How to Leave Baby Food Behind
Pureed baby foods are the first foods that infants get to eat. When your doctor decides it’s time to incorporate solid foods in their diets, they’ll also tell mothers which foods are ideal for their little one’s nutrition.
They’ll also teach mothers how to best introduce baby food in order to facilitate ingestion.
Then, over time, the baby’s teeth start to come in and they need to learn how to chew. At this point, they should be given solid foods in addition to pureed or mashed.
The whole family should be contributing to their learning. On top of the multiple things we have to teach them, how can we help best with this transition?
Transition from Purees to Foods Mashed up with a Fork
Moms, if you suddenly stop giving your child baby food and offer them something more solid, it’s likely they’ll refuse it.
Remember that when you first started offering them spoonfuls of food it was only pureed, and so you can’t expect them to accept the solids that you offer just like that.
To pave the way and prevent the tantrums of a hungry child who doesn’t want to eat (which is difficult to cope with), here’s our advice:
Transition from purees to more solid foods mashed up with a fork.
We recommend doing it gradually. In the beginning, blend the food for less time each time you put it in the blender and start leaving more chunks of food in it.
Even as you introduce it little by little, your child might still refuse what you offer them. But rest assured that this method is the most accessible for them and soon they will start to accept the food offered.
Remember, sudden changes aren’t good for babies.
Don’t Panic if Your Child Doesn’t Want to Eat
They’ll probably spit out food when you lift the spoon to their mouth, or let a mouthful of food sit in their mouth without chewing or doing anything. They may cough to scare you into thinking that they’re choking, or simply start to cry and throw a fit.
If this sounds like your typical scenario that happens every night don’t lose hope. You’ll need a lot of patience to keep insisting on cleaning it up. Lift the spoon to their mouth as many times as necessary, sing to your baby, get them another spoon to encourage them to eat, and all of the scheming that goes into making sure they’re fed.
No matter what, don’t get upset or let your child notice your distress.
They need to get used to the fact that it is time to eat, and you, firmly, will keep offering new foods just as you have been doing. Calmly, smiling, letting them know that this is an enjoyable time that you are happy to share together with them.
Offer Them Solids They Can Already Eat
If your doctor tells you that you can let them eat bread, pancakes or soft biscuits, serve these in a plastic container so that they can pick it up t hemselves a nd bring it to their mouth. That way they will learn and practice chewing.
Give Them Your Plate
Kids love to eat off of grown-ups’ plates. Even though your child has no idea what you are eating because they’re not used to this food, if you stand next to them chewing you’ll notice how the y start to drool a little.
So if you want your child to eat, for example, rice and beans (a typical dish in many Latin countries) we suggest eating from the same plate, with different silverware.
The important thing is that your child sees how you chew, and that you’re eating the same thing and you like it.
Once You Make The Change, Don’t Move Backwards
Once you are giving your child solid foods, don’t go back to giving them mashed foods for reasons like: “They didn’t want to eat anything today.”
Although it hurts, it’s important that your child get used to the idea that: “this is the food I have and this is what I have to eat.”
Offer Them a Varied Menu
There are so many different recipes that you can make for your child to switch up their diet.
Remember that with the introduction of new tastes, there are new dishes to be found. And you need to get used to not feeding them the same thing every day like you could do with baby food.
This way, they’ll get more used to variety and they won’t refuse new foods.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Coulthard H, Harris G, Emmett P. (2009). Delayed introduction of lumpy foods to children during the complementary feeding period affects child’s food acceptance and feeding at 7 years of age. Matern Child Nutr. 2009 Jan;5(1):75-85
- Birch L. L. (2016). Learning to Eat: Behavioral and Psychological Aspects. Nestle Nutrition Institute workshop series, 85, 125–134. doi:10.1159/000439503