Take the 2-minute tour ×
Parenting Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for parents, grandparents, nannies and others with a parenting role. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My 10 month old doesn't seem to have any problem trying new flavors. However, he has become extremely picky about trying any food that has texture (i.e. any foods that aren't pureed completely smooth). He does eat a variety of baby cereals, so I suspect that the issue may be related to foods that combine multiple textures.

Anything that contains chunks, whether it is bits of cooked carrots, slivers of strawberries, or small bits of pasta gives us the same results: he'll eat the first bite, but immediately look at us suspiciously. The second bite he'll make a face, and then spit it out, and then he'll refuse to eat any more until we switch to a different food.

The notable exception appears to be foods he can grasp in his fist, such as pieces of toast, graham crackers, pancakes, or breaded chicken nuggets/tenders. All of these he'll eat quite happily. However, our options for fist-sized foods are limited because we are concerned with choking hazards.

How can I help get him comfortable with eating foods that have a variety of textures?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Babycenter offers this advice:

Some babies take a while to get used to the texture of solid foods, and up until age 1 that's normal, says pediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann [...]

Keep in mind that it is normal for babies to balk the first time — or the first many times — they experience food other than breast milk, formula, or liquidy purees. That's why it's important to keep offering different foods to babies who are developmentally ready — especially healthy ones like vegetables.

"If your child doesn't like it, introduce it another dozen times," says Altmann. "It may take that long."

For a first finger food, Altmann recommends puffed rice cereal that melts easily in your baby's mouth. Or steam his favorite vegetable until it's extremely soft and cut it into small pieces. Or offer soft cooked peas and little pieces of bread.

Textures take getting used to, just like tastes. "Kids often don't like the texture of avocado but are won over by the taste," Altmann says.

If your baby is sensitive to the textures of finger foods, let him experience different textures in his play — experiment with feathers, a bumpy ball, or cooked noodles, says Altmann. Getting used to new sensations at playtime might make him more open to unfamiliar food textures.

Babycenter also suggests introducing more finger foods to his diet, such as:

  • O-shaped toasted oat cereal or other low-sugar cereal
  • Lightly toasted bread or bagels (spread with vegetable puree for extra vitamins)
  • Small chunks of banana or other very ripe peeled and pitted fruit, like mango, plum, pear, peach, cantaloupe, or seedless watermelon
  • Small cubes of tofu
  • Well-cooked pasta spirals, cut into pieces
  • Very small chunks of cheese
  • Chopped hard-boiled egg
  • Individual raisins, cut-up dried apricots, or mashed stewed prunes
  • Small pieces of well-cooked vegetables, like carrots, peas, zucchini, potato, or sweet potato
  • Small well-cooked broccoli or cauliflower "trees"
  • Pea-size pieces of cooked chicken or other soft meat
  • Rice cakes or crackers broken into small pieces

This is apparently not an uncommon problem; TheBump has a whole thread about this experience.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 great answer, thanks! –  Beofett Jul 22 '11 at 19:15
1  
Aarthi's list of small and soft foods is excellent. We do that too and it works well. By letting the child grab his food, he becomes familiar with the texture in his hands before it's in his mouth (although it does get messy sometimes). –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jul 23 '11 at 11:00
1  
After the fourth or fifth time we tried the 3rd stage pasta with meat sauce, he started to eat it without complaint (mostly). Now he seems to eat any 3rd stage jarred food we try without problems. Persistence paid off! –  Beofett Jul 30 '11 at 0:45
add comment

There are many children who have sensory systems that have more difficulty with multiple textures. Sometimes they just need more exposure, and sometimes even that is not enough to help them adapt. Different strategies work for different children. Aarthi's suggestions are EXCELLENT! I find that pleasant experiences while exploring food is critical. Perhaps encouraging dipping his bread into creamier foods that "just happen" to have bits or very small chunks in it may increase his tolerance. Also, gradually adding texture to their preferred foods works for some kiddos. For example, crumbling very small bits of graham cracker into pudding or yogurt. The crumbs can gradually be increased in size after the finest are well accepted. Multiple textures require more refined oral motor skills so keep trying and enjoy the journey!

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 for gradual increase in size an firmness. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jul 26 '11 at 5:42
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.