So you and your infant have tackled baby foods like a pro and now it is time to try some “real” table food. The good news is that your baby is already eating these “real” foods, just in pureed food. Table food just increases the variety of textures of the foods he or she is eating. Here are some things to consider during this transition.
Preferences-You probably have started to notice some of your baby’s food preferences. Does he love his green beans and refuse applesauce? Is he a banana baby? Knowing your baby’s preferences can help you narrow down some foods to start off with. You want to continue to provide success during meal times and starting with preferred foods can be a good motivator. You can also present new foods, as well.
Physical Development-Is your baby able to complete the muscle movements (both large muscles and small muscles) to allow for her to safely explore different food textures? Consider how your baby is using her large muscles to maintain an upright position. Does your baby mash food with her gums? Can your baby uses her hands to bring foods to her mouth? These are all important questions to answer in order to prepare to transition to table foods.
Same Meal for Everyone- Feed your baby the same foods that you are eating at the table during meal times. (Always be sure to start with mashed or very finely diced pieces). Your baby may be more willing to try new foods if he can see others eating the same thing.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again- Your baby may not like a food the first time (or even first 15 times) around. Keep presenting the opportunity for your baby to explore new foods. Sometimes, multiple presentations are necessary before your baby will even taste a new food. Don’t give up!
Always consult your child’s pediatrician prior to changing your baby’s diet. He or she can discuss specifics with you regarding your child’s development and risk for allergies. Avoid foods that pose choking hazards for young children.
Remember to consider what works best for you and your child! The transition to table foods is not a one-size-fits-all process. If your child is having difficulty transitioning to different textures or you have concerns about his or her development, we can help! Remember, Babies Can’t Wait! Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB: http://www.racsb.state.va.us/.