With our trip less than a day away, I have been aggressively trying to get PK to eat chunkier foods. I have had some very mixed results. Some days are better than others. I started trying to get PK to eat chunkier foods after we went to a friend's birthday party. Our upcoming trip was an extra incentive to get this chunky food thing going. At the party, PK was offered a Heinz teething cookie, and she really seemed to enjoy it. I was vehemently against teething crackers, especially those evil Mum Mums that everyone and their brother seems to give their kids. I do, however, concede to the fact that these teething cookies/crackers are the ultimate shut-your-kid-up distraction. I just don't like the fact that they contain sugar and aren't exactly super-nutritious.
So after the party, I went out and bought PK some good 'ole rice cakes. I figured that they'd have more or less the same desired effect as the teething crackers/cookies. I could break them into small pieces for her to hold onto and try to chew. Plus they melt in your mouth. Same concept, but slightly healthier.
The rice cakes were relatively successful, but I still ended up caving and buying her some organic teething cookies. I don't give these to her too often, but I figured that they're good for shutting her up when I'm trying to clean up the kitchen after dinner, and they've taught her to hold her food and feed herself somewhat. Oddly enough, they worked better than the rice cakes, most of which ended up on the floor (though she loves the taste and shrieks with delight when she sees her rice cakes).
And that brings me to Cheerios. When a first introduced them to her, Cheerios were more for playing with, and less for eating. Her pincer grasp wasn't there at all yet, so she'd awkwardly try to grab the Cheerios, and wound up flinging most of them out of her high chair. Oh, and she looked at me REALLY funny if I tried putting one on her mouth! After I'd introduced the teething cookies and rice cakes, she finally realized that she could eat the Cheerios. I guess it just took getting used to chunkier foods to convince her that eating a Cheerio was okay. Over the past couple of weeks, I've also realized how good she's gotten at that pincer grasp. And even though I still think she's left-hand-dominant, she does attempt to grab her Cheerios with both her left and her right hands. Yay!
Now onto the chunky non-snack foods. I've started mixing some chunkier foods into her purées. I figured that by doing so, she'd have an unfamiliar texture in a more familiar one. I started with things like freeze-dried fruit in her cereal. That worked really well overall, though I must admit that she was a bit uncertain about it at first. I'd also tried introducing veggie chunks into her entrées. She seems to enjoy her puréed chicken and turkey entrées, so I decided to steam some carrots, cut them into small pieces, and mix them in with her purées. It seemed to go relatively well. So then I got more aggressive one day decided to add steamed broccoli, steamed cauliflower, rice, and shreaded turkey into her purée. Well, she did NOT like that, and threw a hissy fit with me. It started with her spitting out all of the food that was in her mouth (you have NOT idea how much food she had stockpiled in there). Then she blocked the spoon as I got it near her mouth. It was a meltdown of epic proportions, complete with tears. I even tried my trick of mixing the food in with some applesauce, but she realized the different texture and took great offense to it. Oh, she was mightily upset! That meal in particular lasted about 1.5 hours, and was very painful for both of us. Still, she somehow managed to get through it. I honestly still don't know how.
That evening, I decided to just go with her regular purée and carrot chunks, and some mushed up sole. Well, she'd have none of that. Crap. Then I fed her some food from my plate. She really seemed to like that. I was shocked! She was actually eating my food! She ate some rice, black beans, broccoli, and carrots. I was running out of food on my plate to feed her (since I was eating it), so I put more food on my plate (for her), and fed it to her. I got out her little baby fork, and she took the food from it no problem. Whoa! It was her first non-purée meal!
She hasn't had a fully non-purée meal since then, but she has gotten more used to chunkier foods. I'm trying to go about this slowly so that she isn't terribly shocked by it and winds up having another meltdown (unfortunately she had another one on Friday...sigh...). I think that for our trip, we'll still have to resort to her puréed foods (we'll have to find a supermarket somewhere to stockpile on food), but we'll also try to get her to eat whatever we're eating, as long as it's safe for her age (e.g. no food with honey).
We'll see how the trip goes, but at least it's nice to see that she's making progress, slowly but surely!