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Coping with lumpy foods

Some children can struggle with moving on to lumpy foods. Whatever the reason for this, make sure that they’re not offered any food that could be hard or unsafe for them to swallow.

If you’ve noticed them choke or you’re already being guided by our Feeding Team, please get in touch with our CYPIT team before you try any the advice below.


If your child is having trouble with lumpy foods, you might notice that they:

  • Spit out their food or become upset when you ask them to eat
  • Struggle to swallow without gagging, coughing or being sick
  • Become fussy and will only eat the smooth foods they enjoy

There are a number of techniques you can try to encourage your child to eat lumpy foods, including:

  • Making sure they have head control and can sit unsupported before feeding them lumpy food. If your child is unable to sit without support due to having special needs, please make sure you have the right seating equipment
  • Trying new foods when both you and your child are relaxed and have enough time. Do not try when your child is tired
  • Be able to recognise and react to your child’s cues and signals

  • Try starting with sweet lumpy foods or softer lumpy fruit first as they are more appealing
  • Cooking pasta or vegetables for longer to make the lumps softer and easier to eat
  • Introducing lumpy food slowly, starting with just a mouthful at the start of each meal (especially if it’s a meal they usually enjoy as they won’t want to spit any out) and building up over time
  • Gradually blending home cooked puree for less time to make it lumpier or adding more small lumps, e.g. couscous or crunched up Rice Krispies
  • Staying calm if they gag, giving them some water to clear their throat and encouraging them to try again
  • Most importantly, don’t lose heart if it takes a bit of time. Children all develop at different rates

Finger foods

Some children move on to finger food before they’re able to cope with lumpy foods. We’ve put together some information on finger foods to make sure your child is safe and not at risk of choking.

Read our finger food information page

Progressing through textures film


  • Scrambled egg
  • Fork mashed vegetables with your baby's usual milk
  • Stewed fruit
  • Porridge
  • Mashed banana
  • Rice pudding
  • Crumbly cheeses

  • Soft avocado

  • Soft cooked and peeled apple

  • Ripe peeled pear (fresh or tinned)

  • Soft nectarines


If you’ve tried all of these techniques and you’re still not seeing any improvement after three months, please do speak to your health visitor or GP.