Welcome to part two of our four part series on feeding!  Last week I discussed important motor milestones for feeding and posture and a timeline of when babies are typically ready for certain foods.  Click here for last week’s blog post just in case you missed it.  This week  I’ll provide definitions for words like “meltable solids”, “soft cubes”, and “soft mechanicals” and more specific information on what foods to introduce and when.   Nutrition has been my hobby for the last 20 years  and now I have the opportunity to combine my love of food with my love of working with children.  It’s pretty great!

Below is a breakdown of the food continuum – what foods babies are ready for and when.

Food Continuum*

0-13 months:  Breast feeding and/or bottle feeding

5 months:  baby food cereals

5.5 months:  thicker baby foods

6 months:  thin purees

7 months:  thicker baby foods and thicker purees

8 months:  soft mashed table foods and smooth table food purees

9 months: hard munchables (not for eating but for practicing moving the tongue from side to side, also known as tongue lateralization) and meltable hard solids.  Examples of hard munchables are raw carrot, raw jicama, and suckers.  Examples of meltable hard solids are teething biscuits, graham crackers, and snap pea crisps.

10 months:  soft cubes.  Some examples are ripe avocado and banana.

11 months:  single texture soft mechanicals.  Some examples are pasta, white bread,  and cooked eggs.

12 months:  mixed texture soft mechanicals.  Some examples are macaroni and cheese and fish sticks.

12-14 months:  appropriately sized soft table foods.  For example, you can cut whatever you’re eating and give it to you baby as long as it’s soft enough.

16-18 months:  hard mechanicals.  Some examples are fritos, fruit leathers and steak.

18-24 months:  children continue to improvement and refinement of efficient eating

*This information was adapted from Dr. Kay Toomey’s SOS Approach to Feeding.

When I was at my monthly transdisciplinary team for west Denver for Rocky Mountain Human Services (incidentally, we meet in Lakewood), and one of my colleagues said something so simple and powerful that I have to share.  As we were discussing family involvement in their children’s care she said, “We work for you.”  I don’t think enough parents realize this.  As a parent you are the leader of your child’s medical team.  You have the authority to make decisions about your child’s care, request consultations with other professionals, or deny services.  You know your baby best.

If you have any concerns about your child’s speech, language, hearing, or feeding development, please get touch with us.  We are located in Lakewood, Colorado and are always happy to help.

Stay tuned next week for more information on oral motor milestones!  Of course, the list of examples is not exhaustive.  If you have any questions about this blog post or would like more examples of each food category please don’t hesitate to contact us!