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Experts Corner

Nutrition / Children's Health

Texture Issues With 9 Month Old
By Jennifer J. Francis, MPH, RD/LD

Jennifer FrancisQ. My son is 9.5 months old and has a real thing about textures. He's a great eater when we give him stage 2 baby foods, but balks at other foods like stage 3, or even simple table food (bread, crackers, cheese, mashed potatoes, etc). He only has 4 teeth, so I'm sure this is part of it, yet I know of other babies who'll happily gum a range of table foods. How can we get him to accept these new, more textured foods?

A. It's important for you to trust the signals your baby is giving you rather than the numbers that the baby food manufacturers decided to put on the jar. Not all babies progress through textures at the same rate. Basically, children just need the freedom to do this in their own time. The more you try and push it, the more of an issue it will become. To get a child to try new things, the best strategy is to just offer them on his plate or tray, let him play around with it, but don't put on any pressure on him to eat it. You know babies, sooner or later everything goes into the mouth. Maybe he'll like it, maybe he won't. You can help him become familiar and comfortable with new foods by offering them several times with no pressure.

Unless he has some sort of medical problem, it is unlikely that even the pickiest toddler will suffer from nutritional deficiencies if offered a variety of healthy foods. The parents should decide what foods are offered, and leave it to the child to decide what and how much to eat. This type of relationship helps the child build confidence and will ultimately lead to a healthy attitude about food, and a willingness to try new things.

Good luck, I know it's hard to be patient!

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