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my son is 18 months and still not wanting to chew and eat food. we have to blend soups and other food into puree for him to accept it. if there is a slight solid he will automatically push it out of his mouth with his tongue.

I have had a break through with breakfast where i dont blend as much and leave breakfast a little chunky. he ate it but still pushed chunks of soft banana that were bigger out.

any word on how to get a child eating? friends have kids that are 4-5 month younger and eating chicken cutlets and

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Have you tried tasty, but solid, snacks like graham crackers? –  Beofett Jan 18 '13 at 19:47
    
He doesn't take any crackers and just ends up tossing them down to the dog. at best he will chew and spit a bit of the edge. –  kacalapy Jan 18 '13 at 20:03
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3 Answers

Have you mentioned this to your pediatrician? If your son is pushing out solid food at his age there might be a developmental issue to combat. You can also check with a community Early Start program; they often deal with eating delays.

If your doctor has given him the all clear, drop the bottle entirely if he's still on it; go to sippy cups (there are sippy cups with a softer top, to help with the transition (or in our case, give our 21-month-old something to shake in his teeth like a dog with a toy)). Try foods that melt quickly, like toddler puffs.

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I wouldn't worry a ton about it at this point. Controlling your tongue while eating is a skill, believe it or not, and some children take longer to master it than others. More likely than not, he will figure it out in his own time with practice.

You've already figured out one thing to help, by partially blending the food. Another thing that speech therapists have recommended to us (they also deal with eating because it all involves the same muscles) is to place the food back on his molars, or at least into his cheeks, instead of in front in prime spit-out position. This can work well with long chewy food like Twizzlers where you can hold onto the other end.

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My daughter was like this some. Once we switched her to "solid" foods, she basically subsisted on yogurt and milk for about 6 months. She finally started eating cheerios and other crunchy foods as well as peas--because they're soft.

Like Karl Bielefeldt pointed out, learning to control your tongue is a skill that has to be practiced. Having said that, sometimes kids just have texture issues. With these kids, it can take introducing a food many, many, many times before they warm up to it. Some kids will take to a food after a couple of introductions, with my daughter it's more like 25 or 30 before she will reliably eat more than a bite of it.

Here are few tricks that we tried with my daughter when she was REALLY little and ate hardly anything:

  1. Keep offering the solid you are attempting to get him to eat. He doesn't HAVE to eat it, but he should be exposed to it. He may pick it up and play with it and feel it. That's ok. He's getting used to it--it's a process.
  2. Offer soft foods cut up in small pieces. He might be more inclined to actually put a soft bite of banana in his mouth than a crunchy cracker. Bananas, cooked peas and carrots, avocado, plain cooked macaroni, etc. And cut them smaller than you think necessary.
  3. Sometimes it helped to give my daughter a spoon and let her try to feed herself. She might have only gotten a couple of bites into her mouth, but she was more likely to keep it in her mouth, chew, and swallow it.
  4. Offer the new food first when he's really, truly hungry. If you want him to try a banana but you offer it after his yogurt or whatever, he won't be hungry and will have little motivation to try something new. Maybe while you're prepping breakfast, sit him in his high chair and give him a few bites of the banana to look at/play with/attempt to eat while you chop up the rest of the banana to go in his breakfast.
  5. Remain calm. This is sooooooo hard because it can be frustrating and nerve-wracking when your child eats a diet of about three things. But if you are anxious at mealtimes, he absolutely will pick up on that. I can tell you from experience that it will not help the situation. Keep working with him and see if he improves. With our daughter we knew she could eat other things, she just didn't want to eat some of them. She's 2 1/2 now and her diet isn't amazing, but it varies more now than it did even 6 months ago, and every few months we're able to add a few more foods and textures to her diet.
  6. If you aren't seeing some kind of improvement over the next few months (I wouldn't give it anymore than 3 months) then you should definitely schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to determine if he needs to be assessed for any developmental issues.
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Along with #4 of "really hungry", "bored" is another good time to introduce new foods to toddlers. –  Shawn C Apr 8 at 18:33
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