Baby Hints & Tips

Baby won’t eat lumpy food

baby won't eat lumpy foodMy 10 month old won’t eat any finger foods or foods with lumps. I’m still pureeing all her food to smooth.
She has 2 bottom teeth and 4 top teeth so I thought she’d start eating soft, lumpy foods but she just gags at the smallest lumps she comes across. Any tips on getting her to eat finger foods or lumps?

Gagging is normal

  • Gagging is normal as they learn to chew foods. If you keep pureeing it then that’s what they’ll always prefer. Give a sandwich (cut into fingers) when you are eating your lunch so you eat together. Same with dinner….give some steamed veggies when you are eating dinner. Don’t freak out about the gagging, it’s very different to choking. Google baby lead weaning to get some more information. Nikki

Stay relaxed

  • The important thing is to remain calm and relaxed – if you worry your baby will worry and this will develop into fear of mealtimes. It’s great that your LO is eating purees and she liked this as this is what she feels safe with. Lumps actually require a bit of chewing or munching which can be difficult to transition to. Does she put things in her mouth such as toys? This is important to do as its a way for a child to get used to things being in their mouths that are different textures without the pressure of having to eat them. It’s a safe exploration. If she doesn’t put things in her mouth in general she may be a little sensitive about what goes in her mouth, and may be worth checking in with a Paed to get some advice. In order to chew babies have to learn to push food to the sides of their mouth with their tongue for their gums and then molars to break down – front teeth are for biting. Long, thinnish things are good for babies to play with and put in their mouths such as rusks, carrots, celery sticks, parsnips, etc as these naturally go to the sides of the mouth. These need to be hard and something that is unlikely to be broken up by your daughter’s teeth – the goal is to practice having food pushed to the side of the mouth by the tongue – not to actually eat it as your child isn’t ready to handle these textures if they break up. Once you notice your child pushing these things to the side of their mouth then you can try foods that ‘dissolve’ easily such as baby mum mums, cruskits, potato stix, rice puffs, etc. These help with chewing practice without the risk of obstructing an airway as the food breaks down with only saliva. These are in the baby sections of most supermarkets. Is your daughter able to have mashed foods? That is a way of progressing textures – particularly potato and sweet potato. You can also thicken purees with some infant cereal to change it. But it’s important to always start meals with a texture your child is comfortable with – so the standard purees, and then offer a spoon or two of a mashed/lumpier food, then back to the purée. It’s all about learning and exploration in a safe way. If you’re finding that she still isn’t progressing you can always get some advice from a Speech Pathologist. Hope that helps a bit! Just some thoughts, every child is different 😀 Eleanor

Start with soft finger food

  • Start with soft finger food. Cooked carrot sticks or banana or her favourite puree. My daughter loves mango. We just cut it up and leave it on the plate in front of her to pick and choose what she wants to try. It gets messy but she loves the experience. Good luck Rachael


  • Gagging is a normal part of learning to eat solid food. A baby’s gag reflex is further forward than an adults, so they gag well before there is any choking risk. It’s scary to begin with, but read up on the difference between gagging and choking so you know what to look for. As they learn to move the food around their mouth, the gagging becomes a lot less. Naomi


  • Babies gag reflex is closer to the front of the mouth and as they try new textures they build up a tolerance and the gag reflex moves further back. Not sure if your experience is like mine but I know with my first I was holding him back by being so worried about him “choking” bubs was gagging which is good and means bubs is sorting out what fits and what doesn’t. As I relaxed and enjoyed watching him give things a go he got the hang of it so quickly. My new bub is 6.5 months old and already eats sandwiches/rice/pasta so different this time cause I’m confident he is too. It’s important not to panic when bubs gags give bub a go to spit it out and try again. Giving her hard munchables to chew on will also help to move the gag reflex back. Good luck mumma enjoy xxx Natasha


  • At least she has teeth… My lo had no teeth till 13 months… I found rusks and toast were good.. Learnt to hold onto food and just sucked on the… And slowly incorporated chunkier food into her meals .. Start 90 percent puree with fine chunky bits and increase. She will get there I wouldn’t be too worried.. they always get there in the end into worried. Eva

Try baby-led weaning

  • Try some baby led weaning. Give her food to play with and see where it goes from there. Erin


  • my baby (now 12 months) used to gag a lot when moving on from purée. It’s completely normal and essential to them learning to eat as it teaches them not to swallow without chewing. Try offering her lumpur versions of her favourite foods and working your way up. My little one loved banana so we stopped mashing it quite so much so it had some lumps. He soon got the hang of it smile emoticon good luck! Hannah


  • My daughter used to gag to the point where she’d throw up her whole stomach contents. It really delayed her progression onto lumpier foods but just keep trying. Sometimes it’s just easy to purée so at least they are eating something but then they never learn so be persistent, offer soft finger foods all the time. Sandwiches, steamed veggies, fruit. A lot of food was wasted in our household but my daughter eventually grew out of her gag reflex! Goodluck Jasmin


  • a friends baby wouldn’t eat finger foods until giving him baby carrot chips. My daughter who is 9 months old with no teeth yet is good with finger foods however I bought the carrot chips and found banana ones at coles- they are supposed to encourage baby to eat finger foods. Emma


  • My lo is 12mths and is the same. We are slowly now changing.
    My thinking was “if she is eating, she is eating. Every bub is different so don’t stress too much. Allison


  • you can buy a little holder with a plastic net from baby shops. You put whole soft food in it (banana or cooked pumpkin, whatever) & baby holds it & chews on it & the food goes through the net. Sounds disgusting but Bub can chew & eat the food without gagging, then maybe move onto lumps once they’ve got the idea to chew before swallowing…. Linda-Maree

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