How did this happen? My sweet baby number 3, Harper, is walking, talking, and eating real human food. What?! Wasn't it just not that long ago when I announced I was pregnant here on the blog? Or shared our silly gender reveal video? How is she toddling around already? I thought we had a deal, Harper- you'd stay teeny tiny forever!
Well, she's growing up, and with that comes a fun new era for her- food! How do you know when it's time to move on from baby food to table food? It's not as complicated as you might think, and after 3 babies I've learned a thing or two, so here's a few handy tips I put together for all of you parents out there.
Before we dive into the world of real food, ask yourself a few questions. Is my baby ready for table foods? Can he/she sit up unassisted? Are they showing interest in other people's food? Are they over the age of 8 months old? Are they crawling and pulling themselves up? Do they try to feed themselves? If you answered yes to these questions, there's a good chance your baby is ready to try some real foods. Keep in mind, every baby is different though, so use your best parental judgment and watch for the cues.
The most important thing to pay attention to is the texture of the food your baby is eating. In the beginning stages of transitioning from breast milk or formula to baby food purees, the food was completely liquefied and smooth. Next, you'll want to introduce some more lumpy, chunky food with soft bits for your baby to master the mashing and chewing motion with their mouths. Gerber 3rd Food Lil' Bits are perfect for this stage of feeding and were created specifically for this. They contain soft pieces of cooked fruits and veggies to help teach your baby to chew their food and help explore new tastes and textures. That mashing and chewing motion is a crucial milestone for your child's development! Gerber 3rd Food Lil' Bits offer gradual texture progression and help transition from baby food to table foods. Plus, Gerber baby food must live up to over 100 quality checks because Gerber has always believed that little ones deserve high standards.
Set a good example. Gather around the dinner table every night as a family, or as often as possible. I know work schedules get in the way some nights, but your baby learns by your example. If he sees you and his siblings sitting at the table together eating dinner, he's going to want to copy you, so set a good example and try to sit down together at the same time every night. Babies love routine!
Make good food choices. Let your baby see you eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, etc- things you want your baby eating too. If he or she sees mommy, daddy, and everyone else eating healthy foods, they will be more likely to go for the same types of healthy foods themselves.
Let them be independent. Let your little one try to feed him/herself. I know it can be tempting to try to spoon the food into their mouths forever and forgo the mess, but try to ease up. Get some bowls that suction to the high chair tray or table so baby can't toss it onto the floor, and give him a spoon! Let him try to figure out this whole feeding thing. Yes, a mess is going to happen, but it can be cleaned up. Eventually, more food will end up in your baby's mouth than it does on the floor.
Practice patience. Have some patience, and try to make feeding time fun. This messy stage won't last forever, and before you know it, your baby will be a prim and proper little gentleman or lady who can sit at the big table and eat with some table manners. They are only a baby/toddler for so long though- let go a little and let them figure it out. Trust me, there will come a day when you miss that messy face!
Don't panic. If your baby gags or chokes, stay calm. More often than not they are not choking, and are simply gagging on their food. Sometimes it's just the texture that throws them off, or maybe there is too much food in their mouth, but this is a normal reaction. Remain calm, and let your baby try to move the food around in his mouth.
Gerber 3rd Food Lil' Bits come in 10 delicious flavors that your baby is sure to enjoy!
- 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
How did she get so big so fast?
Harper loves them all, but her favorites are definitely Apple Blueberry and Sweet Potato Apple Carrots and Cinnamon.
Do you feel confident in making the transition to table foods? I hope these tips come in handy for you and your little one. Learn more about Gerber 3rd Food Lil' Bits by checking them out here. Plus, you can leave a comment below to be entered to win $100 from Gerber!
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.