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Cooking for an infant-toddler

Posted Jan 07 2013 7:00am

Logan’s teacher at school now calls him an “infant toddler” to mean the age between an infant and a toddler. Recently I have learned that a toddler happens around one year and babies are infants until then. Logan is almost 10 months old and is definitely between baby and toddler. He still takes two naps and can’t walk, but he is very mobile and is eating real foods.

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Feeding him has been interesting and a lot of trial and error. More error. Luckily, his teacher at school enjoys feeding him and she can get him to eat many things he won’t eat for me. She encourages us to try lots of new things, get away from purees, and give him more complex foods. So that’s what we’re doing, and Logan is figuring it out.

For many months, he was a fruit and vegetable eater, mostly in pureed form. When I would try whole fruits or vegetables, if they made it in his mouth, it would usually come right back out. Then he would get very frustrated and we would end up back on purees. Those are fine, but we want him to move on. By 9-10 months of age, babies should be getting more nutrition from real foods. We would try vegetables and fruits like sweet potatoes, broccoli, avocado, zucchini, peas, apples, carrots, pears, bananas, etc. He liked them all, but pureed.

We recently have made a turn and now Logan eats very little purees and mostly whole foods. He is much better with his “pincer grip,” the thumb and forefinger to pick up his food, and he understands what the food on his tray is for. Well, for eating and dumping on the floor. Now he can pick up anything he wants, including sweet potatoes, broccoli, mac and cheese, veggie sticks, and his favorite–pancakes or mac and cheese.

On Christmas Day, we gave him some pieces of a pancake and he loved it. He ate the pieces and picked up the whole hotcake and nibbled on it until it was gone. On New Year’s Day, we made pancakes again and he loved it again. He is also very proficient at mac and cheese, and I add steamed broccoli to that or stir in avocado. And one night this week, I put some steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes on his tray and he couldn’t shovel them in his mouth fast enough. Quite the change! He also loves to snack on graham crackers and suck on cantaloupe. I am just happy he is becoming a good eater.

There are many things he still won’t nibble on and they come right back out, but hopefully he’ll get better at them too. We have tried some frozen foods for baby by Earth’s Best like chicken nuggets, but those have not been successful. I also tried some Annie’s brand ravioli, but that wasn’t good either. We had a few days where he loved bread, and then this week I tried spreading an edamame dip on it and he gobbled that down too. Basically, he can eat anything as long as he will try it.

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The challenge I have is to make sure I have things prepared for him and things on backup if he doesn’t like the first option. He obviously can’t eat a chicken sandwich, and I want him to eat whole and simple foods, so I am trying to have more on hand for him and get creative with what I offer and send to school. It’s just hard to believe that he likes plain, steamed vegetables, but I am glad he does!

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