Difficulty tolerating new / advanced diet textures

baby eating

During the developmental process, children improve their ability to tolerate and consume increasing complex textures. For some children, these transitions between purees and dissolvable foods to mashable and eventually chewy foods can be challenging or unmanageable. Solid foods for babies are foods that switch a baby from milk to adult food around the age of 6 months. At this age, infants begin to benefit from nutrition beyond formula or breast milk in order to fulfill the baby's nutritional requirements, and the infant will be able to develop the physical skills necessary to swallow solid foods.

As a result, the child's diet must be supplemented with solid foods. This should be handled slowly and carefully. Start with soft pureed solid food, then progress to pureed or processed food, and finally to food cut into tiny pieces that the child can keep in his hand and chew. As a child gets older, the number of foods in his or her diet is expected to increase.

Food Types

  • Thin Puree: a thin paste or thin liquid is formed in food (pudding, applesauce)

  • Thick puree or mixed: the food is more thick with no lumps (blended foods)

  • Lumpy mashed: food is a heavy bolus (mashed potatoes, bananas)

  • Ground: ground food, not mixed (crooked meat, chopped eggs, cottage) (fruit cocktail)

  • Regular: reduce or leave the food in its entirety (all foods)

 

Signs makes your baby is ready for solid foods

You need to look for signs that your baby is ready to start solid foods. Look for the following signs:

  • Your baby can keep his head upright and still be in this position.

  • Your baby able to sit upright in a stool or highchair so he can swallow properly.

  • Your baby is significantly gaining weight and nearly doubled his birth weight.

  • Your baby is curious about what you eat and looks at it or tries to reach it.

 

What is a texture issue?

Texture is one of the most common problems that picky eaters encounter when trying new foods. Some children prefer soft foods, while others prefer crunchy textures, with the most common being children who refuse to eat meat due to its texture. They may dislike the texture or lack the ability to propel food up their throat. It is critical not to force the child to eat.

 

  • If your child has no medical issues such as swallowing difficulties, a history of severe acid reflux, teething pain, a sensory problem (difficulty being touched), or autism, he or she is most likely just a picky eater with a texture issue.

 

Some babies and children have difficulty taking and swallowing non-smooth food. Smooth pureed foods often work well for these children. When they are given non-smooth foods, they frequently gag and sometimes vomit, so their parents will frequently return to the smooth purees. These children continue to eat only smooth pureed foods, without the ability to learn how to eat or to chew.

 

Many parents of children with texture issues worry about their child getting enough protein. Cooked meats are a challenge for many kids who have texture issues. Vegetables can be more difficult, and getting kids to eat more vegetables is a top priority for most parents because vegetables are high in nutrition. Unfortunately, most vegetables have a fiber-like texture that children dislike.

 

Some children will tolerate food with lumps in it, but if they attempt to swallow lumps, they will gag. As a result, these children will spit out lumps and swallow only the smooth part of the meal. Oral motor skills improve as children grow and develop, allowing them to handle foods with a wider variety of textures.

 

Food texture and sensory processing disorder

  • According to VeryWellHealth.com children with sensory processing disorder struggle to make sense of the sensory information their bodies collect. This makes normal responses to external stimuli, such as food with a specific texture, difficult or impossible for the child. In practice, if forced to eat food with the problematic texture, these children may gag, and they will most likely refuse it if they can.

 

Sensory processing disorder is not present in every child who has an aversion to a specific food texture. It's possible they're having trouble chewing and swallowing other foods. This may be caused by dental issues like untreated cavities, mouth or throat pain, a loss of muscle control, or a physical change in mouth structure that makes chewing and swallowing difficult.

When should you consult a professional?

  • a child over chews food until it’s practically mush

  • drinks water with every bite to assist swallowing

  • regurgitates food back up regularly (throw up in his mouth)

  • feels acid-like in the back of their throat and stomach after meals

if you believe your child has a texture issue that prevents them from enjoying food, you can book a consultation to discuss your concern with one of our pediatric feeding specialists here.