I have a 2 year old that is still eating #2 baby foods which she eats without a problem, some #3 baby foods which has gotten better but will gag some of the time, and is still drinking formula because she will not swallow table food. She will chew the food some of the time but will spit it back out. The doctor recommended taking her to a Food Therapist which she has been seeing once a week for the past 6 months. We still are not having much luck. She walks, talks and learns very well. There does not seem to be a problem with her learning abilities. Do you have any suggestions? Is this an unheard of situation?
Thanks for your question. I see many toddlers “stuck” at stage 2 baby foods. There is a texture progression baby and toddlers work through that begins liquids>smooth puree (stage 1)>lumpy puree (stage 2, applesauce, yogurt, etc.)>mushy (hot cereals, mashed potatoes, etc.)> melt able crunchy (Ritz crackers, short bread cookies, many boxed cereals) >soft (fruits, cooked veggies)> firm (meats, apples, etc)> crunchy (foods that “snap” uncooked carrots, celery ,etc.) > mixed textures (spaghetti, stews, creamed corn, lasagna, etc). Many feeding experts advise families and therapists to avoid stage 3 food since mixed textures are one of the most difficult textures to accept.
Since your child is eating purees try using table foods -cooked veggies, puree pasta dishes, potatoes (sweet and white) in mini food processor which will provide more flavor, more calories, and more nutrition. Stage 1 and 2 foods are made for children 1 year old and under and therefore won’t meet the nutritional and caloric needs a busy toddler needs. Also begin to introduce yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, instant mashed potatoes and cream of wheat cereal to phase away from baby foods. At snack and meal time, offer one meltable crunchy on plate such as crackers, cheese curls, hulless popcorn, vanilla wafers to offer opportunity to bite and chew foods and to give opportunity to self feed. Try to stay calm during meals even when it has not been successful. Two year olds are very observant and will sense your frustration and/or anxiety. When possible eat with your child. Kids love to imitate their parents. Eating together doesn’t always have to be at the table. Try having a picnic lunch outside or inside. Use an old sheet or blanket and small bowls of food to be shared.