When Is the Time to Give a Child Snacks???

Updated on December 25, 2008
E.W. asks from Garden Grove, CA
31 answers

I'm a first time mom and I just wanted to know...my son is 8 months old and he has 2 teeth.... and I started giving snacks. They are from gerber they are puffs and they dissolved quick and I'm sitting next to him while he eats. But,I have a mother in law that says he is not ready. My husband say that she is crazy and not to listen. But, I'm looking to know if I'm doing something wrong. Even though my husband say's no I'm not. But, I'm looking for advise from others mom. When is the right time to giving them snacks. He eats jar food he is in the 2 stage going to is 3 stage he wants to eat really food I don't think he is ready for that. But, snacks like the puffs he is learning to chew with them.

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hey E.,

I have to agree with Susan...my son didn't start a 'snack' time until around one year old, and this was really very basic stuff like the puffs. But, I didn't look to those for nutrition but, more like 'practice'for when we added a snack time...

Good Luck!

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L.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

It sounds like he is fine. I would not worry. Another snack I would give my son that helped him learn to chew was the Zweiback toast from Gerber. He loved it and would gum it to death. It is nice because they really can choke on it. Cheerios are also a good snack that I keep on hand. I started off by giving my son one at a time. He still loves them.

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L.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Gerber foods are real sweet, not something yhou want them to get used to. Try cheese, beans, peas, fruit, whole wheat noodles... things they can pick up on their own. This time of year they love those cuties oranges, grapes, tomatoes...

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A.P.

answers from San Diego on

I'm sure you'll get a range of answers, the best way to put fears to rest is a talk with your pediatrician. Mother-in-law won't be able to argue with that. My son is almost 9 mo. and started puffs at 6 mo. he has been in stage 2 foods for the same amount of time. Other than that he is breast fed on demand. I took my cues from him! He would stare and salivate when we would eat, since then I have found that he hates stage 3 foods (the pre-processing) and he loves fish,peas,avocado, cheese and yogurt! here are some websites too, there are foods to stay away from, so inform yourself. Wholesomebabyfoods.com will tell you about foods not to do and what babies eat at each stage. weelicious.com gives great recipes, so you don't have to always go with processed foods.

3 moms found this helpful

S.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

1) you are the mom, your MIL is allowed to make suggestions and you make the decisions. How lucky you are that your husband backs you! (count your blessings <grin>)

2) snacks (healthy ones) are an important part of a childs feeding. They need lots of small meals 'cause they have small tummies.

3) I found this book to be a Godsend: "Super Baby Food." It has what foods to introduce at what month, good feeding strategies, healthy recipes, and EASY EASY EASY strategies for making your own food (we never bought a jar, and with our first we both worked). The nice side-benefit from the book is the ability to say to your MIL: "Oh, thanks, but we're following the book's regimen." :)

Congratulations.

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Y.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

If he has teeth and shows interest in eating foods, then he's ready for puffs! I started my son on the Gerber puffs when I started him on Stage 2 and Stage 3 foods and he loves them even now. Another great finger food for babies learning to self-feed are Cheerios. They don't dissolve as fast as the puffs so you might want to wait until he has some more teeth so they break up a little easier. But now that you're starting your baby on snack foods, be sure to brush his teeth and gums at least once a day to help prevent sticky plaque build up. We brush our son's teeth regularly to prevent the problems we had with his older brother; we weren't as disciplined about his teeth brushings and learned the hard way that it really does make a difference! I wouldn't listen to your mother-in-law either; nobody knows your baby like you do! Good luck!!

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

The BEST thing is to ask your Pediatrician. Each Pediatrician may have different recommendations.

For us, our Pediatrician suggested these types of "puffs" or Cherrios at 12 months old. This is per safety & choking, the child's ability to "swallow" and "chew" etc. which is not yet fully developed.

Also, this type of finger foods, ie: the puffs, are given not necessarily as a "snack" per say, but also as a way to let them practice fine motor skills (ie: their finger pincher-grasp) etc.

Keep in mind, that for the 1st year of life, a baby's PRIMARY source of nutrition is breastmilk/formula... NOT solids. You need to nurse a baby BEFORE giving solids...otherwise they will be too full to nurse after solids.

It does not necessarily matter how many teeth a baby has... it is their ability to swallow/mash/chew/and move the food from the front of their mouth and then swallow. Some babies still have their "gag reflex" and/or are still pushing food out of their mouth with their tongue.

If I were you, I would first ask your Pediatrician. Then ask her/him about "snacks."
At this age, it is not crucial that they have "snacks" as it would be for toddlers. At this age of 8 months old, they are still just getting used to eating solids... and nursing/formula should STILL constitute the primary "meal."

No matter what, even at 2 or 3 years old... you must ALWAYS supervise and monitor their eating and helping them, due to safety and choking. Even a young child can choke on tidbits of food. Also, babies and young children don't always "know" how much food to put in their mouths, and they often put too much in their mouth... thereby causing a choking hazard.

All the best, sorry for rambling,
Susan

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Those puffs disolve immediatly, teeth or not. your baby will be fine.

C.

Ps those puffs are great when the baby doesn't want to shop, good bribe.

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D.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Listen to your husband. He can eat cheerios too. My 8 month old (he's our second boy) is the same(2 teeth) and we just started giving him puffs and cheerios. It is great for their fine motor skills to pick up the cheerios and puffs too. They develop their pincer grasp with the thumb and finger. You are doing great!

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

My kids were around 8 or 9 months when I would give them cheerios and teether biscuits. You know him better than anyone, even those "beloved" MIL's. I don't see anything wrong with it-follow your gut.

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C.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I always feel like there's no hurry giving snacks like "puffs". How about whole wheat mini bagels for your little one to teeth on. Trader Joes and many other stores sell them. You want to set your baby up for a life time of good eating habits instead of snacks with no real nutritional value. Just a thought.-www.weelicious.com

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L.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

I gave my son,(who is 2 now), snacks at that age. Boys eat a lot and sometimes they need a little snack. Try setting up routine snack times so it does not throw off his meals. I use to peal a carrot, cutting it in half, and gave my son the thick end to chew on. He loved it and it is great for teething!
Good luck!

-L.

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

E.,
You're doing great! It's hard to resist giving your child snacks when he is sitting next to you at the dinner table watching you take every single bite and looking at you like he wants to try a bit of you're having. When that starts to happen it's the perfect time to put down some puffs or cheerios and let him have at it! Good job following your mommy instincts!!! Way to go.

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J.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think healthy snacks are fine at this point as long as his gag reflex isn't making him choke on it! Some babies need to wait longer, others are ready. The thing I would be concerned about is the ingredients as far as allergies goes. Certain things are not supposed to be introduced until a little later after their systems are stronger so they will not develop an allergy. I don't remember the timelines but you could look that up online. But I think you are supposed to hold off on dairy, eggs, definitely nuts/peanuts (NO honey nut cheerios yet!)and anything highly allergic. Look into that but other than that I think snacks are fine. Helps develop hand/eye and their fine motor "pincer grasp". We started w/ Cheerios.

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, E.. I'm not sure what your MIL is worried about but it sounds like everything's fine. What exactly is your question -- whether it's OK to give him solid foods? Whether it's OK for him to eat between full-blown meals? What he's eating? I'm not sure exactly what the issue is, but basically if he's hungry, give him something reasonably healthy (not junk food, soda or sugar) that's age appropriate. Sounds like you're doing that and he is thriving. Babies need to eat frequently so a "snack" between meals is not only OK but necessary. No worries. Enjoy your baby!

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L.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Well i think you do need to get double stroller because you don't want have to carering one kid and push other...Just somethimes kids gets tired?you need to be prepare!

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C.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

E.,

I started Sebastian off around the same time on the Gerber gummies, which dissolve in their mouth.

They are yummy and high in vitamin C.

Good luck

~C.

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J.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

He can eat them, but my doctor said to avoid snack because they don't need them yet and to give them more food like fresh vegi and fruit.
J.

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D.B.

answers from Honolulu on

Don't listen to crazy mother-in-law. You and your baby know what he can handle.

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C.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

E.,

You're doing great! If he's interested in trying "real" food, get him started! As long as it's reasonably soft, he can eat just about any fruit or veggie (except for regular carrots; those in the baby foods are OK and I think spinach you're supposed to stay away from too, for the first year) and most starchy food. Check with your Dr. if you're concerned.

A great book to check out is "Child of Mine" by Ellyn Satter. she gives all sorts of great, sensible, easy ideas on what and how to feed kids, from newborns through toddlers.

enjoy your son!
C.

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M.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello E.,

The Gerber Puffs are GREAT!!! That is how my son learned to chew and take his time.

I can't remember at what age I gave him snacks he started to teeth early @ 4mns (Christmas Eve of all the times!)So, by 8mns he had alot of teeth by then. But I see no problem in giving your son the puffs. Just don't over do the amount.

And if there is one thing that I have learned as a new Mom (my son is now 3yrs) and a wife is to listen to your husband when it comes to your child. In the beginning I thought I knew best, not my husband how could he, he didn't carry my baby for 9mns. But, its OUR son and sometimes Dad's do know whats best, just ask my son:)

Good luck,
M.

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T.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Now. My son started around the same time. He didn't like them much....I did the gerber too but stopped because of the sugar. And I wanted him to eat the foods we were eating. Get a chopper/pureer. Vegetables, fruits, meats, grains,puree it, divide, freeze it for later...don't season it or butter it....develop a pallette for real heathly foods. Snacks at that age helps him use his hands and eating - his motor skills.

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M.H.

answers from Las Vegas on

I think your decision was good. You know your child better than anyone if he is ready and not struggling with eating the snacks then it is just fine. Don't worry what others say. Yes it is frustrating and hard sometimes but you know best for your son.

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M.C.

answers from Honolulu on

If he picks them up and eats them, he is ready! My second child rejected all baby food at 9 months, and she would eat little pieces of just about anything that we gave her. We were careful about allergies, of course, but she ate small pieces of pasta, fruits, avocado, tofu, chicken, cooked veggies, etc. She did have a very good gag reflex, so she would sometimes gag if she put too much in her mouth, but she never choked and she figured it all out. She really liked being able to pick up her own food and eat independently.

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K.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Your MIL is wrong, you're doing just fine - if your son seems ready, then he's ready - my son was already eating some table foods at this stage because he WOULD NOT eat jar food - he wanted to do it himself! (a precursor to the independent 4 yr old he is now!) Go with your gut - it's the best "guide to motherhood" out there! :)

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L.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

The gerber snacks are great and I have used them with my 8 mos old grandson. He loves them. As long as you don't over use them it is fine. Try little bits of soft foods if he wants to eat "real" food. My grandson loves mashed potates and pieces of cooked carrots. Again soft and tiny. Last of all, remember this is your baby and ideas of "when is the right time" have changed. If you are in doubt, ask your pediatrician...He/She knows the best.

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

E.,

You are doing perfectly right. Do not listen to your mother in law. I have a General Feeding Outline from a former pediatrician. For an 8 month old it says, 26-31 ounces of formula, 4-6 Tbsp. Cereal with formula added, 6-8 Tbsp. Strained or Junior Vegetables, 2-4 Tbsp. Strained or Junior Fruit, 1 cracker or 1 biscuit, 1-3 Tbsp. strained meat or poultry, 2 oz. Diluted Infant Juice START CUP, 1 Tbsp. Mashed Egg Yolk.

If you would like to know what it advises in the next few months, let me know. I have a 17 year old daughter, a 19 month old daughter and an 8 month old daughter.

K.
[email protected]____.com

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K.E.

answers from Las Vegas on

I've had two little boys already, and now i've got a two month old little girl, so i've had a little experience. I have found it helpful when the label says "for infants that are able to sit up on their own and can self-feed" or something like that. I don't think there is a true or correct age, it usually depends on their development. but your little guy is probably ready. for me it was between 7-9 months. hope i was helpful.

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

As a Mom and Grandma, I say that nothing you do is really wrong. That said, I would give him things that as close to whole foods as possible. If you start giving him processed food now, then he will develope a liking for that type of food. If he wants real food, then give it to him. We have 4 children and I have fed them maybe 10 jars of baby food altogether. Most of the food that you fix for you and your husband can be ground up or cut up for him. Think about what you want him to be eating in two years when he has alot of teeth and can really chew. That is what he should be eating now, processed by you to the point that he can swallow it without choking.

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter started about the same age as your son. It's great for his hand eye coordination and fine motor skills development. If he can manage to pick the food up and get it to his mouth, he's ready for the easily dissolvable foods like the puffs. While asking your pediatrician is a nice suggestion, remember your pediatrician will tell you what kids generally do not necessarily what you son is ready to do.

Also remember this site is like your MIL. Everyone is well meaning and very opinionated. Sometimes it's helpful and sometimes it just causes more doubt. It's up to you to trust your instincts and take the advice that feels right to you.

Good luck.

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B.B.

answers from San Diego on

I think 8 months is the perfect time for snacks. It will teach him hand eye coordination and how to chew and swallow. I did Puffs and Yogurt Bites (which my daughter loves) but also did fruits and veggies. In the frozen veggie section, peas and squash are perfect finger foods (I just heat them for 30 seconds in the microwave and then rinse them to cool them off). Also bananas, avacado and blueberries sliced in half worked great for us.

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