Kids & Company Blog

Transition Time!

Infants are used to being fed by others and are used to the same basic texture of mushy, pureed baby foods. While many parents are concerned over the transition from diapers to toilets, a big transition in a baby’s life is the transition from baby food to adult food and then to self-feeding - this is as important and should be as thought out as toileting! 

Up until your child is nine months old they most likely aren’t ready for finger foods and will be eating baby food, but around that age most children will want to become more involved with what they eat. Yes, there will be food all over your floor at first once they begin feeding themselves. But it’s important to keep in mind that they will only learn, like anyone, through practice and eventually get most and all of the food in their mouth! The signs that your child is ready for this transition are that they can sit without your assistance, want to try and feed themselves, can pick up objects by gripping them between their thumb and other fingers, and can mash food with their gums. If you are seeing these signs in your child then it is probably a good time to try out finger foods!

To make it easy for them to make the transition you should start small…literally. Don’t give them pieces of food that they can’t swallow whole, to ensure they won’t choke as they can simply mash it with their gums a bit before swallowing. Also, ease them into it by attempting a few pieces of a finger food during snack time at first and not for a full meal. If they show signs of wanting more after the first few pieces then by all means give them more until they seem full and are no longer interested in eating!

It is important to remember that in their whole existence there has only been one texture that they have known as food, so it could take a while for them to warm up to different types of food. Just keep trying and don’t get frustrated if they are not responding in the way you’d hoped. Remember that we eat first with all five of our senses; touching, listening, smelling and thoughtfully tasting our food. The foods you’ll want to give will be very soft like very well cooked and ground meats or small cubes of tofu. Some other foods you can try include: scrambled eggs, cooked and chopped pieces of broccoli, carrots, peas, beets and butternut squash, cooked, cut up pasta and noodles, rice, couscous, any grain, pieces of toast and chopped up pieces of fruit. Don’t be afraid to let your little one try the food you are eating! Your blender and food processor will be your go to for texture modification.  Most importantly, do not give your child any food that could be a choking hazard or something that you have not tried before and are concerned could be a potential allergen food.

Now you’re prepared to help your child take on one of their first, and definitely not their last, transition!

Fun facts:

  1. Only offer one new food at a time so as to not overwhelm them. This way it will also be easier to find the source of a reaction if there is one!
  2. Try offering a new food when it is embedded in familiar foods to make your child more likely to grapple with the new flavour and texture!
  3. A more subtle way to know that your baby is hungry than waiting for them to cry is that when they see food they kick their legs, flails their arms, and/or open their mouth!
  4. Eating time is a great opportunity for learning! Talk to your child about what they are eating, and the utensils they’re using!
  5. If you try giving your child a new food and they don't like it, don’t make a big deal out of it. It is important they know that they have control over what they want to eat. 

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Chef Lisa Ruscica

Chief Food Ambassador

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