Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chew, Baby, Chew!

Got a call today from one of my closest friends... "Help! My 15 month DD won't want to eat solids. She will only take porridge... anything more solid, she will spit them out"

Reminds me of a cousin's DD who still have mashed food... rejecting solids, except for crisps... she's 27 months old.

Well, I never thought this being worthy for sharing but since this is not the first time I get asked advise for this, I thought it might be interesting to do a post on.

My little Arthur started solid at 6 months. Well, like many, starting on solids means starting with cereal, mash and the like.

Slowly progressing, at about 8 months, he started on porridge (aka congee). Plain porridge... later with pumpkin.. later with potato... later with onions... later with a bit of everything...

Anyway, Arthur started taking rice just before he reached one. Chewing them, though I doubt they are chewed as fine as adults do... main thing is, he chews!... something I learned not many toddlers his age does.

Getting Arthur to chew takes training and practice. No force... just training with potatoes.

How? Ever since Arthur started on solids, unlike many, I am not into pureeing the food. So, I finely chopped/diced whatever goes into the porridge and give them to him as is.

When he reached 8 months, I started dicing the potatoes into tiny cubes (about 2mm sides) and boiling them til they are soft enough to be mashed with our tongues before giving it to him. Mind you, he is toothless then. Arthur only started teething at 15 months... so, it is gums he was using to mash the food.

Of course, it did not start straightaway. That's why we need to cut them into really, really small cubes in the beginning as all they ever want to do is to swallow the food right away. Having anything bigger or harder might result in choking.

Just keep doing it and sooner or later, you will notice that they are beginning to chew on them. At this stage, increase the size of the potato cubes by a little, perhaps, by another 1mm... and so on.. and so on... by almost 1 year old, Arthur was chewing on potato cubes of more than 1cm on each side and they didn't need to be as soft as before. Then again, please remember that every tot is different, so, only make it harder when you are confident that he will chew it. Otherwise, ensure the potatoes are well cooked enough that you can mash it with your bare tongue before giving it to them.

Teaching little tots to chew is important. It is important to help them progress to more solid food like rice and other things. At almost 19 months now, Arthur can take in big pieces of vegetables or fruits (he's not into meat, though). If you do not already know, chewing also exercises our little ones jaw muscles, aiding them in their speeches.


Sweetiepie said...

Both my daughters love solid food.My elder daughter hates I have to give her congee as early as 4-5 months..I guess your friend's child must still in breastfeed.Maybe her toddler prefer food that can be plain rice.I didn't chewing at early stage is good for jaw muscles.Good post.:)

allthingspurple said...

Lucky for me , my 2 kids love chewing as babies. Ashley was chomping and tearing at pizza slices at 10 months old and mashing them with her gums, and chewing off bits off apples cos she doesnt like anything mushy like purees or evenly chopped up stuff.

But thats good advice about chopping them real small for those non chewer.

Jess said...

Hi sweetiepie and all things purple... thanks so much. Your comments made my day ;)

Peridot&Sapphire said...

my girl is abit weird... she doesn't like to hew when comes to main meal as she just swallow everything and we tried to give her vege and rice she will spits out and refuse to take them. She has almost full set of teeth but only use to chew fruits, crackers and crispy food. Maybe it's her laziness to learn chewing on rice...