8 Month Old Baby Food – What Should I Offer - Food Guide
Baby Feeding at Eight Months
There’ll be no uncertainty when your 8 month old is hungry. Loud protests and fussiness are common signals from babies of this age, who are keen to eat and can’t manage to be patient. Your baby’s metabolism works at a rapid pace. They’ll need frequent refuelling to satisfy their appetite and provide sufficient energy to fuel their busy life.
Babies have a window of time when they are most likely to eat. Missing this can lead to frustration and cranky outbursts.
Milk is still the main source of nutrients at this age and stage, but you’ll soon be getting to the point of offering your baby solid food before their milk. The general guide for milk/solids reversal is around nine months, but there are no hard and fast rules. Every baby is an individual. Given enough opportunity, they will regulate their food and fluid intake to suit their own needs. Always speak and check with a qualified nurse or healthcare professional about your baby to understand what your baby’s individual needs are.
Helpful Tips for Feeding your Eight Month Old
- Put your baby’s highchair on a plastic mat. This will make cleanups infinitely easier.
- Try not to micromanage your baby’s intake of every food group. Consider their total intake of food and nutrients over a few days rather than each specific mealtime. It’s the overall intake which is important.
- Go for simple, unprocessed foods which are as close as possible to their natural state.
- Offer your baby a varied diet. By the age of 1 year most toddlers have slowed their growth and become a little fussier with eating. A restricted diet at 8 months means your baby won’t have much to choose from when they hit the inevitable age of food refusal.
Breastfeeding and Solids
Breast is still best, so if you and your baby are still happy to keep on breastfeeding, feel free to keep going. You may doubt your breast milk supply at 8 months but as long as your baby is still having six or more wet nappies a day, and is generally satisfied after feeds, feel reassured about the volume of milk they’re getting.
The quality of your breast milk is still perfectly suitable for your 8 month old as it has all the nutrients needed to support your 8 month old's growth.
Bottle Feeding and Solids
Infant nutrition experts clearly advise that formula is the only safe and suitable alternative for babies aged less than 12 months who are not breastfeeding. Cow’s milk based formula or goats milk formula for those who need an easier to digest option, are ideal for the first 12 months of life unless there is a medical or cultural reason why they can’t be given. Always speak and check with a qualified nurse or healthcare professional about your baby to understand what your baby’s individual needs are.
What Foods Should I be Offering My 8 Month Old?
Vegetables, fruits, red and white meat, fish and seafood, cereals and dairy products need to form the basis of your 8 month old’s diet. Try not to restrict their diet at this age. Try not to restrict their diet at this age. However, before introducing any potentially allergenic foods in the first year of life, you should always speak and check with a qualified nurse or healthcare professional about your baby to understand what your baby’s individual needs are, especially if you have any concerns.
Keep things simple and offer your 8 month old the same foods as you’re eating. There’s no need to cook special foods or restrict their diet to a select few.
Your 8 month old will be able to eat a mixture of purees, as well as more lumpy foods. Although they may not have any teeth just yet, they’ll be able to chew with their gums. Give them finger foods too on the tray of their highchair and support their attempts at self feeding.
Five Important Tips for Feeding Your 8 Month Old
- Be adventurous and offer your baby foods you may not like. Every baby is an individual with their own food preferences.
- Let them explore their food and feed themselves. Eating is a time of exploration and discovery, and not just only about the amount they’re getting in. Your baby can only learn if they’re given some space.
- Offer your baby a cup of water to drink at mealtimes. Practice makes perfect, so expect some spillage as they’re learning what’s involved. Tap water contains fluoride – an important mineral in protecting teeth against decay, so avoid offering filtered or bottled water.
- Avoid adding honey, salt and sugar to your 8 month old baby’s diet.
- Offer cereals which are fortified with iron.
Food Safety and Your 8 Month Old Baby
Make sure that you cook all eggs well.
Avoid sharing utensils such as spoons, or tasting your baby’s food before offering. Tooth decay causing bacteria can be spread from mother to baby.
Throw away any food your baby has tasted but not eaten. Keeping food at room temperature and reheating it can lead to contamination – if in doubt throw it out.
Always speak and check with a qualified nurse or healthcare professional for advice and guidance on your eight month old baby’s individual feeding needs.