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Oct 6, 2010 08:32 AM

HELP / IDEAS / ADVICE for feeding a baby!

My son is not quite 10 months old and he's been eating the usual purees (homemade), of which were steamed (not roasted, which I know would provide a lot more flavor), certain mashed produce with some texture (banana, avocado, egg yolk, potatoes), tiny pasta, cheerios, shredded cheese, yogurt, oatmeal.

I feel somewhat stuck in what to feed him, or how, I'm not sure if it's because things are so open it's overwhelming or it's my first baby and I don't want to do anything wrong/harmful. I know there is common sense but I'd love to know what others have done.

How did you do it?
How much and how often?
How did you start finger foods?
What did you use?
How did you prepare it?
How did you transition baby into eating the family meal like everyone else?

I'm really truly excited to be feeding him, and about what I can/could do, I just feel somewhat lost in it.

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  1. Yeah, I have an 8 1/2 month old daughter right now. I also have two older kids. There are not any foods that are off-limits except honey and obviously stuff like raw fish. Luckily we do not have any food allergies, so that's not much of a worry.

    She is still breastfeeding and probably will until age 2, so nutrition really isn't my major concern. I do try to introduce her to lots of flavors and textures. She eats what we eat when it's feasible. She even likes strong flavors like mustard, pepper, etc.

    Then I feed her in her high chair things like: scrambled eggs (no allergies), cubed chicken, cooked carrots, string cheese bits, banana cubes, cooked vegetables, whole wheat bread or pasta.

    So we basically are very relaxed on food rules. My pediatrician said it is fine though- even good.

    1. There are lots of good books about feeding babies. One that I liked (even though it has a strong vegetarian bias) is "Super Natural Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron. Big chunks of it are online here:

      If your little one has enough chewing power to eat cheerios and cheese, there are lots of options! I agree with Becca Porter that at this stage kids can usually eat whatever the family is eating, as long as it's relatively soft, on the mild side (not very spicy, sugary, salty, etc. -- strong flavors can be fine), and of course bite-sized. In fact, since the primary goal isn't nutrition, it's often easier than feeding pickier older kids.

      At this age, our son liked to eat by himself -- we'd spread the food out on the tray of his booster seat (we never used a high chair) and he would grab it with his hands and eat it. His favorites were pasta, ground turkey, roasted veggies, and little tofu cubes. Freeze-dried fruits were a popular snack.

      When he was a little older and less messy, we'd leave the tray off and pull the booster seat all the way up to the table.

      My one piece of advice from experience is: get rid of the dining room rug! After many fruitless hours spent trying to clean it, we ended up throwing ours away and never replacing it. Even after we trained the kid not to throw food on purpose (by turning him away from the table in his booster seat for a thirty-second time-out) there was often a big mess.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pia

        I used Super Baby Food, too. The organization is a little crazy but i liked the chapters where she listed foods and when it was OK for babies to eat them (as in, their digestive systems are ready). I also liked her suggestions for things to add to oatmeal and other porridges to up the nutrition and protein content.

        One thing I didn't like about the book is the chapter on meat...she's vegetarian, and takes a dubious view of giving meat to babies. I'm fine with that but I think she should have gotten someone who likes meat to write that chapter....All of the recipes involve hamburger - bleh! If you want to do beef in a puree, get some nice stew meat or chuck roast, cook it until very soft and either puree with some broth and vegetables or just cut it up very fine so your child can "gum it." I did the same thing with chicken. With fish, I baked it and smashed it with a fork (making sure there were no bones).

        1. re: Pia

          I had been re-checking "Super Foods" out from the library for the last several months and finally gave in and purchased a copy. It's a great book that I feel like will have use over quite a period of time (even after baby, just with how informative it is about fruits/vegetables.)

          I sort of felt the same as Gimlis about the meat. I understand being vegetarian and it is a wonderful way of life for some people, but I would have loved a bit more.. well, help in that area.

        2. right around 11 months I started feeding my daughter whatever we were eating, in small pieces. Baby food was completely done. It was no "transition"; we just did it! (She's 17 now)

          1. I breastfed, too, until my son was about 10 months old (until he got top and bottom teeth . . . don't ask!).

            Once the basic foods were introduced (rice, bananas, apples, etc. - I don't even remember the order!), he ate essentially what we ate. I'd add, though, that in addition to honey, nuts, peanut butter and hot dogs were off limits - because of risk of choking, rather than the food itself. (a peanut butter pancake would be OK, but not a PB sandwich.)

            In fact, when he was not quite a year old, I used to take him to the garden with me - I'd break off chunks of broccoli for him to gnaw on, or pull up a carrot, hose it off, and hand it to him. He used to fish the lemon wedge out of my glass of iced tea and eat it.

            The following year - at almost 2 - we took him cherry picking, and he did just fine figuring out how to reach the low-hanging branches (on the dwarf trees), shove the cherries in his mouth, and spit out the seeds.

            He's 22 now, 6'3" tall, healthy as a horse, no food allergies or other food issues - babies are pretty idiot-proof - obviously. ;-)

            4 Replies
            1. re: Krislady

              I don't need to ask! I have found though that the irrepressible high-pitched scream that results from such "incidents" is usually a pretty good deterrent for nursing babies. Most learn quickly thankfully!

              1. re: Becca Porter

                Lucky you - mine learned when I asked his father to "please bring me a cup of milk" one morning - and that, as they say, was that!

              2. re: Krislady

                We skipped the baby food and puree step and went straight to suitable foods off of our plate. I would mash up larger bits but he ate what we ate with the obvious exceptions like raw meats and seafoods.

                Unless there developmental (problems with swallowing or chewing) or allergy issues, children don't need "different" food from adults. It goes without saying that one needs to be aware of choking and such but there is no reason your kiddo can't eat the same thing you are eating.

                Child of Mine:Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellen Slatterly is an excellent book. In fact, she makes a very good case for not custom-cooking for children and how preparing "special" meals contributes to "picky-ness" later on.

                Check out the book. Seriously, it changed me thinking about how kids eat and what they can/should eat. I, like many, many Americans, was brainwashed into thinking young children need to eat specially prepared or purchased foods.

              3. i have a 6 year old son.

                the best single piece of advice i ever gave myself was before he was born; i said, i'm raising him like my 2nd child"

                there are few foods that you need to avoid, as been pointed out elsewhere in this thread. but remember that most of the older ones of us here were probably fed all those things as children, so be aware, but you don't have to go all taliban on yourself or your child.

                keep trying things. even the same thing again and again. a young child might taste something a dozen times before they get it. and then they like it.

                his first word was popcorn
                once my son could pick up food on his own he didn't really want to be fed by us anymore, for the most part. so that was it, he told us when to transition.

                1 Reply
                1. re: thew

                  I absolutely love that statement. Not that I could follow it to a T, but the sentiment behind it is terrific.

                  My son loves to feed himself at this point, but is still willing to take our help just so it makes it to his mouth quicker. Sort of a "why yes, I am quite hungry, I suppose I will take that spoonful while playing with this piece of chicken before actually getting it into my mouth."