First and foremost, a few feeding basics:
- Always feed your infant in high chair or other belted seat that is pulled up to the kitchen table.
- Always feed your child at regular, scheduled times in a calm, positive, distraction-free environment.
- Always eat with your child. Your baby learns so much about how to eat well by watching you.
Steps for Introducing New Textures:
- When first introducing new textures, start by putting a few small pieces of the new food on baby’s tray.
- Let baby play with the new food, this is not wrong or bad behavior at this age. This is how babies learn and feel comfortable about trying new things.
- Show baby how to pick up the food using your pincer grasp, and put it in your mouth. If baby doesn’t imitate this right away (it may take a few days or weeks to figure it out), then hold up a piece to baby’s mouth and wait for him or her to open up and be willing to take it.
- Never push food into baby’s mouth that he or she is not showing signs of wanting to eat it. Baby should be interested, calm, and opening his or her mouth when ready to eat.
- If your baby doesn’t open up, or seems resistant to trying something new, do not worry or react negatively. Instead, just calmly show baby how enjoyable it is to eat that food, and try again the next day or a few days later.
- Start very small and only give baby a bite or two to work with on the tray at a time. Make sure baby doesn’t stuff too much in his or her mouth, which is risk for choking.
- Offer sips of water after bites to help baby clear the new food from their mouth and throat.
In terms of spoon- or fork-feeding new textures:
- If you make your own food, just puree it less so than previously, and leave soft chunks.
- Feel free to start offering baby foods from the rest of the family’s meal that are soft-solids and non-choking hazards. This is a wonderful way to help baby learn and experience family meals.
Food ideas for transitioning to textures:
- Cut up soft fruit such as banana, ripe pears, peaches, plums, blueberries without skin, raspberries, mangoes, and soft-steamed apples.
- Cut up soft-cooked vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, lima beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, cauliflower, and very softly cooked carrots.
- Soft cooked beans (cut or smash for baby to reduce choking hazard), meats that have been cooked for a long time with a lot of liquid such as in a slow cooker and are very soft, tofu. Avocado
- Easily-dissolvable foods such as puffed cereal pieces, crackers, bits of bread, waffles, or pancakes, etc.
Just starting solids with your baby? Read the first in our Infant Feeding Series: Starting Solids.
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