She Says… More Bites, Please!

When Owen first started eating solid food, it opened a door to a world of fun things for us to do together. I adored the process of making his food and figuring out fun new combinations to feed him. Throughout the last 8 months he has eaten tons and tons and tons of different foods and he has gobbled up each and every one.

Believe me, I thank my lucky stars every day that this has been so fun and easy for us, because I fully realize it could change on a dime!

We started purees early, right when he turned 4 months old, and he moved up to “chunky” purees quickly. Hungry baby! Soon we were mixing veggies and proteins and grains to make little meals to keep him full and happy. Nom nom nom. He is a voracious eater. Honestly, I think if I left him in his high chair with some food all day he would never stop eating.

Since he started getting teeth he’s been more and more interested in “bites” rather than purees. For the last few months I have been giving him some bites along with his pureed meal to give him some practice chewing and figuring out how to get food into his mouth. But in the last few weeks the ratio has changed to be about 75% bites and 25% puree. He wants to feed himself. He is so intent on picking up everything I put on his tray that he pushes the spoon away when I try to feed him. Too busy working on these bites, Mama!

I think we’re at the end of an era, folks.

It seemed like my baby eating baby food was going to last forever. I kind of wanted it to last forever. It was such a special thing we did together. But alas, he’s becoming such a little person now that he wants to eat bites all the time… and feed himself, too! It’s pretty amazing.

I adore watching him eat. The way his chubby fingers select the one bite he wants. The way he turns to food around and looks at it before jamming it into his mouth, sometimes missing and hitting his cheek or chin. The way he giggles with his mouth open and little bits come flying out. The way he holds his open palm out to the dog for him to sniff and lick. The way he smacks his tray in happiness when he tastes delicious foods. It’s so precious.

I know that we’ll still bond over food as he grows up and eats more and more bites. And I’m still making all of his food, but there’s something so different about making him “big people” food instead of puree. Baby’s growin’ up. And Mama needs to move on. And while it’s thrilling to watch him grow, there’s a bit of sadness there too. Were you sad to move away from purees or excited that your baby could finally eat “real” food?

Also, now that he’s eating bites I feel like he’s getting a lot less food. He used to eat multiple bowls of purees mixed with whole grains like quinoa and brown rice. Now I find that grains are harder for him to feed himself, and since he’s allergic to oats and wheat/gluten free, it’s harder to find soft, moist grainy things like breads that are easy to pick up. He eats whole proteins like beans and chicken and beef and fish and cheese, and all kinds of fruits and veggies cut up into small pieces. So I’m sure he’s getting great food. It just doesn’t always seem like enough, especially compared to what he was eating from a bowl. What are/were your baby’s favorite “bites”?

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15 responses to “She Says… More Bites, Please!

  1. My little girl (11mo. yesterday) has really enjoyed feeding herself. She still lets me feed her from time to time, but enjoys it more when she can get her hands on it herself. She loves cubed avocado, tomato, beans and elbow macaroni or any pasta for that matter. She even likes to slurp up spaghetti, but sometimes flings it around like a lasso first. 🙂 I am really enjoying seeing her feeding herself. She seems to really love to eat even more than before. It is sad that their growing up, but it is exciting as well.

  2. I could go on and on about food… but I’ll try to keep it short! We started feeding Eli ‘bites’ pretty early… around 9 months or so? His lunch has always been cut pieces of whatever I eat for lunch. Now, at 12 months, his breakfast, snacks & lunch are all bites. He does eat less, but they start slowing down around this age anyways (according to the ped). Eli loves fruit most of all… and whole grain goldfish… and avocado spread on bread cut into pieces.

    We still feed him his dinner… a mix of purees & chunky stuff. We did, however, start giving him his own spoon or fork a couple of months ago because we, too, were having ‘independence’ issues! He took to it really well and now really enjoys taking turns with us… we give him a bite and then he scoops in his spoon and takes a bite himself. I highly recommend baby utensils!

  3. Udi’s is, hands down, the best brand of gluten-free bread products out there. You can find them in the freezer aisle. I’ve tried everything I have found from them, and their whole grain bread and cinnamon rolls could be very easily cut into Owen-friendly pieces.

  4. Also, have you tried hummus?

  5. Our pediatrician just recommended starting solids at 4 month rather than six. It had me a little sad for some reason (I can understand why you would be sad to give up purees!), but I’ve been roaming your blog, re-reading old posts about introducing solids to Owen. Pretty sure we’re going to start with real foods rather than rice cereals-it just seems more logical.

  6. @Heather, Ha! Adorable!

    @thebakerbee, That’s a good idea; keeping purees for dinner time. We’ve been introducing the spoon to him and letting him “help” recently and he seems to really dig it. I haven’t yet given it to him without my hand on it — our kitchen would be covered 🙂

    @Liz, Thanks for the rec! I am just exploring the gluten free world now, and it’s kind of fun for him to be able to eat that stuff. Will definitely check out Udi’s! Benjamin and I eat a ton of hummus, but I hadn’t given it to Owen yet because tahini is made from sesame seeds, which is a potential allergen. Our pedi suggested we hold off on some allergenic foods given that Owen has already shown some allergies. But he’s had pureed chick peas (and loves them), so hopefully we can graduate to hummus soon!

    @Sarah, Have so much fun starting solids! As you know, I totally loved feeding Owen. Hope you enjoy it too.

  7. Yeah, I think I have a lazy baby. She’ll be 13 months tomorrow and I still spoon feed. She eats “bites” but she also still wants me to feed her.

    My kid generally eats like a carb-loading marathon runner with a stomach bug: buttered bagels are a favorite, crackers, goldfish, more crackers, pizza crust, plain pasta, basically if it’s a carb, she wants it.

    She still eats a jar of disgusting pureed meat every day, so that’s her main protein. I keep hoping that she’ll stop liking that so much since it smells like cat food and costs over a dollar a jar, but nope, she loves it still.

  8. Oooh I am getting sad about this too! Our little lady wants to feed herself more and more and is getting more resistant to being spoon fed. 😦
    Her favorite bites are salmon (hands down favorite – we call her “bear” when she eats it since she devours it!), chicken, tofu, cheddar cheese, and puffs (of course!). I need to start some breads and pastas.
    PS – Kara, as usual your comment was hilarious: “My kid generally eats like a carb-loading marathon runner with a stomach bug”.

  9. Cameron is a feed himself kind of dude, but if we’re out and about I still feed him purees or he will get covered in food! And usually when we’re out, he’s distracted enough by the environment that he doesn’t mind me feeding him. Plus he loves yogurt and he can’t feed that to himself yet either.

    His staple foods that he eats himself currently are: roasted apple chunks with cinnamon, chunks of other fruit (melons, watermelon, mango), beans, scrambled egg yolk with cheese, shredded cheese (he LOVES cheese), avocado hunks, carrot/sweet potato “fries”, peas, butternut squash, potatoes, rice, toast/pomegran waffle spread with fruit puree, rotini pasta tossed in chickpea+garlic+evoo puree for a “sauce” and sprinkled with cheese (I find that you can still use a lot of the bean purees as pasta sauces), rotini tossed in homemade meat tomato sauce, salmon (this is a new one – the texture of the fish alone would engage his gag relex until recently). I haven’t given him small pieces of meat yet though for fear it won’t be soft enough, but I think he’s ready for me to try him on it.

    I also find that as long as he has his own finger foods to feed himself, I can still feed him a puree of meat or quinoa etc without him caring too much!

  10. Because I love the kitchen, I was initially very excited about cooking for my son. It’s now been 5 months of this puree business and I’m SO ready to move onto the next step–although my son isn’t and so it continues. I’ve just found over the last month or so that it’s a lot of work making our dinner and his purees. I think it’s because when he was younger it was simple, steamed fruit or veg. Now, I’m doing all these elaborate purees and it’s taking so much more time and energy.

    The “bites” he has enjoyed the most are: wedges of pear, steamed zucchini coins, toasted spelt bread “fingers” smeared with unsalted butter (is Owen allergic to Spelt…have you tried that with him? It is a distant relative to wheat but some people who can’t eat wheat can tolerate spelt), broccoli spears and as of today little bits of chicken. I was surprised to see him gobble up the unpureed chicken this afternoon but I’ve found with “E” that you have to keep trying. When he rejects a food “bite” we’ve given him, we call it the “dump truck”. He just spits it out–sometimes after a few chews and sometimes right away. Raspberries were an immediate “dump truck” but I bet if I try it again in a few weeks he might accept them with the next offer.

    I try to stay away from processed stuff but I do offer “E” Oatios. They are made without gluten, nasty preservatives, etc. Here’s the link:

    http://www.attunefoods.com/products/New-Morning/new-morning-oat-bran-cereal

    I’ve also heard good things about Barbara’s Bakery “Hole n’ Oats” but they aren’t available in Canada anymore.

  11. Aww, yeah it’s a sad time. I really only did little chunks and such for my son. He ate bananas whole from the beginning! Although he didn’t start eating food until six months….

    The only thing I feed him from the spoon is oatmeal. My last stand!

  12. Ok. Weird. I just learned our girl was a little ‘weird’ and we didn’t even know it. She totally wanted to feed herself *super* early. But, she wanted to do it with the spoon, just like we were feeding her. So, we pretty much let her. Sat with her the whole time, of course, just like when we were doing the feeding — both for safety and as a beginning of a ‘we eat together whenever we can’ sort of philosophy. For some time we did a combo where she wielded one spoon and we’d feed her with another one … to keep things moving. She loved food we gave her to eat with her hands, too, but we didn’t have any problems with getting grains and rice and other such mushy food since she was just feeding herself those, too. Fun to learn!

  13. Liam has just startef moving into “bites” & he’s loving it. So far, he’s not refusing purees, but he has so much fun feeding himself puffs, goldfish, bread, pasta & he’s just starting to try meat! Most of his fruits & veggies are still pureed but he’s ready to start feeding himself some small soft pieces. I loved your description of Owen feeding himself- that’s exactly what Liam does & it’s so fun to watch!!

  14. Try giving him his own spoon and letting him attempt to feed himself purees – chances are then that you will still be able to sneak in a few spoonfuls of the purees to “bulk up” the amount of food he gets, while he can practice self-feeding. Good luck!

  15. Will still eats purees (although I make them pretty chunky these days) but he’s starting to get pretty good at feeding himself too. He’s able to put the spoon to his mouth, the bowl, back to his mouth but the hilarious thing is that he tends to take food OUT of his mouth and put it back into the bowl, and then looks surprised that his mouth is empty!
    He loves finger food too but boy it does get messy!
    Part of me is pleased that his eating is ‘growing up’, but part of me is not. To some degree I think it’s because I’m really comfortable with cooking baby food for him but it takes more thought to come up with varied and safe finger food.

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