Everything You Need To Know About Purées vs Finger Foods

Welcome to The Mummylogues. A series dedicated to candid conversations, relatable tips and resources for navigating pregnancy and parenting. 

In this edition, Pregnancy/Childbirth & Lactation Specialist and Founder of Therhappy, Dr. Vanshika Gupta-Adukia addresses the dilemma between purées and finger foods, sharing a few creative recipes for your little ones too!


Each baby’s journey with food is as unique as they are. There is no singular right method to introduce solids to them. Every family has different beliefs and dietary choices and it is best for mothers to trust their maternal instincts while taking an informed decision for the most apt way of introducing first foods to their babies.

For a guide of when to introduce solids to babies, have a read here.

Purées

Purées are a great option for those families keen to give the traditional method of spoon-feeding a shot. It is advisable not the rush into the process or try enticing a baby to eat more when they show no interest.

  • Babies learn best by seeing and touching. Often, they tend to spit out the purée and grab it – this is truly out of curiosity and their way of participating in the process. The next time your baby does this don’t be quick to wipe it up and avoid putting the same back into their mouth.
  • Contrary to popular belief and practice, chunky purées could actually be a reason for little ones to gag. Babies should be able to suck the puree from the spoon similar to the way they would suck back breastmilk.
  • A smooth soup in terms of consistency is ideal to start with especially for babies sensitive to a gag reflex.

Finger Foods

Finger foods give the little one a great way to explore the different textures, colors and flavors of food. It also increases the development of hand eye coordination and is truly a far safer way for the baby to remain in control of what goes in and out of their mouth.

It is important to serve finger foods in the correct form to prevent choking hazards.

  • Size & Shape – Finger foods should be stick shaped and easy to hold in the whole hand, with enough for them to be able to bite off. Round small foods should be cut length wise into four parts and offered only when confident about baby being able to maneuver the same.
  • Texture – It should be soft enough to be squished between two fingers when pressed.
  • Hard fruits & vegetables – Must be steamed or baked soft until the baby has teeth to be able to easily bite and chew.

Remember finger foods can be introduced at any point. Combination feeding is also a great option for parents who would like to offer purées and finger foods to their little ones. In such a situation, start with finger foods in the beginning of the meal as a baby is more like to play with the same towards the end of the meal.

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Starting solids too? Here’s a handy guide from @kidfriendlymeals for introducing textures to your child! . #Repost @kidfriendly.meals with @make_repost ・・・ “I’m stuck at the puree stage because my baby won’t eat otherwise”⁠ ⁠ I know it’s scary and you want your baby to eat, but it’s absolutely essential that you move forward with texture.⁠ ⁠ Here’s what the research shows: ⁠ It’s best to introduce textured foods no later than 9 months. Otherwise, it can lead to limited dietary variety, greater likelihood of food refusal and chewing difficulties down the line.⁠ ⁠ 💥Continuous exposure leads to familiarity which leads to acceptance. And early familiarization has been shown to have a lasting effect on consumption and preference. Ideally, you want the puree stage to be relatively short. Again, the goal is to graduate by 9 months at the latest.⁠ ⁠ ✅Depending on your comfort level, you can take the gradual approach or dive right into serving all these different textures from the start. They are all safe. Will there be gagging? Absolutely! But that’s an important part of the learning process. So hard for us parents to see, but what really helped me to get through it was reminding myself that babies aren’t actually bothered much by it.⁠ ⁠ ✅It’s normal for your baby to resist texture at first because it’s unfamiliar and feels unsafe. But don’t fall back. Keep moving forward. By no means should you rush them, but you do need to gently and lovingly pressure/challenge them.⁠ ⁠ ❤️Remember, learning to chew and swallow different textures takes time to master so keep giving them plenty of opportunities to practice! That’s the best thing you can do!⁠ ⁠. #TheMummylogues

A post shared by Ayushi Gupta-Mehra (@mummylogues) on


AMAZING APRICOT PURÉE

6 Months Onwards

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium apricots, pitted (fresh is best)
  • 1-2 tbsp of water/ breastmilk

METHOD:

  • Cut apricots lengthwise and combine in a blender with water/breastmilk.
  • Gradually add more water/breastmilk to adjust the consistency of the purée.
  • Work the pulp through a strong strainer to remove strings that could be hazardous to the baby.

BEETROOT PEARL MILLET PORRIDGE

9 Months Onwards

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon pearl millet flour
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup beetroot juice
  • Pinch of cinnamon powder

METHOD:

  • Add all the ingredients into a sauce pan.
  • Whisk to get a lump free mix.
  • Cook the mix on low to medium flame for about 7-10 minutes or until done, stirring continuously.
  • Flavour the porridge with Cinnamon powder and serve warm.

PUMPKIN SEMOLINA/ SOOJI STICKS

11 Months Onwards

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 cup sooji
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese

METHOD:

  • Melt butter in a pan and add pumpkin purée to it.
  • When it comes to a boil, add semolina to it, let it simmer until the semolina is cooked.
  • Switch off and let it cool.
  • In a baking dish, add grated cheese and pour this mixture
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes till the cheese turns golden.
  • Cool the dish and cut into fingers.

About Dr. Vanshika Gupta-Adukia

Dr. Vanshika Gupta-Adukia is a Pregnancy Specialist and the Founder of Therhappy. She is an internationally certified Pre and Post Natal Fitness Educator, a CAPPA certified Childbirth & Lactation Educator Counsellor and a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. Her keen interest in women’s health, curiosity about childbirth and life of a fetus in a mother’s womb led her to venture in the journey of birthing and beyond.

Follow her on Instagram @therhappy_in | Website: https://www.therhappy.in/


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