“I tried my baby with baby foods at 6 months, it didn’t go well, so I waited another month.”- I sometimes hear this from parents at my first meeting with them and their child. And more often than not, the child is now 18 months or older and has a fully established feeding challenge.
It is widely known fact that babies are not introduced to solids until they are 4-6 months of age. This is to protect their immature digest system and to reduce the onset of food allergies which is on the rise in the US. What has not been explained, and instructed, is the developmental appropriateness. Because solids are introduced later, the progression through textures, should actually be condensed, and faster. For example, when a baby starts thin baby foods at 6 months, she or he should progress to thicker consistencies by 8 months while munching on hard teethers or teething cookies under adult supervision. Fork mashed textures at 9-10 months while munching and chewing crunchy meltables such as veggie puffs and cheerios. By 12 months, the child is managing many textures and consistencies. If you introduce baby foods at 6 months, and your child did not take it well, try consistently every 3-4 days- don’t allow “breaks” longer than 4 days! Help your baby practice eating while his or her main nutrition can still be breast milk and/or formula.