1 Year Old Storing Chicken in Mouth like a Chipmunk!

Updated on September 10, 2008
A.C. asks from Independence, MO
17 answers

My 1 year old was slow to start eating solids (started eating well around 10 1/2 months) but now does pretty well. Because of this, I am slowly introducing him to new foods. I recently started him on chicken. My pediatrician said to cook the chicken & then shred in very small pieces. But, I have noticed he is storing the chicken in his cheeks! I think this is because he is used to soft food that he can easily gum & swallow (he has 4 front teeth) and the chicken doesn't do that. The chunks are very small, small enough for him to swallow. The only way he will swallow the chicken is if we give him graham crackers and he somehow swallows the chicken along with the cracker. With any other food (fruit, veggies), he won't do this. I've also tried giving him water to help wash it down, but he won't drink it. It's as though he gets some in his mouth, doesn't know what to do with it, and just keeps it there until he has a little pile & then doesn't want to eat anymore until it is washed down. This is when we give him the graham cracker & he will swallow it. Tonight we thought he had swallowed all the chicken, gave him his bath, and once out and getting him dressed I saw the chicken still in his mouth!! I then nursed him and it went down. I wondered if this will just take time but until he figures it out, I don't want him to keep storing it in his cheeks!! Any advice? Thanks!!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I just wanted to add that my son won't eat any pureed type food. As I stated, he just recently started eating food & completely skipped the pureed baby foods & went to finger/table food. So, pureeing won't work as he won't eat it. I will try the chicken nuggets & lunch meat, though, & see what happens. I have been starting him very slow on food due to him not eating until the last 1 1/2 months & he's only been eating fruits, veggies & a few grains. I wanted to start him on meat/protein & later dairy but because he doesn't like anything that is pureed, it's hard to get all the food groups in (like with dips or mashed foods to mix in, like suggested) because he won't eat it!

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.Y.

answers from Kansas City on

A.-

My daughter did the same thing, which at times was comical but very frustrating. It took us a little while to work with it, and she still does not always swallow meat well (she's 18 months). Once we knew it was mostly meat, I made a point to only give little bits, then give her something she usually swallows and/or a drink. I also found that giving her a spoon helped, since she was used to swallowing when fed with a spoon. She would just go through the motions of eating with the spoon and then swallow. And when I did not have the patience or time to do all of that, I would grind up chicken and put it in with softer food.

Good luck!
Dr. Alyssa

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.K.

answers from Kansas City on

I'm a little late, but thought I'd share. My 11 month old can't chew shredded chicken. With no back teeth, only three front ones, his gums don't fully touch in the back making it almost impossible to bite down on something "flat". What works for us is soft cheerio size chunks of chicken. That gives it enough substanance to chew with his back non touching gums, and is easier to push around in the mouth.

More Answers

C.B.

answers from Kansas City on

A. i had to laugh when i read this. that's so funny! but i wanted to say too that my son had the hardest time with meats - they were the last thing he started eating (real meat - he had no trouble with chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc). only instead of stuffing it in his cheeks, he'd just ignore it on his plate. hey maybe he likes the flavor, just the texture is wierding him out. my son is 23 months now and eats like a horse (well...a meat-eating horse) so don't sweat it. he's only a year so he doesn't really need the meat yet. give it a few months, i'm sure he'll catch on!

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.M.

answers from Topeka on

I think your little boy is telling you that he isnt ready for chicken yet!!! With only 4 teeth, he cant really chew anything the chicken needs to be chewed...both for ease of swallowing, and for ease of digestion and to help keep him from somehow getting choked on it.
I would look into the advanced stages of jarred baby food...and see if there isnt meat there that he would enjoy. You could also try running the chicken through the blender with a bit of the juice you cooked the chicken in, it would no longer be "finger food" but he would be getting the nutrients of the chicken.
Dont push it too fast...introducing too many foods too early is what can lead to food allergies.
Good luck!!
R. Ann

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.B.

answers from Kansas City on

I am going to start out saying do not worry, but we know that won't happen. My son was just barely two and not eating solids well. He was my third so , I didn't worry. I took him to his doctor for a recurrent ear infection and they reffered me to an ENT for tubes. Well the ENT said his toncils (SP?) were huge and asked me about his eating habits. Well he had his toncils removed and he once he was all heeled he was and still is the best eater. So I would give a little look in his mouth and see what his throat is doing. Maybe it is nothing but is wouldn't hurt. The ENT told me that my son could not even swollow a piece of bread. Yikes.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.B.

answers from Wichita on

Good Morning A., I haven't looked to see what other Mom's out there have shared. But use chicken nuggets instead of the cooked chicken. Nuggets are a different texture and do not shred like a normal chicken does. It's the shredded part I would imagine that is keeping him from swallowing. Our 3 yr old gr son still likes the nuggets over the regular chicken. He just doesn't like that it gets what he calls the Yucky Stringy Stuff.

Good Luck and God Bless
K. Nana of 5
PS, Kids get what they need from meats even if they just chew it and spit it out. So don't sweat it, it's ok if he doesn't swallow. Our eldest son now 33 still doesn't care for "Roost" lol roast, it gets stuck between his teeth and he hates that feeling.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.H.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.,

My son started with only the front teeth for the longest time. He too stores his food like a chipmunk! He is 18 months now and still does it from time to time most likely because all he thinks about is running all over the place. He has things to do you know! The pediatrition told my husband and I the same thing when it came to meat. He will have a difficult time eating chicken, beef and turkey no matter how shredded it is until his molars come in. When my son's molars came in he began to eat much better. We used more proscesses meats like Oscar Myer and such until he was ready for the big stuff. My husband and I didn't want to feed him anything with perservatives in it, but how else was he going to get the protien he needed. When his molars finally came in he began eating normal meats really well. Right now it's just a bit much for your son and he is just learing how to eat like we do. He wants to eat it but it's hard for him. We also fed our son cheese and eggs. They are a great source of protien and easier to eat for the little guys without molars. I hope this has been of some help to you. Good luck to you and your family.

A. H.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.S.

answers from Springfield on

Sounds like you're already getting some good advice. My thought was to make sure and brush his teeth after he eats to make sure he doesn't have any food left in there.

J.B.

answers from Kansas City on

So glad to hear we aren't the only ones! Except with our daughter, it's all food, but particularly peas. She's been known to store it in there for an hour. And she has a lot of teeth - two of her molars and probably 10 others, so that's not the problem. Just keep hoping she'll figure it out.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.S.

answers from Kansas City on

I work with children who have feeding disorders. "Pocketing" food is sometimes due to a sensory issue. This may be the case, since he seemed to dislike puree textures in his mouth. Try some sensory input in and around his mouth....vibrating toothbrush, high flavor foods dabbed onto nuk brush, different textures, etc. Does he have sensory concerns, ie: dislikes certain textures to feet or hands, fussiness, difficulty sleeping, not liking baths, not wanting to be cuddled, etc.? You can email me at [email protected]____.com if you have any questions. Good luck! And, of course, this could also just be something he is going through and will outgrow.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from Wichita on

Since he doesn't have enough teeth to actually chew and 'grind' the meat- maybe you should 'grind' it more for him. chop it up as fine as possible, or use a baby food ginder. then it'll be to small and fine to be able to store in his cheeks.
chop it up very fine, and put it with something- like a gravy, or other veggies??
good luck!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.H.

answers from Wichita on

Thats an interesting issue youve got there! I dont know if I'll be much help but here's what I've got for you. Start giving him just a tiny tiny bit and see if he swallows that ok. If not try taking your finger and scooping it out of his cheeks onto his tongue. This may help him to realize that it doesnt belong in his cheeks.
Also, I used to work with kids with developmental disorders and many of them had a hard time eating. We were trained to put the food towards the back of the mouth so it was harder to resist it going down. Does this make sense? We would put it either on the back of the tongue (not so far back it would choke them) or we would put the spoon in the upper part of the mouth in the back if the food was more pasty or pudding-like. You may try these things and see what happens.
Hope this helps, good luck!

P.S. If he doesnt get any better dont worry. He'll get used to it eventually. As long as he isnt gagging or choking, he'll be fine. No worries, youre doin great!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.

answers from Wichita on

Hi A.,

Have you tried giving him chicken that isn't shredded? He might be storing it because it is difficult for him to chew it well enough to swallow it. How many teeth does he have right now? My daughter had only 4 teeth when she was a year old and didn't start eating table food readily until she was about 18 months when she had most of her teeth in.

I would recommend instead of giving him shredded chicken which can be long and stringy that you try and cook a piece of chicken breast tender and dice it into VERY small pieces (about 1/8 inch cubes). Give him a couple of cubes initially, then check to see if he swallowed it before giving him more. I think you will find that the texture of the cubed pieces are shorter and less stringy and maybe he won't hold it in his mouth.

If he doesn't have very many teeth yet, you can do what we did with our daughter and start off with cut up sliced lunchmeat (not bologna or anything with a hot dog texture though since these are choking hazards). We used to just microwaved a slice of ham for 15 seconds and cut up into very tiny pieces and let our daughter pick at it. If you are worried about sodium or nitrates in the lunchmeat, you can find some healthier versions these days without these preservatives and lower sodium. You can look for Boar's Head "All Natural" brands lunchmeat which have no nitrates/nitrites, no MSG, and are raised without hormones/antibiotics. Try their All Natural Smoked Uncured Ham or All Natural Roast Beef. The roast beef is lower in sodium and both offer a fair amount of iron. I'm not sure where you're located, but you can just try your local Kroger or the deli section in Wal-Mart Supercenters to see if they carry it. If you have a Whole Foods market or something similar in your area, they may carry some healthier versions as well. Just make sure to check the nutrition label and ingredients of anything you get because some foods in the healthy foods markets have lots of sugar and sodium in them eventhough they are labeled as "organic" or "natural." Hope this info has been of some help.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.S.

answers from Joplin on

HAHAHA !!
I'm sorry, I don't mean to laugh, but I remember my daughter doing the same thing. We all used to laugh at her and the saying went through the family that my kid held food in her mouth until it liquified !
He will get over it, I promise.
In the mean time, do you have to give him chicken ? How about replacing it with something softer, like vienna sausages, spam, potted meats or balogna chunks ? If you really want to push the chicken, then process it with a little milk or baby formula. (It doesn't have to be completely pureed, just chopped finer. My guess is he will still do it though, until he gets some back teeth. (My daughter did.) It really is hard to "gum" no matter how tiny you cut it. When he gets more teeth, then try it again.
By-the-way, my daughter is 21 years old now, and honestly, I don't think she has held food in her cheeks for quite a few years ! LOL !
Hang in there ! If this is the worst problem he ever has, you are doing very well !

P.S.
For the veggies, just cook them longer until they get really soft, then cut them in small easy pieces for him to pick up. He sounds like a little guy that wants to feed himself, so it'll go easier if he can pick them up himself. The extra soft texture will make them melt in his mouth. You could even add a tiny pinch of sugar to the veggies to entice him.
Be sure you are giving him a vitamin suppliment, since you are having trouble balancing his diet.
:o)

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

F.C.

answers from Kansas City on

morning A., i hope you are doing well. i am first time mom. the way learn and showed my daughter. i would sit direct from her hight chair. face to face. whatever he is eating. put some chicken in you mouth and start chewing it. you have to show him and make yumm noise and have to say it out loud. thats way my daughter learn. and she is 14month old.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from St. Louis on

I don't have any sugestions, but wanted to say my cousin did this with meat for the longest time. We went with her mom to have her picture taken & we went to breakfast before hand (well beforehand) & she wouldn't smile for her pictures (and she usually wasn't a problem) Finally, we realized to check her mouth & she had sausage stored from breakfast (an hour or two ealier). Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.A.

answers from Lafayette on

Dear A.,
I would just hold off on giving him any meat for a while. My two boys always had an objection to meat at that age. It bothered my husband, but the pediatrician said they don't really start eating meat until after two. My 17 month old will even sort through the little bits of chicken in the toddler meals or just spit them out. When your boy's molars and the rest of his teeth come in, he'll be more interested. You should just see my three year old eat steak!
Keep up the good mommy work and be patient!
Sincerely,
J. A.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches