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Feeding Your Baby in the First Year: The How & When of Food Textures

Parent question: "When should I start solids?"

Parent question: "How & when do I increase the texture?"

From 6 to 12 months your baby will begin to accept more solid foods and start to learn to feed him/herself. It is very exciting when your child starts to show interest in what you are eating. Feeding is a developmental process that babies follow at their own pace. It’s more important to consider your child’s developmental readiness rather than offering textures based on his/her age. This especially applies to children with developmental delays and medical issues which may impact their readiness. Here are some guidelines to help you navigate your way down the path of food textures.

Setting the Stage: 0-4 months

In the months leading up to introducing solid foods, encourage your baby to explore different textures and sensations with his/her mouth. Mouthing or oral stimulation with toys, hands, teethers, and mouth brushes helps to pave the way toward solid...

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Help! My Child Won't Self-Feed!

 Parents often ask me for advice about how to encourage their child to self-feed.

Common questions include:

• Should I force her to feed herself?
• Should I let him go hungry, so he starts self-feeding?
• Should I introduce utensils or let him use his hands?
• What if she doesn’t eat enough?

The answers are no, no, yes and worry-not.

Babies should be provided with opportunities to self-feed as early as possible. Babies and children that are allowed independence and control of their eating tend to be happier and more adventurous eaters. They are also better at regulating their hunger and satiety cues.

Self-feeding is a developmental process. It can start by simply allowing your baby to hold their own bottle or your breast. Some babies initiate this themselves; others need gentle encouragement. Children with developmental delays or a disability may need extra support to become involved in their feeding times. As soon as solid food is introduced, babies...

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