There’s a lot of fear in the minds of parents about feeding solid food to their babies at the age of around six months when they haven’t yet developed their first teeth.
The seemingly logical question arises in their minds- How can my babies eat solid food when they does not have any teeth? How will they be able to chew it?
can babies eat solid food without teeth
We, actually, do not give babies the credit that they deserve. They learnt to breastfeed, to turn, to sit up and even stand up on their own before the age of six months. Eating solid food too, comes naturally to our little geniuses.
If you’ve noticed, we ourselves chew our food not with our two front teeth but with our molar teeth. Babies develop their molar between the age 14-18 months and we know that nobody waits that long to feed solids to their baby.
Then, how do six month old babies chew their food?
Well, their jaws are strong enough to chew the food and they use their jaws, tongue and cheek to process the food. Some mothers even begin with solids skipping purées all together.
Here is a list of Solid foods babies can eat without teeth:
Fruits are a common food type to start with babies. Since they are sweet and juicy, fruits are generally well received by the babies as well.
- Cantaloupe or Muskmelon
Citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit, tangerine etc might be too strong for your baby who hasn’t had much experience with flavours. So introduce them in small amounts in their diet and let them get used to the taste gently.
Although berries are not considered high allergy foods, if your baby has eczema or other food allergies, consult your pediatrician before offering berries. Raspberries can be cut in halve before offering to babies.
Fruits that are not soft like raw apples and pear, should be steamed before giving it to your baby.
Foods that are round and hard, like grapes, blueberry and cherry should we cut into halves (vertically) to eliminate the risk of choking. Also make sure to remove the seeds from apples, cherries before serving.
- Sweet potato
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
All vegetables need to be steamed and cut into smaller portions as they will not be as soft as fruits. If it has a hard skin, peel it off. And remove seeds if any. Do not overcook the vegetables because they will turn mushy and will not have the finger-food consistency.
Leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach might get stuck in the roof of your baby’s mouth while your little one tries to eat it. So you can cook it,mash it and add it along with rice or millets to make a complete meal.
Dried fruits tend to become a little hard due to losing their moisture so you want to make sure they are soft for your little ones by soaking them in the water.
- Dried prunes
- Dried Apricots
You need to cook the meat properly and shred them before giving to your baby. Make sure there are no small bones. Make sure your baby isn’t allergic to seafood before giving fish or prawns.
Avoid canned seafoods. They will have preservatives and probably have too much salt in them.
- Lamb/Goat/Beef – Minced or Grounded.
- Fish- select fishes that have lesser bones. Some fishes have very fine bones which might be too hard to remove. Try Salmon, Cod, Tuna and Haddock.
- Prawns/ Shrimp
- Boiled eggs- make sure it’s properly boiled and introduce the yoke before the whites. Cut them in small pieces.
- Scrambled eggs
- Omelette- Add veggies like carrots and zucchini. Use healthy fats like coconut oil, grassfed butter to cook.
- Fried Eggs
You can give any full pasteurized cheese like the below. Make sure it’s not hard. You can scramble it for safety. Processed cheese has too much salt for a baby.
- Cottage cheese
Breads and baked foods
Avoid store bought ones because you wouldn’t even know what has gone into its making. Homemade goodies help you hand pick the ingredients thereby creating a nutritional snack.
Do not add any ingredient like whole blueberries and cranberries that could be a choking hazard.
- Homemade wheat bread
- Homemade muffins
- Homemade cakes
- Homemade biscuits, cookies and crackers.
- Pita bread
- Chapattis -Indian wheat bread.
Make sure they are boiled well. You can add homemade sauces or purées to them. You can boil quinoa/oats/millet/semolina/buckwheat in a little water and either add your breast milk or almond milk for consistency and taste.
Caution to be taken while feeding solids:
Although your baby seems ready for solids, tick all the below points to make sure your baby is safe.
- Always introduce one food at a time. We don’t know how your baby would react to new foods, so follow the three day rule with every new food.
- Always be near your baby and watch out for any signs of choking. Do not leave your baby alone while having solids.
- While introducing a new food, do it in small amounts.
- Try to include variety in your baby’s meals. Add fruits, vegetables, legumes, meat etc.
- Watch out for any allergic reaction especially with nuts and dairy products.
- Keep an eye on their poop. Usually poop says it all. If you think something is not normal with the colour of the poop or if it’s too runny, take it slow and visit the doctor if needed.
Every baby is different and each baby reaches her milestones at her own pace. So, listen to your baby to know when she is ready for solids and if she is ready, do not hesitate to start with solids.
It all takes just one step at a time.
Do share your thoughts on how you like to wean your baby and what your experiences were.