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Reader Query: My Baby Does Not Like To Chew Food

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Rashmi Pahwa asks,

"I have a 1.2 yr old baby girl. She doesn't eat at all by herself. I always have to force feed her mashed food by putting her between my legs & holding her hands. My mother & aunts said that when kids are 1+ we should feed them by hand may be like curd rice or milk rice nicely mixed with hand.

Showing them dogs, crows or any other things which catches their attention so that they at least start chewing 4-5 bites. But it seems like impossible please guide me on this."

how to teach your baby chew food

Happiest Ladies says,

Firstly, confessing that I am no professional consultant who helps in baby issues.
Secondly, views and opinions differ from person to person. So your opinions might differ a lot from what this post speaks about or you may even disagree. Informative and constructive comments on this post are welcome.
Thirdly, information in this post is based on the facts that I have observed and experienced in the past 2 years. My son is exactly 2 years now. His second birthday was just 4 days ago.

“My baby doesn’t want to chew his food. He only wants food that is easy to gulp. He eats only bowl full of porridges. I have seen so many 1+ year babies biting apples and chapatti on their own.”

This is a common fret of mothers.

Why baby doesn’t want to eat chewable food?

Babies/kids have a tendency to bite and swallow food; usually the chewing is not complete. This is sure to cause choking in babies and the food automatically gets thrown out. And this is the point at which kids begin to avoid all chewable foods.

When do babies learn to chew?

There is no distinctive time or age for any child activities. Feeding problems and chewing problems usually get better with time. Patience is all that is needed.

Co-operate with your baby. Do not pressurize. I have tried forcing to chew his food a few times initially. Then I got fed up and gave up trying.

baby doesnt chew food

How good is my baby at chewing his food at the age of 2? (Personal experience)

At the age of 2 he knows to chew and eat cookies, wheat dosa, urud dosa topped with honey. But his tummy fillers are still the porridge while at home and ready baby food powder pap (cerelac/farex/nan) while traveling.

Although he is 2, there are no signs of quitting porridge completely from his daily diet any soon. He chews only 4 to 5 bites of dosa, that too when it is topped with any of the sweetener.

He also enjoys few tiny mouth full of curd rice when it is made colorful with grated carrots and pomegranate seeds.

But 4-5 bites or couple of spoons of food does not satisfy baby’s hunger. And it is also poor diet for the child. So, I follow his usual healthy porridge diet.

See recipes of different types of basic porridge here and here. And some more healthy recipes of fruits and vegetables here and here.

baby weaning issues

What food can you introduce to teach your baby to chew?

Adapting to solid or semi solid foods is surely going to be troublesome. Make sure you help our baby with his favorite flavor and texture of food.

Give soft finger foods like boiled and smashed carrots, smashed avocado, smashed banana, boiled apple. There is no guarantee that your baby will learn eating these too easily.

But giving a small quantity of soft finger foods in a bowl everyday is a sure way to encourage and bring in the practice of chewing.

No hurry. Your baby might take as long time as he wants, sometime even months together.

“But there are so many babies who chew and eat food so easily!!”

Yes. I have experienced this too. And even now wonder why my son is still happy with porridges as his food. I have seen a baby girl eating one full potato vada/samosa while being just 11 months.

Babies are unique personalities. Offer food that match their abilities and taste.

soft food for baby weaning

How important are advices from experienced mothers?

Seeking advice from experienced mothers is always a good idea. But do make it a point that their advice is all about experiences they had with their kids.

They speak things which revolved around their baby. They knew their baby well. Now, if what they say is not going well with you and your baby, it means your baby is different and you know what your baby needs.

Babies are open to new tastes. So, try and experiment all by yourselves and indentify what is best suitable for your baby.

How effective are distractions while giving food to your baby? (Personal experience)

Yes. This to some extent is a hit amongst babies. I have adopted this distraction method. But not roaming around showing cats or cows or cars. I sing his favourite rhymes, also narrate his favourite story, and some time narrate what he did last evening with his friends/playmates of our apartment.

Most of the time this idea works; but sometimes these stories and rhymes too fail.

Some quick pointers:

  • If your baby is not interested in chewing and eating; then he is not fulfilling his hunger with this chew able food. The complete nutrition is also not got. So, along with the food, also give his porridges and other favourites that are easy to swallow.
  • Make the finger foods tasty. Where ever salt or sweetener is needed do add them.
  • Make sure that your baby does not make a huge drama to reject his food. The eating time and environment should be calm and the time together should be enjoyable.
  • Food bowl should not be a torture for both you and your baby. Bring in new tastes.
  • And there is no hard and fast rule about kids chewing/eating style. There is no age limit for baby’s food habits and diet. Keep helping your baby to chew and let the interest in food stay focused.

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