From Baby Food to Table Food – Transition Your Baby from Eating Baby Food to Eating Table Food
You may be wondering if your baby is ready to make the transition to “table foods” but you’re not sure how to manage the transition. You think it’s time to transition your baby from baby food purées to more “table foods” however, you are not sure how to go about it. Try to relax, transitioning to table foods is relatively easy and is all about physical maturity, fun and a bit of a mess too.
Did you know that many babies do not even eat baby food purees? It is true, many babies are fed “table foods” right from the beginning of solid/weaning food introduction. This most often occurs when the parents have decided to do a baby-led weaning approach to introducing solid foods.
What is Table Food anyway?
There is no magical mystery surrounding table food yet many parents are unsure of “table food” and how to go about introducing it and preparing it. Here’s the good news about table foods for baby, table food is any food that your baby is already eating only the food has not been puréed. Table food may also be any foods that are age appropriate for your baby that the whole family eats; foods that again, have not been puréed.
How old should your baby be to make the switch to table food from baby food purées?
There is no set in stone, mandatory age requirement for starting your baby on table foods. You should follow your baby’s cues and pay attention to baby’s ability to gum and mash foods.
One important part of going from baby food purées to table foods is the ability for baby to be able to self-feed and pick up food with his fingers. A good pincher grasp is needed. Along with a good pincher grasp, your baby needs to be adept at mashing and gumming foods.
A few signs that your baby may be ready for table food:
- Doesn’t want to be spoon fed
- Turns his head or even spits out those thin purees at mealtimes
- Grabs at the spoon and tries to feed himself
- Mashes lumps and textures easily
- Pincher grasp is developed and baby can maneuver foods easily to his/her mouth
- 8 months of age or older – some babies begin their solid food journey with “table” foods from the start a la Baby Led Weaning
How Can my Baby Eat Table Food if She Does Not Have Teeth?
Babies do not chew with their teeth, they mash foods with their gums.
Molars are the teeth that we use to chew our foods with. Most babies will not begin to cut molars until around 10-16 months or older. The last set of molars to come in typically occurs around age 2 years old.
Most children have all 20 baby teeth by the age of two-and-a-half to three years. The permanent teeth continue to develop within the jaw. Baby teeth erupt in pairs on the right and left of the mouth, alternating between the lower and upper jaws, and proceeding from front to back.
Can my Baby eat Table Food made from the Family Dinner?
By all means, serve your baby foods straight from your dinner table. Ensure that those foods are easily gummed and mashed. Dice the foods into small manageable bits and pieces. Try pinching the food you wish to offer between your thumb and forefinger or try to mash and dissolve the food in your mouth without chewing or biting down; swirl the food around your mouth.
Small bits of chicken, soft dices of sweet potatoes, a spoonful of mashed potato and carrots are good examples of “table foods” for your baby.
Also, be aware that you should not salt or overly spice your table foods in a manner that would not be healthy for your baby. If needed, take out your baby’s portions prior to seasoning.