Your baby is happily relishing all the pureed food that you offer. Now it is time to switch over to table food or solid food. But before you do the transition, you should check that the baby is ready. So, how should yo go about transition a baby from puree to table food?
I have found that the best way to start the transition is to thicken the puree by adding less water. From there, you can slowly place foods like pieces of banana, blueberries, or mashed sweet potato so they can start trying solids.
Usually babies will be ready for table food once they are eight or nine months old. Some babies might need some more time before you can transition them.
As a parent, you are the best person to decide when to introduce table food to your baby. If your baby shows more interest in the food you eat or is hungry soon after their meal, it is time to introduce table food.
Why Are Table Foods Important For Babies?
Introducing table food is the start of self-feeding. Babies learn to pick food using their thumb and index finger when you introduce table food.
This helps to develop their pincer grasp which is highly essential for proper feeding as they grow.
Moreover, providing table food is the best way to introduce babies to new tastes and flavours. This helps you to slowly wean them from breast milk.
How To Transition From Puree To Table Food?
Thicken The Puree
The first step towards the transition to table food is to thicken the baby’s pureed food. Add less water while pureeing, which helps to thicken the food. If you are using store-bought food, you can choose stage 2 food and add less water.
Thick food helps in better movement of tongue and muscles of the mouth. While providing thick food, provide water in between, thus making it easy for the baby to swallow it.
Show Them What To Do
Along with offering food with a thick texture, you should also show them what to do. You can make the baby sit in a high chair along with you while having food.
You can show them how you put the food in the mouth and chew it. This will naturally increase the baby’s curiosity.
Introduce Solid Food
You should be extra vigilant when you introduce solid food for the first time. Make the baby sit on a highchair before you introduce the food. Let the baby touch the food and explore it. Most babies put the food directly in the mouth.
If your baby only touches and plays with the food, you can take a small piece and show them what to do. You can even guide their hand and help them put it in the mouth.
While some babies chew and swallow it, others will spit it out. These are natural reactions, and there is nothing to worry about. For some babies, you should introduce food multiple times before they start chewing and swallowing it. Patience is the key while feeding table food to the baby.
Once the baby is comfortable with one variety of solid food, you can introduce other types of food like banana, bread, cheese and cooked vegetables.
What Are The Tips For Transitioning to Table Food?
- While introducing table food, always start slow. Introduce one food at a time. When they are used to that, you can introduce more variety.
- If the baby coughs and gags a lot while feeding on table food, the texture is difficult for them. Take a break and reintroduce the food in a more softer form. If the baby coughs continuously at every feed, you should consult a doctor.
- When you introduce table food for the first time, give them food that easily melts on the mouth like thin wafer style teething biscuit.
- If you are using commercially available table food like crackers, check for any allergic reaction in the baby.
- Stick shaped table foods are easier to grasp. If you are offering fruits or vegetables cut them into long stick like pieces so that the baby can pick it up easily.
- Very soft food like banana can be provided a light coating to make it easier to grasp. You can use crushed baby crackers as a coating.
- Once the baby is comfortable with table food, you can provide some puree as a dip to introduce baby to new taste.
- Check the baby’s mouth for any food in the side of cheeks. Some babies keep the food stuffed on the side and if you offer more they tend to choke.
- Always follow the baby’s cues while feeding. If the baby stops feeding and does not show interest in having more, do not force them.
What Type Of Table Food Can You Introduce?
The table food that you introduce should be steamed, soft and mushy to prevent choking hazards. You can start with a small size and gradually increase the size as the baby grows.
A few of the food items you can introduce are
- Steamed vegetables like carrot, peas, sweet potato and corn.
- Soft fruits like bananas and ripe avocados.
- Cooked fish, chicken and pasta.
- Hard boiled egg cut into pieces or strips of omlette.
- Porridge like oats.
- Baked salmon.
- Soft cheese.
Offering soft food makes it easy for them to chew it with their gums.
What Type Of Table Food Should You Avoid?
Not all food should be introduced as table food for the baby. You should avoid hard or large pieces of food that poses a risk of choking. This includes
- Vegetables like raw carrot, and fruits like uncooked apples.
- Nuts like peanuts and cashewnuts.
- Dried fruits like raisins, prunes and dates.
- Large chunks of meat like hot dogs.
- Round food like grapes and cherry tomatoes.
- Food of chewy texture like jelly beans and marshmallows.
For babies below one year, breastmilk is the main source of nutrition.
So when you transition the baby from pureed food to table food, you need not worry much about the quantity they consume.
Half of the food you offer will either be on the table or stuck on the baby’s face.
Introducing table food has more to do with teaching them how to hold food and put it in their mouth than counting on the nutrition.