Author Topic: Spoon Refusal and Finger Food Tips  (Read 15747 times)

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Offline tylersmommy

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Spoon Refusal and Finger Food Tips
« on: August 24, 2006, 19:11:08 pm »
Once most babies get the hang of eating solids, a strange thing often happens: they suddenly refuse to eat food from a spoon. It usually happens sometime between 9-12 months of age, although it can happen earlier or later, depending on when solids were introduced. Sometimes teething or illness is to blame, and baby’s eating habits will return to normal once his discomfort is gone. If not, your baby may be trying to tell you that he's ready to try finger foods and start eating independently.

The very thought of finger foods after months of smooth purees sends many parents into a panic. What if he chokes? How will I know if he’s eating enough? It’s okay to be nervous as you embark on this new eating adventure…just start slowly.

Remember that babies don’t chew until they’ve gotten molars, which won’t happen for many more months. They use their gums and tongues to mash food around in their mouths, so it’s best to stick with soft foods or ones that dissolve. Toast or Cheerios are good starter foods. You can even soak one in water for a few seconds before giving it to your baby to soften it up until he gets used to the new texture.

Once you’re both comfortable and ready to move on, you can start experimenting with all different kinds of finger foods. Keep in mind that it may take your baby some time to learn how to pick up a piece of food and get it into his mouth. In the meantime, you can help him learn by keeping a few pieces of finger food on his high chair tray and feeding him with your fingers. Feed him using the food on his tray so he can see the process of picking it up and putting it into his mouth. Let him pick them up himself and try eating…he might even be occupied enough for you to get in a few spoonfuls of puree! Eventually, he will get the hang of it, and you can even make entire healthy meals out of finger foods. If you’ve gotten used to measuring how much food he eats, it will become difficult now. If it seems like he isn’t eating as much, it’s because it takes far less finger food to fill him up. Think about it…purees are mostly water, whereas finger foods are just food. It will take a lot less quantity-wise to satiate him. Your best bet is to keep an eye on his weight gain (which will probably start to slow down anyway as he approaches his first birthday) and his bottle/nursing habits.

Below are some ideas for finger foods. Even if you don’t make your own baby food, it’s very easy to cut up some fruits or veggies, steam them until soft, and freeze for later. Remember to always offer soft foods or ones that dissolve…a good test is to put it in your own mouth and try to mash it against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. If you can’t, the food is probably not appropriate. Some babies can learn to take bites, but if you aren’t ready for that yet, your best bet is to give chunks that are about the size of your thumbnail. Slippery foods can be coated in dry infant cereal, crushed Cheerios, or wheat germ to help your baby pick them up. Mesh feeding bags are also good for new self-feeders.
-Soft pieces of peeled, soft fruit
-Soft pieces of cooked, diced veggies
-Raw grated carrot
-Tofu chunks
-Toast bits
-Soft beans
-Soft cooked peas smashed slightly with a fork
-Cheerios or cereal
-Scrambled egg yolk bits
-Soft cheese (like string cheese) cut into bits
-Grated cheese
-Lumps of cottage cheese
-Well-cooked pasta pieces
-Egg yolk French toast/eggy bread, cut into pieces
-Pancakes or waffles, cut into pieces
-Sandwiches squished down and cut into bits
-Cereal bars (like Nutrigrain)
-Mashed potatoes
-Rice cake pieces
-Soft bits of chicken, turkey, or ground beef
You can offer small bits of just about anything you eat if it’s healthy, age-appropriate, and passes the “mash test!”
Mommy to Tyler, 12/30/03 and Mackenzie, 10/17/06
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