If your baby is loving baby food and seems ready to join in on family meals, you might have some questions about how to get started. It’s tricky to know exactly when babies can eat regular food, and the transition can be a little overwhelming.
Here’s a quick guide with our best tips for transitioning older babies away from pureed food to a more complex diet. These tips will help you decide when your baby can eat table food, and how to incorporate those foods without stress.
Transitioning from baby food to table food
“Table food” generally refers to food that comes from your kitchen, rather than out of a jar or pouch. This food is more solid in texture than baby food purees. However, table food for your baby should still be soft enough to easily mash.
The easiest type of table food to introduce to your child when transitioning from baby food to table food is finger food. These foods don’t require utensils, and they are easy to eat. Finger foods also help babies practice their pincer grasp and promote self-feeding.
Some examples of finger foods to try with your baby are:
- Avocado slices
- Smashed blueberries
- Sweet potato
- Cooked veggies like carrots, sweet potato or squash
Keep safety in mind when babies start eating regular food
To prevent choking, it’s important to take caution when it comes to the types of food you serve and how to safely cut those foods.
Serve foods that are soft, can easily be gummed, or that melt in the mouth. Avoid serving hazardous foods such as crunchy raw fruits and veggies, nuts, popcorn, raisins, and hard candy. Also be sure that foods are cut so their small enough to prevent choking.
Read a more extensive safety guide to learn more about how to prepare foods safely for your baby.
When can babies eat table food?
Most babies are ready to transition from baby food to table food by the time they are eight or nine months old. However, some babies make the change earlier or later. There really isn’t a concrete age milestone for when babies should start eating table food. Instead, there are developmental milestones that indicate when babies are ready to try table food.
Signs that your baby is ready to eat table food include:
- Can sit up in high chair unassisted
- Can bring food to his or her mouth
- Shows interest in other people’s food
- Shows less interest in being spoon-fed
What about teeth?
You might be wondering how your baby can chew solid food without teeth. Don’t worry! It’s not necessary to base when babies can eat table food on whether or not they have teeth. As long as you serve food that is on the softer side, your baby can mash it with his or her gums.
Healthy habits start now!
Transitioning from baby food to table food is a great time to promote healthy eating with your child. Although this is a time for your baby to explore food, it’s important to offer a variety of healthy foods. Allowing your baby to touch, taste, and even play with food (even if he or she doesn’t eat it) is one of the best picky eater tips even early on.
Feed a baby what is on your plate
Feeding your baby regular food doesn’t require extra time in the kitchen preparing special food. Instead, just feed your baby what you have on your plate (being sure to follow the right safety measures). Not only is this easier on you, but it allows your child to participate in family meals. In addition, it’s important for your baby to see his or her parents modeling healthy food choices.
Simply modify the food on your plate for your baby at meal time. As your child grows older, you can transition the way you modify these foods into healthy preschool meals.
Above all, stay patient when you’re ready to start feeding your baby regular food
Don’t be surprised if most of your baby’s food ends up on the floor the first few (or many) times you offer finger food. Remember, many children need several exposures to a new food before they accept them. This is a time for exploration and learning!
Remember to have fun no matter how messy (literally) the transition from baby food to table food may be!
Looking for an easy way to feed your kids nutritious meals? Yumble will help take the stress out of meal planning, even if you have a picky eater. Simply pick the plan that works best for your family, choose your weekly meals, and Yumble will take care of the rest! No cooking required!