery or child’s room.
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