Transitioning from Baby Food to Table Food

It is a big step in the transition from baby to toddler, giving up those jars of baby food for some healthy grown-up food. For some babies it will be a breeze, for others a challenge. Either way it can be a lot of fun for you and your little one. You’ll know from the baby foods your child liked what they are partial to. Start with some tried and true favorites to get the ball rolling. You may also find that something your baby didn’t care for in baby food form is a hit when it comes to the real thing.

Most pediatricians recommend that you begin to transition your baby from jarred (or homemade) baby food to table foods around 9 months. The goal is to have your baby mostly eating table foods rather than baby foods by the time they hit their first birthday. Talk to your pediatrician to find out what they recommend and what will be best for your child.

We are in the process of making this transition with our daughter. She’ll be 11 months old in a couple of days. At this point she really wants nothing to do with jarred baby food so most everything she gets is table food. She’s quite picky though so it has been a bit of a challenge.

Here are a few tips on “grown-up” foods that are great first table foods.

  • Fresh fruit. Peeled and cut up into small pieces fresh fruit makes a great first table food. With crispier fruits like apples and pears you will probably need to steam them a bit to make them a little easier for your child to handle. At this age the only fruit that is usually off limits are strawberries (most pediatricians recommend steering clear of strawberries until after their first birthday).
  • Vegetables. Steamed and cut up into small pieces vegetables are a big hit with a lot of kids. Some good things to try include mashed regular or sweet potatoes, sweet potato french fries just baked in the oven, steamed broccoli or green beans. This is where you may find some things that weren’t a big hit as purees are all of a sudden all the rage with your little one.
  • Lean meat. Some good lean meats to try are chicken and turkey. Really you can probably cut up a few pieces of whatever you are eating and let your little try it. You’ll want to make sure the pieces are pretty small as meat will be a lot harder to eat than soft fruits and vegetables.
  • Toast, waffles, pancakes, bagels, pasta, you name the carbohydrate. These will probably be big hits at first as the flavors won’t be too over powering.
  • Dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, dried cranberries, or dried berries.
  • Soup. You can get a pretty balanced meal in one bowl of soup if you choose a kind that includes noodles or rice, vegetables and meat.

Experiment with what works for your child. It is important to make sure your child is eating a healthy, balanced diet. Usually you can just let your child eat whatever the rest of the family is eating, as long as it is healthy.

Talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about foods you should steer clear of and what sort of time table they would recommend for your child.

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