Up until your baby is about 6 months old, baby formula or breast milk is all she needs in her diet to give her all the essential vitamins and nutrients that she needs to grow, according to Colorado State University. At around 6 months, she may transition to pureed baby foods–delicious, mushy peas and carrots and bananas that are unrecognizable in their baby-safe form. You may start trying to feed table foods to baby as early as 8 or 9 months old, but by the time your baby grows into a toddler, she’ll definitely be ready for a taste of what’s on your plate. She may be a little hesitant to explore these new tastes and textures at first, but there are things you can do to help your toddler transition to table food.
Make Sure It’s Safe
As your toddler is getting used to table foods, with new textures and flavors, take some time to make sure the food is safe for your toddler to eat. Make sure it’s cut into very small, bite-sized pieces so that your child won’t choke, says the Nemours Foundation. Offer foods that are easy to chew or mash up, especially if your toddler hasn’t gotten many or all of her teeth. Very ripe bananas, cottage cheese and canned fruits and veggies can be safe choices, says Nemours. They also suggest avoiding anything hard or that could easily choke a toddler, like raw fruits and veggies, hard cheeses, raisins, whole grapes and whole hot dogs.
Offer Baby Variety
Your toddler may turn her nose up at some new foods when she first tries them, but don’t let that keep you from trying lots of different foods. Offer her a variety of different flavors and textures to try, and see what her palate is like. If she doesn’t like it, try offering it again in a few weeks–but you don’t have to push the issue, says Nemours. She’s a fast-growing toddler with ever-developing likes and dislikes, so what she once snubbed she may devour as she becomes a more experienced eater.
Lots of kids like ice cream, cake, pudding and other sweets. Your toddler probably will too–but that doesn’t mean that you should introduce them, says Nemours. A healthy lifestyle starts very early, so introduce her to healthy foods and start healthy habits that will last and benefit her a lifetime. For something sweet that she’ll enjoy and that’s healthy, stick to fruits that are safe for her nibble.
Watch Out for Allergies
Introduce new foods slowly and one at a time to make sure that if your child has a food allergy, you’ll be easily able to figure out what she’s allergic to. But make sure that you don’t feed her things that are common food allergens, including nuts and peanut butter, honey, oranges and other citrus fruits, any seafood, wheat, soy products or eggs, says BabyCenter. Common signs of food allergies include hives (itchy red bumps on the skin), eyes that water, a nose that runs or problems with breathing, notes BabyCenter.