21 answers

Dry Foods and the 15 Month Old Preemie

Our son is now 15 months, but he was born 3 months premature. He's never had a problem with appetite and eats like a champ. We have been giving him solids since he was 6 months and trying to encourage self feeding for a while now. Right now, we are still feeding him the majority of the time stage 3 foods, because he seems to find drier foods more difficult to eat. We encourage self feeding with Cheerios and he understands what to do, but once he gets it into his mouth, he just lets it sit there. Or he will try to eat it, but end up gagging a bit and sometimes throw up. We are totally supportive of him learning new things at his own pace due to his prematurity, but we would like for him to start self feeding more, not just for nutrition reasons, but because he loves to learn new things. The stage 3 foods are perfect right now, because he's underweight and we are making every attempt to get him "bulked up" and he will easily eat a 6 ounce jar at three feedings per day and then a 6 ounce bottle. Anyone else have a baby that just didn't dig on dry foods when learning to self feed? Any suggestions about foods to try? We tried giving him diced peaches and other soft foods to self feed, but he just pushes them around the tray. Dry foods he seems more interested in putting in his mouth.

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Featured Answers

My son choked on a generic Cheerio type cereal. Scared me half to death. I think it is Gerber that makes a fruit/veggie puff. They dissolve in the child's mouth. They're pretty darned tasty, I must say. I bought them at WalMart or KMart. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Gerber has these little puffs that are designed to kind of melt in the baby's mouth so he doesn't gag as he learns to eat it. They're the perfect size. My daughter at 12 months still loves them. A.

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Have you tried some of the Gerber dry foods that desolve, such as the wagon wheels or the puffs? My daughter (a 25 weeker) did have problems with solids and loved the puffs and wheels. Plus, I felt better because I knew she wouldn't choke on them. It definately helped her learn how to deal with dry foods.

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Hi mama. My twin had a premy. Don't push him too hard to self feed. He'll be "behind" until his after school years. He will have a more difficult time wih certain things like swallowing, hand-eye coordination, balance, etc. It's nobody fault, it just happens. Life is a struggle for premies but my nephew has had his own business for 8 years and ended up fine. Stick to the stage 3 foods until he really learns how to chew. Teething biscuits help because they can bite or scrape and mush then swallow. Mashed potatoes are good for them...not too dry. Soup with noodles (bite, mush), etc. Start working on hand-eye, putting square pegs in the proper holes (when old enough).When giving a bottle, slowly pull away without removing bottle from his mouth. He'll suck harder and develope those mouth muscles to be stronger. Do that throught the whole 6 ounces. Good luck mommy

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Hi there,
Our little girl was born on time, but was tiny and recently has had trouble gaining weight. Her doc advised us to feed her more butter (!). So we did. Fingers of buttered toast/bread were a real hit for finger food, and we feed her mashed beans to which we add about a teaspoon of butter (I think you can get cans of low sodium refried beans). She gained more than 1.5 pounds in the last 6 weeks! She also had trouble eating O's in the beginning (always gagging and choking on them) until we came across Cascadia Farm's Purely O's. They're small, melt in your mouth and don't have any added sugar or salt. I've only found them at Whole Foods so far.
Give self feeding time, for now focus on getting your little one calories! Good luck! S.

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have you thought about having your child tested for sensory integration? the sooner the better- i did not realize my son had that until after 5 years of age- many priemes have it. I would recommend the pediatric place

1 mom found this helpful

Gerber has these little puffs that are designed to kind of melt in the baby's mouth so he doesn't gag as he learns to eat it. They're the perfect size. My daughter at 12 months still loves them. A.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried goldfish crackers? My oldest did the same thing with cherrios and we never figured out why. She had no problem with the goldfish. You might need to break them in half at first or buy the "baby" kind, but it did solve our problem! Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Try freeze dried fruit. You can buy it in the baby aisle or go to Trader Joe's. Just make sure it is sulfite free! It is little pieces that are easy to pick-up with little fingers plus it requires very little chewing/gumming.

Have to tried pasta? Just put it on his tray and let him go to town. We give our little guy (12 months) pretty much anything to eat. He tries it and if he likes it he keeps going. We did not have any luck with stage 3 foods, probably because they have no flavor, our little guy likes flavor!

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Someone mentioned the Gerber stars - those are pretty good. A great idea though is to crush the stars up and roll the bits of fruit in them. This way, it's easier for your little guy to pick them up (my son would get so frustrated with trying to pick up the peaches that he just pushed them off the plate) and they may actually make it to his mouth! Best of luck!

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Hi E.,
My son has the same problem, but I have found that if I soft the hard food. He is able eat it better. I have noticed that my son can handle things easier if he can handle it. We just break up his food just small enough that he can put it in his hand.

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i dont have any specific ideas, but i was just listening to a podcast by this doctor and i loved it! your situation made me think of it: http://www.amazon.com/MY-CHILD-WONT-EAT-International/dp/...
My child wont eat by carlos gonzalez. Keep taking your time, and letting him feed himself! Good job. -C.

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My triplets were born premature (2 months) and we also waited longer than what is considered normal before introducing new foods. Before we tried Cheerios, we tried the Gerber Puffs - they dissolve almost instantly and they were a great hit with all three of our children. Also, I would recommend getting an early intervention evaluation. My "youngest" has some food eating issues and we work weekly with a speech therapist that does food therapy. It's really helped. Finally, our pediatrician recommended Pediasure to help her get her weight up and that also helped so you might want to ask yours about it.

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It sounds like you are on the right track! I would also like to add that you should ask for a feeding and nutrition evaluation through Early Intervention. The evaluation is always free and the Feeding specialist and Nutritionist will give you professional advice on what you can try at home to encourage your son's feeding development. Hope this helps.
P.S. Your local Early Intervention office phone number is ###-###-####.

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I have a 14 month old (born right on time) and he also doesn't care for a lot of textures. He actually won't even eat the stage 3 foods yet because of the pasta and rice in it. He'll eat everything else and spit the pasta or rice out. I just mention that so you know that other similarly aged babies do the same thing : )

Two things that have worked for us:
1) Put the food on an adult fork and let him serve himself. I just put a small piece of chicken on a fork and he loves to be the one to put it in his own mouth. This works well for chicken or meat at our house.
2) Try cantaloupe. This was the first non-jarred food that he ate and he still loves it. We cut it into big slices (keeping the skin on) and let him go at it. At first we would hold it so that he wouldn't get too much, but now he loves being able to gnaw on it. I think the cold feels good on any budding teeth too.

Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

Dear E.,
I too had a 27 weeker....I found before you try the drier foods why dont you use small pastas--they make so many different kinds & I would boil them in chicken broth (reduced sodium) along with the veggies at the end (ie carrots, peas, corn) I would use a slotted spoon and serve them like that & sometimes put cheese...you can also use a pat of salt free butter & saute them when you are done & then put cheese) Barilla has a line that I love which is multi grain but there are also some other good ones--small shells & wheels that Lia just loved picking up--if your son still doesnt want to eat it that way, mash it up with the back of the spoon & try again in a week--eventually he will get it. Lia is now 29 months & a great eater--she loves fruit to so you can mix fruit with regular food too--a way I got her to eat chicken!! & by the way my daughter will eat anything that is cooked on the grill--so just experiment away!Feel free to contact me for any kid friendly recipes--I have a bunch!
A.

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Hi there,

My son is also a 15 month old preemie. We currently are seeing a speech therapist for feeding issues. She was telling us that many babies (not only preemies) don't realize that they have to move their tongue from side to side in order to chew the food. Instead they only move their tongues from front to back and swallow things whole, which is why they choke and throw up (my son did the same thing!). I think the therapy is 3/4 psychology, trying to help him learn not to be scared of the food, and 1/4 actual speech! However, my son wouldn't even attempt the stage 3 foods, so that is good that your baby is. I would suggest calling Early Interventions to see what they think. The evaluation is free, and actually kind of fun because they also tell you all of the good things about your baby. Which is nice, especially coming through all that you have with a preemie. Good luck!

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Have you tried a feeding therapist? he definitely neds that and being a bpreemie he definitely qualifies as you might know. Also check out childrens hospital in wisconsin s feeding clinic ti takes 3 montshs at least to get into so start the 75 pages i am not kidding of paperwork now~
Get him to a GI he probably has EE check it out www.curedfoundation.org or www.apfed.org
you need to figure out what foods are making his esophagus close up and throw up.
good luck
J.
this is common in preemies inthe hospital for a while

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Hi there!

When we started on real solids with my daughter she did the same exact things! I finally gave up on the Cheerios and Kix and got her the Gerber ones... I wish I could remember the name! They melted in her mouth since she would not chew them all the time or chew all the way when she did. It helped stopped the gagging and choking that we were battling with Cheerios. We also had to "show" her how to chew... we would chew with our mouths wide open so she would mimic us- I catch myself now 8 months later still doing this- but in public! lol

We also found her pushing around peaches, pears and apple slices... it turns out that she could not grab them to pick them up since they were slippery. We finally bought the plate that has a suction to the bottom to stick on the tray and it also has a lip on the plate/bowl to help her grab the foods easier- watch though that he does not put a whole handful of food in his mouth at one time though. It was also great when she start to use a spoon.

I almost forgot... we also started to buy the Gerber Dinners that look like tv dinners that come in a box. It is softer solid food but great to help teach chewing small pieces!

Good luck, I hope this helps you! Many blessings to you and yours!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, E..

Although my son was only 4 weeks premature, he had the same problem, as many preemies do. I posted a similar question on Mamasource. One of the respondees told me that her preemie son went to occupational therapy for this issue. She said the word chew and made exaggerated chewing motions so the baby could see her jaws move up and down and her teeth meet. She did this while putting food in her son's mouth, starting with crumbs and moving up to whole pieces. I took her advice, and it worked wonderfully. We tried a few different foods to see which worked best. I recommend the Gerber puffs, but try splitting them into three or four pieces. I hope this helps.

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Hi E.,
We started to get the feed himself thing with animal cookies. Then we had to teach pinch, pinch, then we had to show him bite, bite with our own teeth and mouths. It seems a little silly but it worked and he really loved the cookies so he was willing to chew. Started as gnawing with his front teeth then turned in to paste but he ate it. Then it progressed from there! Good luck!

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Hi E.,

I have had a similar situation. I have 2 1/2 yr old twin girls who were born 2 months premature. One of my girls always did well with soft foods, but did not adjust well to dry foods. In my case it has just been a slow process of continuing to try every day. We used a lot of the Gerber Graduates foods, since they are softer. I also give her lots of soups like vegetable soup where you can mash it. At first I would mash everything as much as possible and gradually mash it less as she realized she liked it and would chew it. Dry foods were difficult and I used Gerber Fruit Puffs because they melt in their mouths. I really think this is a prematurity thing that they grow out of because now at 2 1/2 my daughther will eat dry foods but it took her a lot of time getting used to it. Just try every day and eventually it will happen. I wish I had a better answer for quicker results, but it seems from my experience with preemies that unfortunately even the simple things are harder and take longer.

1 mom found this helpful

My son choked on a generic Cheerio type cereal. Scared me half to death. I think it is Gerber that makes a fruit/veggie puff. They dissolve in the child's mouth. They're pretty darned tasty, I must say. I bought them at WalMart or KMart. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

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