Introducing Solid Foods: When, What, and How - Part Two

Aug 22 08:20 2016 Sally Michener Print This Article

This article provides information on safe toddler (one year and older) feeding tips, and feeding solids: nine to twelve months.

Safe Toddler (One Year and Older) Feeding Tips
* Avoid stringy foods such as celery and string beans.
* Pick out fish bones before mashing fish. In canned salmon,Guest Posting mash the bones.
* Safe and natural frozen teethers are bananas or any melt-in-the-mouth frozen food.
* Avoid commercial white-bread preparations; they form a pasty glob on which baby could choke.
* Spread nut butters well, instead of offering baby a chokable glob.
* Check the chunks. Babies' front teeth are for biting only. The molars -- chewing teeth-- don't appear until after the first year. Babies still gum rather than chew.
* Offer finger foods only under supervision and when baby is seated, not when reclining or playing.
* Scatter only a few morsels of finger foods on baby's plate or tray at one time. Too much food in a pile encourages whole-handed gorging rather than individual pickup bites.
* Hot dogs are neither a nutritious nor safe food for babies. A bite of a whole hot dog is just about the size of a baby's windpipe, and baby may choke. Healthy nitrate- and nitrite-free hot dogs are a favorite of toddlers, and they can be safe if sliced lenghwise in this, noodle-like strips. Even these "healthy" hot dogs can be high in sodium, so limit them.

Safe and Favorite Finger Foods
O-shaped cereals                                 cooked peas (dehulled)
rice cakes (unsalted)                            pear slices (very ripe)
diced carrots (well cooked)                   apple slices (cooked well)
whole wheat toast (remove crust)          pasta pieces (cooked)
scrambled eggs                                    tofu chunks
french toast                                         green beans (well cooked, no strings)
avocado dip or chunks

Chokable Foods
nuts                           raw carrots
seeds                         raw apples
popcorn kernels          whole grapes
hard beans                 unripe pears
hard candy                 stringy foods
meat chunks

Feeding Solids: Nine to Twelve Months
The previous stage was mainly to introduce your infant to solids -- baby used to the transition from liquids to solids, from sucking to mouthing, and chewing food. Most beginning eaters dabble a bit with foods, eating only a small amount of a few select solids. Breast milk and/or formula make up about 90 percent of their diet.

In the later part of the first year, baby's swallowing mechanism greatly matures. The tongue-thrust reflex is nearly gone, the gag reflex diminished, and swallowing is more coordinated. This allows a gradual progression from strained or pureed foods to mashed and courser and lumpier foods. Advance the texture of solid food -- but not too fast. Going too slowly deprives baby of the chance to experiment with different textures and prolongs the strained baby food stage. Advancing too quickly causes bay to retreats new foods and new textures for fear of choking.

New Skills -- New Foods
At this stage babies enjoy more variety and volume of solids. Solid foods become a major component of the infant's diet, often making up around 50 percent of baby's nutrition after one year of age. (This is an average; many breastfed babies are still at the 80-90 percent milk level at one year.) During this stage new developmental milestones bring about new feeding patterns. The thumb-and-forefinger pincer grasp, more highly evolved now, allows baby to pick up small morsels. Babies often show a preoccupation with any newly acquired developmental skill. Consequently, babies develop a fascination for small objects. Pick up on this new desire by presenting your baby with baby-bite-sized morsels. The fun of finger foods begins.

Finger Foods
To encourage picking up and eating rather than messing and smearing, place a few pieces of O-shaped cereal, cooked diced carrot, rice cake, or baby-bite-sized pieces of soft fruits on the high-chair tray. Babies also enjoy firmer finger foods for teething, such as teething biscuits. Harder foods, especially teething foods, should have a melt-in-the-mouth texture, dissolving easily while being gummed. You may notice that your baby will be fascinated with a pile of cooked spaghetti placed within easy reach. The ability to pick up with thumb and forefinger enables baby to pick up one strand, shell, or elbow at a time. Pasta picking holds baby's meal attention longer than most foods. Some of the pasta may even make is way to the mouth. If worried about allergies, wait until one year to introduce wheat products such as zwieback, bagels, and pasta. If you know your baby tends toward allergies, you can buy wheat-free teething biscuits and pasta made with rice.

The ability to pick up food also has its hassles. Food and utensils become interesting objects to bang, drop, and fling. This does not necessarily mean rejection of the food or the feeding but reflects baby's natural and normal need to explore new ways to use the newly developed skills of picking up, dropping, and throwing. When it gets to messy for you, simply end the feeding.

Pointing and Dipping
Besides developing thumb-and-forefinger pickup, around ten months babies are using their index finger for poking and social directing -- giving cues to their caregivers. Baby is likely to poke into a new food as if dipping in and tasting it. Capitalize on this skill by making dip. Avocado or guacamole dip (without the salt and heavy spices) is a nutritious favorite at this stage. Remember, each new developmental skill has it nutritional benefits and humorous nuisances. While babies will use their poking finger to dip into food and suck the food off their finger, expect the young artist to begin body painting and finger painting with the food on the high-chair tray. Enjoy this developmental skill while it lasts. And feel free to stop the meal if baby is no longer eating.

Feeding Strategies
Now that you have introduced your baby to the different tastes and textures of his favorite solids, here are some tips gleaned from other family feeding experiences.

Respect tiny tummies. Offer small helpings in frequent feedings. Since babies' tummies are about the size of their fists, they seldom take more than two to four tablespoons of a food at any one meal. Don't overwhelm baby with a whole pile of food on her tray. Instead, begin with a small fist-sized dollop and add more as baby wants more.

Gradually increase variety and texture. For beginning solid eaters, fruits and vegetables should be strained. As babies gain eating experience, they can advance to pureed foods, then to foods that are finely minced. Most babies can begin to accept chopped foods by one year of age.

Avoid pressure tactics. Never force-feed a child, as this can create long-term unhealthy attitudes about eating. Your role is to select nutritious foods, prepare them well, and serve them creatively, matched to baby's individual capabilities and preferences. Baby's role is to eat the amount he want at the time, according to his needs, moods, capabilities, and preferences. Feeding children is similar to teaching them to swim -- you need to find the balance between being too protective or restrictive and not vigilant or selective enough.

Here's a hint: If your baby shuns eating try a bit of group encouragement. Sit baby in a high chair. Let everyone start eating, but don't give baby anything. She will feel left out and wan some food. When she starts reaching for some food, giver her something off your plate. Let her think it's your food, even though it may be her own food on your plate. When she starts eating, don't suddenly put a whole plate in front of her. Let her keep asking for more, and give her only one or two bites at a time. This way, baby feels in charge of deciding to eat on her own.

Expect erratic feeding habits. There may be days when your baby eats solids six times, or she may refuse solids three days in a row and only want to breastfeed or take a bottle.

Teach table manners. Babies are born clowns. When a baby drops a utensil or a glob of food, everyone quickly reacts. Baby soon realizes that he is in control of this game and continues to put food everywhere but in his mouth. Shoveling is a familiar dinner-table-clown game. Sometimes the otherwise adept self feeder becomes impatient, shovels up a whole handful of food, and splats the palm full of food half into his mouth and half on his face. Baby continues to gorge and smear until his clowning gets the expected audience reaction. Laughter not only reinforces habit but can be dangerous since baby may laugh with a mouthful of food, take a deep breath, and choke.

The ability to stimulate caregivers to react to one's antics is a powerful enforcer of baby's emerging sense of competence. Enough is enough, however. Reacting too quickly to the messer and flinger only encourages this mealtime clown to continue his performance. Whether you laugh or scold, either way baby takes this as a reaction from the audience, and the performance continues. No comment is the best way to keep this little ham off the stage. If his antics get out of hand, assume he's not hungry and remove his food. Don't expect him to sit still as long as older children can. Even at this early age table manners are learned by example. If he sees the other children (or adults) laughing with a mouthful of food, flinging food, banging utensils, and enjoying all of it, this little imitator will do likewise. Also, remember to praise good manners.

Minimize the mess. Each new developing skill has its nutritional benefits and humorous nuisances. Baby's newly developing thumb and forefinger pincer grasp and finger pointing stimulates him to want to pick up tiny morsels of food and feed himself, yet it also creates an opportunity for more messes. Allow baby the luxury of messing around a bit with his newly discovered utensils. Believe it or not, baby is actually learning from this mess. While some food makes its way into the mouth, other pieces scatter. Food flinging, dropping, and smearing are usual mealtime antics parents can expect to deal with. Allow a certain amount of mess, but not when it gets out of control. Too much food on baby's tray leads to two-fisted eating and major mess making. To discourage food flinging and give the food a fighting chance to make it into baby's mouth, put a few pieces of O-cereals, cooked carrots, pieces of rice cakes, and any other bite-size pieces of fruits and vegetables that baby likes on his tray. Then, refill as needed. Placing a whole pile of food in front of baby is inviting a mess.

Settle the squirmier. This trick worked for a baby who would constantly windmill her arms during feeding. Use three plastic spoons -- one spoon for each of her hands to occupy them and one for you to feed her. Also, it's a toy trick. Put toys with suction cups on a high-chair tray so she can play with them with her hands while you spoon food into her mouth. Sometimes when babies open their mouths to such on toys, this primes them to open their mouths to receive food.

Make feeding fun. Play games, such as the spoon-airplane game. Say "Here comes the airplane" as the spoon makes its dive into baby's mouth.

Overcome lip lock. To relax tight lips that are refusing a feeding, back off and over-enjoy the food yourself. Model the excitement by replaying the old reliable "Mmmmmm gooooood!" As your baby watches you open your mouth and savor the food, he may catch the spirit and relax his mouth and his attitude. Use one of your child's favorite foods as a teaser. As he opens his mouth for his favorite food, quickly follow with the food you wanted him to try.

Use camouflage. Cover more nutritious but less liked foods with one of baby's favorites. Try dabbing a thin layer of applesauce (or other favorite) on the spoonful of vegetables. Baby gets the applesauce on his tongue first and them a scoop of the more nutritious but less liked food on top of it. If he still hates it, forget it for a while.

Minimize the mess. Each new developing skill has its nutritional benefits and humorous nuisances. Baby's newly developing thumb and forefinger pincer grasp and finger pointing stimulates him to want to pick up tiny morsels of food and feed himself, yet it also creates an opportunity for more messes. Allow baby the luxury of messing around a bit with his newly discovered utensils. Believe it or not, baby is actually learning from this mess. While some food makes its way into the mouth, other pieces scatter. Food flinging, dropping, and smearing are usual mealtime antics parents can expect to deal with. Allow a certain amount of mess, but not when it gets out of control. Too much food on baby's tray leads to two-fisted eating and major mess making. To discourage food flinging and give the food a fighting chance to make it into baby's mouth, put a few pieces of O-cereals, cooked carrots, pieces of rice cakes, and any other bite-size pieces of fruits and vegetables that baby likes on his tray. Then, refill as needed. Placing a whole pile of food in front of baby is inviting a mess.

Settle the squirmier. This trick worked for a baby who would constantly windmill her arms during feeding. Use three plastic spoons -- one spoon for each of her hands to occupy them and one for you to feed her. Also, its toy trick. Put toys with suction cups on a high-chair tray so she can play with them with her hands while you spoon food into her mouth. Sometimes when babies open their mouths to such on toys, this primes them to open their mouths to receive food.

Make feeding fun. Play games, such as the spoon-airplane game. Say "Here comes the airplane" as the spoon makes its dive into baby's mouth.

Overcome lip lock. To relax tight lips that are refusing a feeding, back off and over-enjoy the food yourself. Model the excitement by replaying the old reliable "Mmmmmm gooooood!" As your baby watches you open your mouth and savor the food, he may catch the spirit and relax his mouth and his attitude. Use one of your child's favorite foods as a teaser. As he opens his mouth for his favorite food, quickly follow with the food you wanted him to try.

Use camouflage. Cover more nutritious but less liked foods with one of baby's favorites. Try dabbing a thin layer of applesauce (or other favorite) on the spoonful of vegetables. Baby gets the applesauce on his tongue first and them a scoop of the more nutritious but less liked food on top of it. If he still hates it, forget it for a while.

Trick tiny taste buds. The taste buds for sweet flavors are found toward the tip of the tongue; the taste buds for salt are on the sides of the tongue; the taste buds for bitter are at the back of the tongue. In the middle of the tongue, the taste buds are more neutral. So it is wise to place a new sweet food on the tip of the tongue, but a new less sweet food on the neutral area in the middle in order to give the food a fighting chance of going into baby instead of coming back out. Veggies, for example, have a better chance of being willingly swallowed if placed on the middle of the tongue rather than on the tip of the tongue, except perhaps for sweet ones, like sweet potatoes.

Give your baby a bone. Baby can graduate from a nearly empty chicken bone (sliver bone remove) to one with a decent amount of meat left on it (still no sliver bone). It has great play value (for banging, gnawing on, waving, transferring from hand to hand) to buy you a few more minutes of savoring your own food, and baby may actually east some of the chicken.

Forgive food fears. It is normal for some babies to fear new foods. Expect your baby to explore a new food before she eats it. Allow your baby to become familiar with the new food before actually tasting it. One way to encourage the cautious feeder is to place a bit of the food on baby's own index finger and guide his own finger full of food into his mouth.

Enjoy the lap of luxury. If your child refuses to get in or stay in his high chair, let him sit on your la and eat off your plate. If baby begins messing with your food, place a few morsels of food on the table between baby and plate to direct his attention away from your dinner.

Share a plate. Let baby eat off your plate. Sometimes babies just don't want to eat like a baby; they'll reject both baby food and baby plates. Around one year of age, babies enjoy sitting on parents' laps and picking food off their plate, especially mashed potatoes and cooked, soft vegetables. Try putting baby's food on your plate and trick the little gourmet into eating his own food.

Assist in self-feeding. Around one year of age babies enter the "do it myself" stage and may want to feed themselves with a spoon. Most parents find it much easier to feed a baby than to let baby take over the job with her own utensils. Compromise is needed here. A trick to use with the determined self-feeder is to do the job together. The parent holds the spoonful of food, and when baby grabs the spoon, mom or dad continues to hold on and helps baby guide the spoon into her mouth. Take advantage of baby's desire to mimic you at this age. When he sees you using a spoon properly, baby is more likely to try it too.

There will be more articles on infants, breast or bottle feeding and other related topics to follow. So please keep an eye out for more of my articles.

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Sally Michener
Sally Michener

Here at ring sling baby carriers we know your baby is precious and worth keeping close. Our ring sling baby carriers help you make the most of life while making the most of your baby's. Please visit our website ring sling baby carriers to see our broad selection of Hotslings adjustable pouch, Rockin Baby pouch, Rockin Baby ring sling and Lil Cub Hub convertible sling baby carriers and find the right print and style for you and your baby.

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