It seems like we have been in the transition to table foods for months now. And it's because we kind of have. Nash will be 10 months in 2 weeks. We started doing purees at 4 months old (I would puree simple things like sweet potato or banana) He showed a lot of interest in food and was already sitting up in his high chair with support. So, despite what most people say is the appropriate age, we felt he was ready. He loved everything we gave him but after awhile I couldn't keep up with making everything myself so we just switched to simple, organic baby foods. I can't remember the exact age but I want to say around 6 months I slowly tried to introduce table foods to him. A little bit of mashed avocado, diced up sweet potato, half of a banana etc. Nash was willing to pick up the food but once it hit his tongue he would being to gag. It got to the point where if a banana even touched his lips (not even in his mouth) he would begin gagging.
Fast forward (almost 4 months later) to now and we are still having the same issues. He will suck on an apple or strawberry or a piece of bread but if a lump gets in his mouth the gagging begins and the worry sets in for me.
Nash crawls, stands, walks assisted, drinks out of sippy cups, talks, all of the normal things. But this whole not being able to eat table foods really started to get to me. I know, he is still young. I know, he is getting the nutrients he needs right now from his milk. But still. I'm going to be completely vulnerable and say I've found myself starting to worry. I have found myself saying "I see other babies eating table food that are way younger than him". People will ask if he's eating table food yet and when I reply no, they come back with a really why?! And it makes me feel horrible! I have found myself a little confused and also comparing. YIKES. I swore I would never compare Nash to other babies but I did. Just yesterday.
I caved in and bought a jar of baby food that has little chunks mixed in it. It's not organic but it is supposed to help transition to table food. I thought, perfect! I'll give this to him a few times and then maybe he will begin to eat more table foods. Long story short...that did NOT happen and that is NOT the case. For lunch yesterday I began to feed Nash his little chunks baby food. He seemed to enjoy it for the first 10 bites or so. Then, he got a chunk that was a little too big for his liking and yep...gagging. Like uncontrollable gagging where I began to become a little nervous. I started to pat his back and talk to him then all of a sudden...projectile vomit. Everywhere. Okay..so that didn't work out like I had thought. Then I just had this awful mom guilt all day that I was forcing my baby to do something he was not ready to do yet.
I've done some research and found that a sensitive gag reflex is common in babies. Some children are more sensitive to textures/lumps and the food doesn't even have to reach the throat for them to being gagging. To help transition Nash to more textured foods and eventually table food, we started using a mesh feeder today. And in case you can't tell by the photos, he LOVED it! One thing I read was that babies with sensitive gag reflexes tend to enjoy feeding themselves so they can be more in control. The mesh feeder allows Nash to feed himself and also eat foods with a consisitent thick texture with the end goal to be able to eat more textured table foods alone. He had half a banana and half of a mashed sweet potato today.
I just want to encourage any other moms and babes that may be going through something similar. As a mother, you just want the best for your baby. Every one is different and different things work for different babies. Be patient, do not worry or stress and just hang in there. Also, if anyone else has experienced this and has anymore tips or tricks, please do share. I would love to hear!