“Give that child some table food!”

I could hear grandma’s words in my head as I prepared another batch of pureed sweet potatoes for my 10-month-old.

Knowing my child was good and ready to at least begin the transition, I was intimidated by the idea that my precious little angel with all of two bottom teeth could handle “table food.”

So I started her off with scrambled eggs — simple enough.

She loved it.

Then instead of making puree from her favorite fruits and vegetables, I simply cut them into small pieces after steaming. Before I knew it, I found myself fixing her a small portion of whatever we were having for dinner.

I was surprised by how quickly she made the transition. She may have been ready long before I was, a reoccurring trend for this first-time mom.

Personally, I was petrified of the idea that the baby would eat something too big and choke. My daughter must have sensed that because once a day she’ll act like she’s choking and then laugh when I get startled (a character, right?). But it was amazing to watch her clear another milestone; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I gave her her first quarter of a graham cracker and she hummed it down with sweet ease. I was delighted to see her chew up chopped grapes and cucumbers.

My biggest tip, something that was tremendous in this process, is simple: don’t be afraid.

At times I wish my little sunflower would stay this cute baby forever, but they grow. She’s grown right before my eyes, and there’s nothing I can do to hold her back.

Embrace the growth and capture every moment you can. That first bite, that first “yuck” or “yum.” These moments come and go in a flash.

Watching my baby go from being spoon-fed homemade purees to picking up cubes of steamed broccoli with her tiny fingers signified a small step of independence. It’s as beautiful as it is scary.

Let your bright flower blossom. Go ahead and give that baby some cornbread and greens juice!

Quick tips for transitioning

  • Reformat some of your child’s favorites: If he or she loved pureed carrots, start off with steamed and chopped carrots.
  • Be mindful of seeds, etc: When I feed my child grapes, I cut the fruit in half vertically first and cut the halves horizontally, eyeing any small seeds or stringy pieces I need to remove.
  • Be patient: Baby will get the hang of feeding independently.
  • Watch the sugar: When it comes to snacks, I suggest fruit or snacks that are low in sugar or naturally have no sugar added. My baby loves these pea crisps and whole grain Cheerios. At this age, we don’t give her much junk — she will have years of that to come.

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