VAGUE WEANING ADVICE
My son has one of the most well-known pediatricians in our town. This pediatrician is one of the best because he has been around for a long time. He was my husband’s pediatrician, in fact.
When my son turned 6 months, I was given the green light to start solid, puréed foods. The instructions were detailed and I followed everything by the book. With every visit back to the pediatrician, I would get baby meal instructions that were always more vague. I wanted detailed instructions and my pediatrician would say something like, “try Polenta with some meat and tomato sauce.” I asked, “How do I prepare the meat? Does it have to be smooth? Can it be in little pieces?” He answered calmly, “Whatever you want.”
What do you mean ‘whatever I want’? I want someone to tell me what to do because I am a new mom and I don’t really trust my instincts.
MY ATTEMPT AT INTRODUCING TEXTURED FOODS
I asked a few mommy friends about their experience and I had some mixed responses. I tried everything that was suggested to me and held my breath every time I introduced a new food or new texture to my baby. Here are a few of things I tried in hopes my baby would transition from puréed foods to more textured foods:
- I bought a food nibbler. I put pieces of apple in the net so my baby could practise chewing. This way, you don’t have to worry about the baby choking on hard pieces of apple.
3. I peeled the skin and membranes off of an orange and fed him little bits of orange slices.
4. I started making a coarse version of his vegetable purée.
5. I noticed he was interested in the chicken I was eating, so I cut up some tiny, tiny pieces and fed them to him.
The idea here was to get him to practise chewing and learn how to manage chunks of food in his mouth.
With the pieces of oranges and chicken, at least a quarter of them ended up on the floor, the tray and the high chair. Huge mess. A few times I saw him gag and my heart would stop. I wondered if I would have to do that dreaded maneuver to unblock his airways. In the end, he always got over it and just continued eating again.
THE ANSWER TO MY TEXTURED FOOD PROBLEMS
I had no idea if I was doing the right thing and also felt like I wasn’t making any progress. My baby was eating tiny pieces of food that you could barely classify as textured and I was scared to give him anything beyond that. Then, I stumbled upon a blog post written by a pediatric dietician titled, “Baby Stuck on Purées? How to move to Textured Food.” I was excited to see what she had to say!
After having read her blog post, I felt more sure of what I was doing and happy that my motherly instincts were on the right track: Natalia, the pediatric dietician, suggests:
- Start replacing the puréed food with mashed food.
- Once baby shows signs that he can handle the mashed food, introduce very soft pieces of food like cooked veggies and soft fruit.
- Once baby has no problem eating soft food, offer finger foods or pieces of food that are big enough for them to grab.
Natalia explains how to recognize the signs babies make to let us know they are ready to try new foods or textured foods. She addresses concerns and also suggests eight different finger foods you can try with your baby, which is what I will be trying out this week.
My son’s pediatrician is one of the best for another reason: letting me learn to be a mother. In retrospect, he was right to give me leeway when it came to weaning my baby. If I had been given detailed instructions every step of the way, I probably wouldn’t have learned anything because I would have paid more attention to the written instructions than to my own baby.
*This post contains some affiliate links. All opinions are my own.