11 June 2006

Talk amongst yourselves: What to feed a self-feeder?

Sara's little girl has just started feeding herself. What are your suggestions for good, non-chokable foods for a new self-feeder?

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Risotto: You can add in veggies, the rice and cheese are good at sticking to a spoon.

Yoghurt or hummos is similarly sticky and can be livened up with bits of chopped fruit or vegetables.

My 10 month old son loves the following: kiwi, black beans, baby lima beans, tofu cubes, melon cubes, mango cubes, peach slices, banana chunks, cauliflower florets, and sweet peas.

My 10 month old eats Cheerios, mini-bagels, ravioli, small pieces of pasta (spaghetti was a disaster), most breads, yogurt, small pieces of cooked veggie, small pieces of cooked fruit (apple, pear, etc.), small pieces of peaches, banana, broccoli (usually mixed into other things). She really likes mashed potatoes and mac and cheese (mama likes starches too, so it's no wonder). Our favorite are Honey Made Graham Cracker sticks. They're tasty, and they don't crumb like the full sized graham crackers, so they're a lot less messy. She can dip them in yogurt, etc. Yum. We also make smoothies with yogurt, banana, fruit, and ice (two favorites are peach and banana, strawberry and banana). I put them in her sippy cup (we like the Playtex kind with handles - she can do it herself, and it doesn't spill). She thinks she's getting a big treat, and it seems to soothe her sore teeth. Must be the cold.

beans of all types, potato chunks, sweet potato chunks, melon, banana (messy), peach, apricot and pear pieces, sticky rice rolled into balls, pasta

I try to give Max (10 months) everything we eat, just smaller.
He loves pizza, bagels, avocado, steamed carrots, cheese crackers, triscuits, earth's best nutri-grain type bars, dry cereal, mango, peaches, bananas, pasta with tomato sauce or alfredo sauce, bread, small chunks of cheese, fried rice, green beans, broccoli - really anything that's not super allergenic!

Frozen peas!!!!!! Our 3 year old still loves to take a tupperware of frozen peas in her food bag everywhere we go. They don't need defrosting, they melt in your mouth. Also, cereals are a big hit, especially cheerios, chex, and kix.

I got these two great finger food ideas many years ago and they worked through 4 kids:

veggie burgers, cut up in little pieces - yum!; and

whole wheat (or any kind) toaster waffle with cream cheese smeared on it - cut bite size. (all my kids LOVED this and always ate every piece!)

Some of Oliver's first finger foods were tofu, avocado, bananas, cut up string cheese and fish sticks. That last one was at the suggestion of our doc. He (Oliver -- the doc didn't mention it) prefers the breading be removed though.

When my boys were little, they loved to feed themselves avacodo, ripe mango, rice, cheerios, toast sticks, frozen waffles (still frozen), and bananas.

Both my kids loved, veggie burgers cut into small pieces. Also, brown rice and cheese, the cheese melts and makes the rice stick together so they can grab little clumps easily. I also found this great pasta shaped like flowers, I think it's made by Barilla. It's the perfect size and it breaks up very easily when the baby chews it.

Fresh avacado cubed

Sticky rice

Also, mushed potatos with cheese

Not sure how old the little one is here, but in most cases I'd say that a self-feeder can probably eat what everyone else in the family is eating.

Ideas -

rice cakes
cooked pasta - different shapes - spirals and bowties are great for them to hold on to
sliced bananas
well-cooked veggies - small hunks of potatoes, sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, peas, etc.
small pieces of bagels
cubes of extra firm tofu
ground meat
Cheerios, Chex cereal
pancakes, toast, French toast
cut up pizza
shredded cheese
cut up hard boiled eggs (assuming child is over 1 year)
grapes (cut into pieces)
small pieces of watermelon (my middle child LIVED on watermelon for a while)
flakey bits of baked fish
tuna (in *small* quantities - not more than once per week)
French fries
bits of tender chicken

Don't forget chick peas. You can just buy them by the can. We also use frozen lima beans. Just stick them in a bit of warm water and peal the shells. It is sort of like the frozen peas someone else suggested.

Along with what everyone else said, here are some prepackaged goods that work well for us: Veggie Booty, Dr Praegers spinach (or other) pancakes, Morningstar Farms fake sausage.

The Booty, in particular. Our 9-month-old daughter lives for the stuff. It's marginally healthy, with powdered spinach and kale, and the consistency is just right for melting in the mouth.

It's great seeing all of these suggestions. Some of these foods sound like they'd need teeth. Could you throw at least me a bone, and if it sounds like the kids need teeth but don't, let us know? My son is now starting to want to feed himself and not be fed, but he doesn't have any teeth yet. It's a bit of a challenge. Usually, I just feed him some of whatever we've been eating cut up really small so it's not a choking hazard. But, that makes a mess on the tray.

For my contribution - Multigrain chereos are not so good. I missed where it said "lightly sugared." They should have said shellaced. It is marginally cute to see them stuck all over his head, but it's a mess.

we've found a great trick for getting in some green veggies - Veggie Patch makes these great spinach and broccoli nuggets - not too much fat, easy to microwave and the first ingredient is actually spinach or broccoli. Best of all, Noah loves them!
Another easy trick is to make big batches of meatballs and freeze them - pop out one or two at a time and microwave them - instant lunch or dinner for your babe if your own lunch is not appropriate to share or to pack for daycare.

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