Real Meals with Sophia
Your baby is holding their head up independently and sitting up upright with some support, propping up on their elbows while lying on their tummy, no longer sticking out their tongue when something is put in their mouth, and is at least 4 months old. It’s time. It’s time to start introducing real meals. Real Meals with Sophia follows the milestones of our very own Feeding Therapist, OT, and Lactation Counselor, Bianca Lane’s daughter, Sophia as she travels down the road of real meals.
When starting the real meal process, it is important to remember a few things:
- All babies develop at different rates
- The decision to introduce foods should be a mutual one between caregivers and your pediatrician
- Concerns regarding your child’s development should be brought to the attention of your pediatrician
- Goal of initial food introduction is for exploration, not calorie intake
- Pace should be determined by child and not forced
- Common cues to watch for before presenting spoon: open eyes, leaning forward, opening mouth, reach for food
- Keep flavors simple
- Don’t presume your child has a specific taste preference, offer a wide variety of tastes
- Frequent reintroductions of flavors are important to establish variety in repertoire
This second milestone is hard munchables at 9 months old.
- A hard munchable is a long, thin food that can be handheld and NOT bitten off, presented at an age where a baby’s jaw is not yet strong enough to bite a chunk off and create a choking hazard
- This is one of Sophia’s first introductions to carrot sticks
- Purpose is not to eat but taste and teach jaw and tongue how to chew and move food around the mouth
- Should always be done under supervision
- Somewhat unsure but exploring
This video is almost 2 months after initial introduction.
- Note mild gag when carrot is presented too far: gagging is good! Gagging is our defense mechanism against choking. It teaches babies how far back in their mouth to allow food before it is ready to be swallowed, it also is an important signal that a mouthful is too large and needs more time in the mouth before attempting a swallow.
- Hard munchables help to gradually move back the gag reflex on the tongue so it is less sensitive.
- Tongue lateralization can be seen chasing the carrot side to side; important skill for moving small pieces of food when chewing later on.
- Eager and motivated.
This series will follow Sophia’s journey of Real Meals from introduction to adventurous eater; giving tips, tricks and ideas to get your little one on the right path. To continue driving down Sophia’s Real Meal Milestone’s with us, check back on our Facebook bi-weekly for updates!