Transitioning from Baby Food to 'Real Food'

Updated on October 13, 2009
A.G. asks from Coalville, UT
5 answers

my one year old has 4 top teeth and two on the bottom, and i would like to get him started on more 'adult food' and eat what we do (when possible) yet he still wants his food pureed, and even mashed can be refused at times.. he hates bits that are too big to swallow as he does not want to chew.. i am confused because he loves eating bread, pizza, and biscuits on his own, taking bites and chewing on these things happily.. yet when it comes to meal time, he wants to be spoon fed food that is completely smooth with no bits. how do i encourage him to make the transition over to adult-like food???!! i would really appreciate any advice!!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I have four little ones and I have had kids that will not eat if they can't feed themselves. It makes a HUGE mess but it is the only way they will eat "real" food. My littlest one is 8 months now and she eats whatever we have for dinner. I just cut it up a little if it is too big but leave it big enough so she can get it off her tray. This might sound strange but try to pay attention to what if anything your angel will or will not eat. All mine are allergic to dairy and they from really young refused anything that had it in it. I am just saying maybe your little one has learned that somethings makes them sick so they are refusing them. I think they are pretty smart and know when something makes them feel yucky. Another thing you might try is have people over for meals that have little ones that they can watch eat. It might help them learn what they are supposed to do at meal time. If they watch other kids eating or feeding themselves they might be more likely over time to try it too.



answers from Boise on

My son would gag on anything chunky. What worked for us was to take his favorite foods that I made, and slowly make them chunkier. I tried a few storeboughts so that I could see the texture that they used, but it was all pureed, and then a chunk, and that seemed worse that to just make it thicker and thicker, and then add a chunk. He loved avocado and banana, and those are plenty soft and safe to have a few extra chunks. I really just offered that until he seemed to have an interest in my food, and would want a bite, and then I went to some finger foods. The puffs and some fruit/veg chunks that he could feed to himself. We were really slow and gradual and let him decide. Food isn't worth the fight. Even now, at 17 months we let him pick and choose what he wants to eat, and try not to make it a battle. He is a great eater at daycare and it makes our life easier.



answers from Denver on

I hope this doesn't sound to harsh, but here goes: If you want him to stop eating pureed food I would stop offering him pureed food. If he doesn't eat breakfast because it wasn't pureed properly then he will surely eat his next snack/meal as he'll be really hungry! If you're offering applesauce or something else that is "naturally" smooth then you could give him the spoon and let him try himself or alternatively put the food on the spoon and then give him the spoon to put in his mouth himself. You can also make healthy spreads/dips (with avocado, chickpeas or other beans, cream cheese, butter, mashed veges, etc.) to put on the bread he already likes to eat...

I think for sure kids are different and if you were okay pureeing all his meals and feeding them to him with a spoon then his reluctance wouldn't be a problem. But if you're ready to do less spoon feeding and encourage his "mealtime independence", then I think it's okay for you to listen to that preference and stop feeding him. I also really prefer that my kids feed themselves from an early age. I think it helps create healthy eating habits - because they can then control what and how much they eat and can explore different textures, tastes, shapes, real food as it is - and it also helps me at meal time!

Whatever you decide I also think talking to our kids, no matter how young they are, about what we are doing/what we want them to do, etc. can help. Try explaining to him really simply what's going on. I think doing this also sets up good habits for communicating with your child. All the best! Enjoy the mess!



answers from Denver on

My 9 + month old has the exact same issue and furthermore throws up anything that is too chunky (any chunks at all). To add to it he is very low on weight and continues to drop, and really isn't all that interested in food. Yes, people LOVE to say "just don't feed him, he'll start eating" right. No he won't. My doc told me that with formula - oh he'll eat it. (My breast milk is nearly gone) Sure. How long would you like me to go without feeding him? He has no problem to go 24 hours. Shall I go longer? I get very frustrated with that advice.
I would love to know what the thing is that works... and am writing to comiserate with you too. I have found that my baby is somewhat temperature sensitive with his food. When teething for example, he will only eat cold foods. Maybe playing with that will make the food more attractive.

(My baby has 6 teeth, working on 2 more.)

I'm kinda confused about what you are saying about the pizza - if he will eat that - but not during meal time? When is he getting it?

Have you tried yogurt with soft fruit chunks in it? What about a smoothie with ground nuts? Sometimes my baby will let these things go down his throat... Also, I give him peas that were frozen, but thawed and not cooked again - it's a "fun food" being green and round - sometimes he will eat those. Also he will eat foods in those net things with the handles - I put strawberries and watermelon in those and he will chew like crazy on them. I have read that helps get them ready to chew solid foods.
Good luck!!

Someone also told me to use my dinner food as he gets closer to one year and use a food mill. Do you have one of those? Maybe he can transition to that consistency?



answers from Pocatello on

Hi, A.. Your little one sounds a lot like mine. He loved soft foods without chunks, like yogurt, and grains he could feed himself that dissolved in his mouth (pizza, biscuits, etc.). We had him screened by a Speech Language Pathologist who also offers *feeding therapy* around 14 months or so. What a difference it made! His chewing muscles were super weak, he had an issue with textures, and his frenulum was borderline too tight, which was preventing him from being able to form a bolus to swallow. Hence, he chose not to eat unless it was something that dissolved or was practically liquid.
I'm glad you recognized these signs. I encourage you to have him screened by an SLP or Occupational Therapist who does feeding therapy. Had I known this existed, my older children would have benefited, too. My now 4 year old has a much broader diet than my first three kids.

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