It is that one thing you might take for granted or don’t pay too much attention to.
When it comes time to feed our babies, we assume that they will know how to chew.
Unfortunately, some babies don’t seem interested or know what to do when they put food on their tongues.
Sometimes, a little practice is enough; in others, a baby will eat mashed food whole or continue sucking down milk around the clock.
So, to get the answer for How to Teach Baby to Chew? Read on!
How to Teach Baby to Chew?
In the mouth, saliva contains compounds that break down starches in our food.
Thus, the first step in digestion is chewing. To eat solid food, infants must master the skill of chewing, also known as mastication.
Apart from breaking down food into smaller pieces, chewing also exercises and strengthens your jaw muscles.
To chew well, baby teeth need to emerge, and the eruption of baby teeth influences chewing ability.
However, parents can develop their children’s chewing skills as early as possible.
You probably face the most significant challenge as a parent of an independent toddler for getting them to chew their food.
It isn’t easy to understand the logic behind our actions when we are young, just getting accustomed to the concept of eating solid food.
You might lose your patience while feeding your child and forcing him to chew the food on some days.
But you know that using force (or displaying anger) cannot effectively get children to listen to you.
To make them chew their food, you need to use an approach that works.
1. When Does Your Baby Start Chewing?
At around six months, the baby typically begins to chew and swallow food for the first time.
Therefore, most babies should be breastfed or bottle-fed exclusively in their first few months of life.
Transitioning from a liquid to a solid diet is not always straightforward, and it does not take all babies the same time to learn to chew and swallow.
Some learn fast, while others take longer to adapt to eating solid foods.
Before giving your baby a bottle, ensure that they are ready to chew.
As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby shouldn’t be taught to chew before six months or until they show signs of readiness.
While babies may try reaching for food before this age, this does not mean they are ready to eat solids.
However, it’s good news that you can pay attention to some signs to see if your baby is ready to eat solid food.
2. Practice Large Pieces with Them
You can substitute large pieces of food for teethers if your baby does not prefer them.
The best natural teethers are carrots and celery, and you should cut the vegetables so that the baby cannot swallow them.
Baby teeth, especially the front incisors, are more susceptible to eating, so you should avoid this method if your child already has teeth.
Chewing food may be easy for a baby who has had experience chewing, and teething could lay the foundation for the chewing process in babies.
If your baby does not like the teether, try giving it to them and encourage them to use it.
Also, try choosing soft rubber teethers that don’t contain materials that can break.
3. Using A Toothbrush to Brush Your Teeth and Gums
When you are eating, you can sit next to your baby and show chewing to them before they do it for themselves.
Babies learn by observing their parents and mimicking them. Children’s toothpaste and a baby toothbrush will work well to brush their teeth.
When a baby has no teeth, diapers or gauze should be used with filtered water.
You should brush babies’ teeth regularly to prevent tooth decay and desensitize the mouth to the gag reflex.
After your baby turns eight months of age, serve him different textures of food.
The little one’s mouth will be moved in a manner that’s best suited to chew the specific food item being chewed.
You can start by offering them finger foods or crispy foods that soften when bit into. These include puffed rice, graham crackers, and chopped-up vegetables.
By now, you must have got the answer to the question, how to teach baby to chew?
Your child needs to develop the skill of chewing needs at an early age.
Your child will likely experience difficulties accepting solid foods if you introduce them only once he is old enough and prefers to drink milk all the time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How old are babies when they learn to chew?
A baby is ready to chew and swallow food at around six months of age.
Therefore, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding should be the only method of providing nutrition to a baby during the first few months.
If a baby is eating purees, when should they stop?
Introduce soft, cooked vegetables and fruits, bread, temperate cereals, scrambled eggs, and yogurt between the ages of 10 and 12 months if your baby enjoys these foods.
Stop pureeing your baby’s food if he can handle these soft foods easily. A baby should not consume pureed foods after the age of 1 year.
Is there a time when I should stop spoon-feeding my baby?
If your child can bring their hands and objects to their mouths (usually around 9 to 12 months old), you can gradually decrease mashed/baby foods and give more finger foods.
Between the ages of 9 and 12 months, a child will typically self-feed and not use a fork or spoon before that age.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.
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