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Kiddo is a little over seven-months old. We've been trying to get him on semi-solid foods for about a month now, trying once a day or every couple of days. We've tried the standard stuff: baby oatmeal, rice cereal and packaged pureed fruits. It's not too hard to get the stuff in his mouth, but then he'll just sit with it in his mouth indefinitely, a little agitated with us. Our response is then to give him his bottle, at which point he washes down whatever the semi-solid may be. All of this is to say that he is consuming the semi-solid, but basically only because he's washing it down with the bottle. So, two questions:

  1. Is there a way to teach kiddo to swallow these semi-solids? Just leaving it in his mouth for a while gets him pretty angry without inducing any swallowing.

  2. Supposing he won't swallow for us, are we doing more harm than good in letting him learn to wash down the semi-solids with formula?

Or, more broadly, how do you recommend we proceed?

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    Have you tried a sippy cup with water? My brother in law does that with my niece and it gets her to swallow everything in her mouth and teaches her cup skills. – user7678 Jan 19 '16 at 12:15
  • @RachelC That's a nice idea -- thank you. – Shane Jan 19 '16 at 14:32
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He may just not be ready. It takes a lot of muscles and coordination to swallow, especially if you have to get the stuff from the front of your mouth to the back, and kids learn how at different ages. At 7 months, I don't think there's anything to worry about. I'd start meals with breastmilk or formula, then offer solid or semi-solid foods, and then wrap up with breastmilk or formula. I'd guess for the next couple months at least, most of that solid food will end up coming back out or getting washed down. Around 9 months, I'd switch the order and start with solids or semi-solids, then offer breastmilk or formula.

We went the baby-led weaning route and avoided semi-solid foods altogether to avoid the hassle and 'cause mush is gross. If your kid is reaching for your food and acting interested in solids, you could try that approach instead. Basically, you let the kid eat what you're eating as long as it's not an obvious choking/health hazard (grapes, honey) and doesn't require lots of teeth (rare steak, raw carrots). Still, at 7 months, most of the solids came right back out. We had especially good luck with cooked vegetables of all kinds, chicken legs, whole fruit, and cottage cheese.

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  • +1 to this - you don't want to get your kid into a pattern where they'll only eat solids if they wash it down! Better to wait till they're actively interested in food, which will happen eventually, don't worry! Age markers for "development" are guidelines, pretty much every child is different, and a lot can change in a month. – Ieuan Stanley Jan 21 '16 at 12:24
  • Did your baby have enough teeth to chew by the time you introduced solids? – hkBst Feb 10 '16 at 13:42
  • He had 2 on the bottom in the front. – Libby Feb 10 '16 at 13:52
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Something I've always done with my little one is to say the word "Chew!" in between making over emphasised chewing motions with my mouth, and then "Swallow!" and making a big gulping swallow so he can see my neck moving. It often amuses him as if it's a bit of a game but does seem to work as it shows by example. Also it helps if he's choking a little bit because it makes him stop what he's doing (trying to swallow something a bit too big or dry) and gives him a chance to break it down a bit more.

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When we first started our children on semi-solids, my wife expressed some breast milk and mixed this in. It worked extremely well. It has a familiar taste then, so they know what to do with it.

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