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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Give ’em A Whole Chicken Leg

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 5:10 pm | By Stephanie Woo

The other day, B, M, hubby and I went to Le Pain Quotidien, a great organic restaurant in NYC, for lunch. We watched the Mom and Dad next to us feed their 2 1/2 year old baby mush out of a jar and plastic bag, while our 13 month olds ate quiche lorraine and croissant.

I would have been that mom if my own mother hadn’t set me straight three months ago. At ten months, they were still eating mushy foods, most of it went through the food processor before ending up on their plate.

“You should give them an entire apple, a whole chicken leg, whole dumplings. Give them big pieces of food, don’t cut it up, let them bite into it!” were my mom’s instructions. So starting at 11 months, that’s what I did. Here’s what the result looks like:

It takes a different level of willpower and “teeth-power” to eat a whole apple

Brooke sat on the sofa and worked on that apple for half an hour – that is a lot of apple for a 13 month old!

Long udon noodles are delicious and so much fun to eat

Chicken and corn dumplings – gimme two of those for dinner!

Chicken wings – delicious!

Biting into a whole apple or sinking your teeth into chicken wings gives food an entirely different feel than tiny chopped-up pieces. Give your child a different experience – one that is true to how we adults experience food. Children want to learn what the real world is like, give them a taste! If you have a picky eater, try giving them big pieces of food that they can eat by themselves. Kids always like something better when they can do it by themselves!

Reader Comments (5)

  1. The title cracked me up. My little girl, now 16 months, somehow weaned herself off mushy foods when she was 9 months. She refused to eat anything puréed or mashed and would try to grab food off our plates. We ended up getting one of those ikea art aprons for kids and let her go to town during meal times. Noodles are her fav too! I think it'd be hilarious to watch her eat a chicken wing .. But we see solid pieces of noodles or spinach in her poop after that. My mum/grandmother thinks that kids can't digest the food this way and that I should be feeding her brain food like fish congee but she would not take any of that. Oh well

    Sunday, February 26th, 2012 2:05 am | Sy
  2. I totally agree with the post, but have a problem with my son Jackson. If you give him an entire graham cracker square or large piiece of bread, he will literally shove the entire thing in his mouth, same thing with multiple pieces of bread on a plate, and then proceed to choke on it. As much as I want him to learn to chew 1 piece, swallow, repeat, he won't do that, and I don't enjoy doing the heimlich maneuver. Suggestions?

    Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 11:20 am | Blair
  3. I know exactly what choking noise you're talking about because my girls did that too and I'm going to share with you what I did. I'm not suggesting you do this, I am just sharing my experience. When that happened to my girls, I did not react immediately. Instead, I gave them an extra 10 seconds to see what would happen. For us, they were able to cough it up by themselves without a problem. And eventually, after they did it enough times, they stopped doing it. And they learned to eat more slowly. It was part of the process of learning to eat. Again, I'm not suggesting anyone to do this because it is important to watch your children very carefully, but it has been my experience that when they make that choking noise, it doesn't always mean they are actually choking (though of course it can mean that too so the parents have to observe their children and make the call), but I always gave them a little extra time to cough up what they ate if they needed it. After we passed that stage, I was able to move on to giving them bigger things to chew on.

    Thursday, October 25th, 2012 1:53 pm | Stephanie Woo
  4. Hi, just discovered your blog. My little girl just turned 1. she has been eating pieces of food like turkey, pork, chicken and cooked veggies. My concern about letting her eat a whole apple or bigger things is that she only has 4 teeth. Does it matter? I would love to give her a whole apple or a piece of bread but worried about the chocking has she also tends to put an entire piece in her mouth. What do you think?
    Thank you.

    Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 7:48 pm | Pascale
  5. I’ve been feeding my 9 month daughter chunky food too. but we see solid pieces of carrot or pea in her poop and my mom seems to think that her little stomach can’t handle bigger pieces and I should mash up the food. I keep giving her chunky or finger food anyway cuz I think it’s important to let her practice per pincher skill and she can get more nutrition from the milk if not from the food.

    Monday, June 23rd, 2014 7:03 am | an ho

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