Try this meal plan for bigger babies who would otherwise be ready for solids / finger foods:
1. Start by playing with soapy water to “clean the table”.
2. Offer a hard non-food or rusk for chewing practise. Sometimes sitting them in the high chair while you’re getting things ready and letting them chew on a teething toy can get the mouth “warmed up”.
3. Offer harder foods for munching.
4. Put down a puree. Demonstrate “dipping”. Allow play!
5. Offer a bite & dissolve food.
6. “Clean up” per the meal plan for toddlers. Consider just leaving the child with a facewasher / flannel for a few minutes for biting practice and partial cleaning.
Try this meal plan for toddlers:
1. Consider starting a meal at a small table with a basin of soapy water. Put bubbles or just water on the table and swoosh it around with your child. Make a bit of a mess. Giggle. Sing. Then get an old towel and wipe down the table together.
2. Depending on your child’s aversion, consider putting a new food on the table. Have no expectation that they child will touch the food. Perhaps you could blow it across the table with a straw. Flick it. Put it on your head. Put it under a cup and “disappear” it. The aim it to make the child laugh. If your child touches the food – that’s a victory! If she puts it on her head – double victory! If she puts in in her mouth and spits it out – triple victory! Sometimes a child will need to see, smell, taste a food 20 times before they think it’s safe to eat. And sometimes they’ll just keep rejecting it.
3. Progress to another food. Again, play with it. You might try blowing through tubes of penne. Cutting gingerbread shapes in a slice of bread or a piklet. You might try squirting whipped cream in a can onto the table. Pouring honey onto the table. You might build a tower with biscuits. You might make a face with pieces of vegetable. Notice the kinds of textures your child feels more comfortable with and try to build on what’s working.
4. Pull out wipes and your basin of soapy water again. Wipe the table (not the child) to remove the big stuff. Then soap and water the table again and try to have them help you clean it. With any luck some mucky hands and faces might get cleaned in the mean time. Feeding therapists often advise trying to keep the cleaning of the child to a minimum around the places that they eat. You could put a facewasher in the basin and if they clean themselves or suck on the facewasher – so much the better.
Mix these tips with what is practical for you to manage at home.