Practical tips from one mom to another on how to move from baby food purees to table and finger foods.
Sometimes it feels like everything about raising a baby is hard! The books make it sound great, but then again no one read the book to my baby and they didn’t always do what the book said babies are supposed to do and when they are supposed to do it. Feeding was one of those things for us. I have three kids and none of them were as easy as the book laid it out!
I remember with my first, I was so excited to start solids. I couldn’t wait to start sharing my love of food with my little guy. I finally got to start giving him solid foods around 5 months. And he spit out every single bite. For an entire month. Once he decided to keep it in his mouth though, we were golden.
Then there was my daughter. Since, I now had a toddler I was dealing with I was dreading starting solid foods with her just because I was already so busy. She was very picky right from the start. We could never get her to take a pacifier or a bottle, no matter how long and hard we tried. A little after 6 months I finally started solids with her. She hated it. She wouldn’t eat it period. I tried for two whole months until I finally found that she needed some texture! Once we got a little texture going in her food instead of a straight puree she started eating like it was her job!
My third baby was again the opposite! I just assumed since the texture trick worked so well for my daughter, it would also work for him. WRONG! He prefers purees and we have really had to work with him to get him to learn to chew and mash and become acquainted with texture.
Between the three of them I have been through a little bit of everything and picked up a few pointers along the way. I try to introduce my kids to as many flavors and textures as possible from the beginning. If they don’t like it, don’t get discouraged! They are learning so many new things and studies have shown that it can take up to seven exposures to a new flavor for kids to develop a taste for it. I can totally sympathize because when you are in the middle of it, it is so, so hard, but your baby will learn to eat new foods, an array of flavors, and many different textures and there are some great things to help in that transition.
All three of my babies grew up eating Gerber foods and their introduction of their newest 3rd foods line could not have been at a more perfect time for my little guy! He has just turned 10 months and he really likes purees. I have been trying to introduce finger foods to him but he doesn’t quite know how to chew yet and ends up just spitting it all back out at me. In Gerber’s new 3rd foods they have a puree with soft mashable bits in it that promote baby learning to chew 1+ times. Introducing pureed foods with advanced textures at the Crawler milestone is highly recommended for children to explore and feel multiple textures within the mouth without having to manage numerous separate food components.
This is such a great way to transition from the traditional puree to table food with your baby and my little guy loved them! It was such a relief for him to gobble down a whole container of Sweet Potato Apple Carrot & Cinnamon food, eating every last bite I could scrape out and I had those proud mom moments watching him actually start to use his jaw and learning to chew rather than the norm, which is just spitting it out at me! It also comes in these 10 flavor combinations packed with fruits and veggies:
- Apple Blueberry
- Orchard Fruit Medley
- Apple Banana
- Banana Apple Strawberry
- Pear Apple Berry
- Island Fruit Blend
- Banana Apple Mango
- Mixed Carrots
- Corn & Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash & Potato
- Sweet Potato Apple Carrots & Cinnamon
There are a few other things I really love about the new Gerber 3rd foods. First it comes in a variety of wholesome flavors with fruit and veggie combos. I try to feed my little guy a variety and mostly fruits and vegetables at this stage so this is right on mark for me. Second, if I had designed it myself, it couldn’t be packaged more perfectly for me! It comes in sealed plastic tubs with snap tight lids in a 5 oz size (2 per package.) I love the container because it is super kid friendly, can easily be thrown in a diaper bag when we are on the go, and if we have leftovers we just snap on the lid and pop it in the fridge for later. 5 oz is the perfect portion for my little guy and usually exactly what he wants to eat at this stage for a meal.
Gerber 3rd foods are the perfect transition for crawlers between purees and table foods because of the right sized, soft pieces of fruit or veggies. Studies show that children who have not been exposed to “lumpy food” that require mashing and chewing before 10 months of age have experienced difficulties transitioning to more advanced foods. Once they master these lumpy foods you can move them easily over to finger foods.
I always love the finger food stage. I think it is because I love food so much I feel like I am finally getting to share with them the flavors and combinations I love. Once baby has mastered learning to move their jaw side to side and chew, it is on to introducing table foods along with their prepared foods. I like to continue with purees with soft bits along with the table food until they get pretty proficient at eating finger foods, both eating what is offered and feeding it to themselves.
I found it really intimidating, especially as a new mom, to know what was okay to give my baby and how it should be prepared. Now after having three kids, I am here to spread the news that the options are almost limitless! I love to eat healthy and veggies are a big part of the everyday menu at our house so it is very important to me to introduce lots of vegetables to my kids early and often. Below is a reference list I use of what items I give my kids. Always remember when you have questions about your child’s nutritional needs to consult with your child’s doctor first. Also, as a baby learns to eat, all foods offered should be very soft (can be easily mashed with your fingers) and offered in extremely small pieces so there will be no choking hazard.
You should always consult your baby’s pediatrician before introducing new foods to your baby. It is important that you avoid any suggested foods that may pose an allergy risk for your baby since all foods have the potential to be an allergen.
Vegetable Finger Food Options:
- Avocado- Very ripe and finely diced
- Carrots – well cooked and finely diced
- Corn- well cooked and cut off the cob
- Black beans- well cooked
- Young Peas- well cooked and finely diced, I use no salt added canned because of the extra soft consistency and ease
- Green Beans- well cooked and finely diced, I use no salt added canned because of the extra soft consistency and ease
- Sweet Potatoes- well cooked and finely diced
- Butternut squash-well cooked and finely diced
- Acorn Squash- well cooked and finely diced
- Yellow/Summer Squash- well cooked and finely diced
- Zucchini Squash- Well cooked and finely diced
- Pumpkin- well cooked and finely diced
- Tomatoes- well cooked, or very ripe and finely diced
- Asparagus- well cooked and finely diced
- Cauliflower- well cooked and finely diced
- Broccoli- well cooked and finely diced
- Chickpeas- well cooked and finely diced
- Lentils- well cooked
- Beets- well cooked and finely diced
- Turnips- well cooked and finely diced
- Parsnips- well cooked and finely diced
- Peppers- well cooked and finely diced
- Onions- well cooked and finely diced
- Potatoes- well cooked and finely diced
- Eggplant- well cooked and finely diced
Gerber 3rd Foods Lil Bits Recipes help babies learn to chew and ease the transition to table food.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Gerber. The opinions and text are all mine.