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Transition to table food/family dinner

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Transition to table food/family dinner

    DD will be a year old soon and I’m a bit anxious about transitioning to table food.  She still seems perfectly happy to eat purees and doesn’t even grab for the spoon, but we hand her the spoon at least a couple of times during a feeding and she can get the food into her mouth, so that’s good.  We have fed her other things little by little and finger food.  She goes to bed before we eat dinner, so we don’t feed her what we eat, but she eats: wheat toast, cheerios, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, lentils (never again!), and occasionally we mash whatever veggies we ate the night before if it’s stuff they don’t put in baby food, like asparagus. 

    At what point did you start feeding your LO whatever you were eating for dinner?  I just can’t fathom how we are ever going to sit down for family dinner... but obviously we have to make it work.  DH does pick up and he is a good cook, so I asked if he thought he could go straight home and make dinner at least a couple of times a week.  That way as soon as I get home at ~6:00 we could sit down and eat and then send her off to bed.  He thought it would be tough, but maybe he just has to give it a shot… She goes to bed between 6:30 and 7:15. 

    Will she start to stay up later any time soon?  I am more than perfectly happy to put her down early, just wondering because that would give us more time to sit down for dinner.

    Thanks as always!

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    I'm probably not going to win mother of the year for admitting to this but...
    my twins are 2 1/2 and I still have to "short order cook" a bit for them.  They will eat some things we eat - but I have to modify almost everything.  They like rice and spaghetti with butter/parmesean. They eat steamed veggies and sometimes a bit of our chicken or fish.
    But often I have to cook some chicken nuggets or fish sticks or a little sausage or something.  They don't even really like hamburger meat yet - so I'll heat up some turkey hot dogs or cook a little scrambled eggs.
    I know you'll hear some more inspiring stories from mothers who say "oh they love burritos and lasagna and beef stew etc. - but mine dont.
    As a last resort I offer whole wheat bread and butter. We try and eat between 5:30 and 6:00. I start bedtime around 7 - and hope to get them to lights out by 8:00.
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    It was a little different for us becuase I made all my own baby food with DD so it seemed like a nice break/incentive to switch to table food.  Plus, she started to REFUSE to let us feed her at 7 months.  She INSISTED on doing it herself (not that she was very good at it, mind you).  So it was pretty early on I just started mashing up stuff that we were eating for dinner and giving it to her.  The only things I didn't feed her were nuts and choking hazards like raisins or raw carrots.  I would just take a little bit of everything we were eating for dinner, break it into tiny tiny pieces or mash it with my fork onto her tray and let her do her thing. 

    DD is an increbily easy to feed baby, however.  She eats everything and always has.  It's freaky (and I don't think it's necessarily anything special I've done to get her that way--she just is a human garbage disposal). 

    If you're worried about transitioning from you feeding DD to her feeding yourself, you could start by giving her a spoon and cut/mashed up food from dinner her tray while you and DH eat, then if she's still hungry when you're done you can spoon feed her some baby food or cereal or just help her with the table food if she hasn't gotten much into herself on her own. It'll be good for her to practice with the coordination necessary to feed herself (it is really messy, ugh).
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    So far she seems willing to eat anything, so I'm not so much worried about that.  It's more the logistics.  How can we sit down for a family dinner and feed her what we eat, when I don't get home until 6:00 on a good day?
    Plus, something that Lily kinda sorta touched upon... There are plenty of things we eat for dinner that I would never give her lol!  Maybe feeding her will force us to eat heatlhier :o) 

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Fra, as you know I don't have kids. However, both DH and I have crazy schedules.  So I will offer my 2 cents from a timing standpoint only, as opposed to what to feed your LO as you transition.

    Could your DH make food on the weekend, or prepare it just to have to go in the oven when he gets home, so it's ready at 6 when you get home?  I either make batches that we can just reheat when we get home, or else prep food and stick it in crock pot liners in the fridge, and then put the bag in the pot in the AM of the day that we are going to eat that meal.  I can see why your DH would not be able to juggle food prep and cooking along w/ having a toddler to watch when he gets home, and still maintain the LO's bedtime. Maybe doing all the prep work and/or cooking in advance will make it work?.  If I did not make batches of food on the weekend or prepare food to just stick in the oven when  I get home, we would be eating canned soup or sandwiches every night. We get home generally 2 hrs apart, so family mealtime simply does not happen during the week.   GL and HTH. 
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from rama8677. Show rama8677's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Like lily said, it's been a slow transition for us from baby food to eating what we eat.  We are still working on it too.  DD is 2 and she will eat what we are eating maybe 1/3 of the time, and the rest of the time we make her own food.  Some ideas of things she eats that we also eat include: Baked chicken (Rotisserie style), baked sweet potato/sweet potato fries, pasta with sauce, meatballs/turkey meatballs, hamburgers/veggie burgers/turkey burgers, turkey hot dogs, chicken sausage, almost any type of soup, quesadillas (we use chopped tomatoes instead of salsa/hot sauce in hers), grilled or steamed vegetables with butter and pizza (we usually do homemade but she also likes takeout, which is an easy dinner option on a rushed night).  

    We try to eat as a family a few times a week, and definitely on the weekends we make a point of eating most meals together, but between the commute home from work and picking her up at daycare and her bedtime it's just not possible for us to sit as a family every night.  So a few nights a week we will feed her dinner at 6:00 or so, and then put her to bed aruond 7:30 and then sit down just the two of us for our own dinner.  Honestly, I love those nights because it gives us a chance to reconnect and feel less rushed.  On nights like that, we'll feed DD either leftovers from a dinner we ate earlier in the week or we will give her "kid food", for ex. mac and cheese, chicken nuggets etc. with a steamed vegetable like peas or broccoli and one or two dr. praegers veggie/potato cakes. She also likes omlettes/breakfast for dinner. Honestly, sometimes by that point in the night we also do what lily does - offering things we know she'll eat just so she gets enough in her so that she can last throughout the night.  I found that DD eats her best meals at lunch and breakfast and usually by dinner she's tired and picky and not wanting to eat a lot so we just try to focus on getting her nutritional needs met with her meals earlier in the day and view dinner as an extra opportunity to get good stuff into her but mostly to fill her up until morning.

    Regarding your question about timing - your DD will likely start staying up later w/in the next 6 months.  We were putting DD down at 7:00 for a long time, and w/in the past 6 months or so, its stretched out to 7:30.  But we start bedtime routine by 6:45 or 7, depending on whether she is getting a bath, so dinner really has to be over by 6:30 or so.  Our DD was eating the same finger foods for a long time and really didn't get too adventurous until 15 months or so.  We were giving her things like applesauce, yogurt, beans, hummus etc. and supplementing with purees until then. 

    Do what you can!  I found food and feeding to be the hardest part of the second year.
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from stefani2. Show stefani2's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    fram - why don't you start by doing dinners together on the weekends when it's easier for you?  that way you start getting DD used to sitting at the table and eating with you (and maybe trying new foods!) but aren't rushed every night of the week.  and, like alf said, maybe have some stuff ready to go so that one or two nights during the week maybe you can fit family dinner in before bed.  regarding bedtimes, you could try putting DD down later - maybe 15 minutes for a few days - and see how it goes.  ours go to bed at 7 and i don't plan on changing that until absolutely necessary!  :) 
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from ajuly09. Show ajuly09's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    You've had lots of good responses already, but I have a little to add. DS just started grabbing the spoon last week, green beans, cereal and apples go everywhere. So I decided that I would stop the purees or at least most of them for now.  If he would eat them still, I would still give them as I know how much food he is getting. He often feeds the dog or smooshes things like avacado into the tray, ugh.  I get home between 4-5 and feed DS at 6, sometimes DH is home, sometimes not.  But DS is not ever eating what we eat, and because of his allergies won't eat much besides veggies/fruit for a while, (no wheat yet).   Dinner I gave him small pieces of brown rice pasta and chunks of cooked carrot and sweet potato.   
    I'm still at a loss for breakfast food since he was mostly eating cereal and fruit mixed in and pieces of blueberry.  It would be easy to give him pieces of toast or waffle but he can't have wheat, dairy, eggs etc. Those would be pretty gross waffles...I could use rice milk to make something..sounds like I have a trip to whole foods ahead.

    I think that trying to eat with DH everynight would get stressful, if it works, it works.  I also think that the family dinner is more important when they are a little older and they can talk about their preschool/school day.  Don't stress yourself out.
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    The timing issue is tough.   I have the luxury of getting home at 4 and DH gets home around 4:30.  The mornings are ridiculous because we have to be up, ready, and out by 6:30 AT THE LATEST but the dinnertime/bedtime routine is easier for us.

    The recommendation of starting/experimenting on the weekends is a great idea!
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from winter09wedding. Show winter09wedding's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Fra- one other thing to think about- depending on where your LO goes for daycare- is lunches. we typically "serve" what we are eating for dinner... which is quick and easy during the week so that we can eat together as much as possible. And then we always have "back up safe foods" that DS will eat. But I try to get him to at least try the dinner before switching to the backups. And, what he doesn't eat at dinner, goes for lunch the next day. amazingly enough, when others show an interest in taking your food (or daycare adds the butter I don't typically add) it gets eaten.

    on days we are eating garbage (read frozen pizza) or foods I don't think DS can handle yet (fajitas), we go immediately to the back up foods.

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Yeah, as many others have said, it's a work in progress.  I feel like we should have "family dinner", but I'm having to accept that it's not going to happen every single night.  At 18 months, we can usually do it 4 nights a week.  Other nights we eat after she goes to bed.  On those days, I like for whoever has her to (me, DH, or my mom) to at least try to sit at the table with her and maybe eat a little something to make it more like a meal together.  That doesn't work out 100% either, though.
    The biggest thing that happened that helped us so far is when she started going to bed at 8.  There was no way we could do it when she went to bed at 7.  The biggest thing we still need to do is to plan our meals in advance -- not so easy to eat together if our grown up dinner is going to be Thai delivery that arrives at 9 PM!
    Good luck - it has actually been starting to be fun to have her at the table with us, once I've been able to relax a little bit about doing it every single night.
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    We're a little different, since DD doesn't go to bed until 8 (we're lucky in that DH doesn't work until 9:30, so our drop off and morning routine is pretty relaxed). 

    Our weekdays work sort of like this:-
    - pick up DD b/w 5:15, 5:30, home before 6
    - b/w 6, 6:30, we play and relax.  If she seems hungry, might have a piece of fruit or cheese as a snack/appetizer.
    - DH gets home around 6:30.  He sits down with her and feeds her dinner while I finish ours (usually I do big cooks/preps on the weekend, so dinner is about heating and making a salad).  Her dinner is usually either leftovers from the night before or some of what we're having.  If our dinner is totally off of what she'll eat, or if we haven't planned anything, it might be something like cucumbers, wheat toast with hummous and some fruit, or cheese toast, or english muffin pizza. 
    - Usually our dinner's ready by about 6:45, so we'll sit down and eat as DD is finishing up.  She's a grazer, so she'll often try what we're having, or keep eating. 
    - After eating, DH cleans up and DD and I do bathtime, PJs, and start to settle down. 

    It is very tag-team, but it works for us.  I love that time when we're all sitting together at the table.  Of course, we do have that luxury of a little later schedule, so we're not in quite the rush to get her to bed. 

    I've found that, especially in the beginning, you have to be ready with lots of I'll often have little containers of a few options ready to go...cucumbers, cooked carrots, cheese, hummous, apples, pears, grapes, blueberries, black beans...those are our standbys. She also LOVES cheese ravioli, so I'll often make that for dinner for all of us one night, then plan those leftovers for her dinners for a couple of nights after, especially if we're going to have something that's not on her palette, like something spicy, for example. Same thing with meatballs...I've got a batch in the freezer, and can take out one or two and defrost and serve them right away. 

    She'll love something one day, and have no interest in it the next!  So having lots of options ready to go is good.  And when all else fails, a pouch of baby food that she eats herself is always an option; for back-ups for dinner, I usually get some of the ones with veggies, like spinach-peas-pears, or brocolli-apple.  At least then I know she's getting some nutrients and good calories!

  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Along these lines, when did people move from the high chair to a booster seat?  DD (15 months) is giving us some trouble about the high chair, and I'm not sure (haven't read up) when they typically switch.  She's probably too young?

    We currently almost never do family meals.  Another issue with our living situation is my MIL feeds DD around 5:30, before DH and I even get home (I get home at 6).  Then she cooks dinner for the rest of the family.  It makes me sort of sad, but there's not much I can do about it right now.  In April my hours will be changing and I'll get home closer to 4:30, so I am going to try to implement family meals, even if it's just me eating with her (you know how it is with older folks - I'm not sure my in-laws will want to eat around 5:30-6 when they are used to eating around 7).
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Family dinner is a huge deal with us, just a family value we set out when we got married. We eat dinner as a family, lately we try and remember it's not about a eleborate meal but the ritual of sitting down together. DD has eaten whatever we eat since about 7-9 months,  As backup, we supplement with cheese if needed.

    Over the weekend, I make one or two make ahead/freezer meals - this time of year it's usually a soup, a huge batch of meatloaf muffins - or prep a crock pot meal to be tossed in the crock pot some morning. The rest is handled by DH, who is a great cook.

    For us, the key is planning. Whoever cooks puts DD to bed while the other cleans up from dinner, and does any prep for the next dinner; moving things from the freezer to the fridge to defrost, slices vegetables for the salad or stir fry, browning meat for a crock pot meal or whatever we are having.

    ETA: DD is cared for by family, so at 17 months she still has a morning and afternoon nap so she can stay up later with me (until 8ish).

  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from rama8677. Show rama8677's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Poppy - My DD refused to sit in her high chair around 15-17 months old.  We switched to a booster chair attached to a regular seat at our table around 18 months.  It's so much easier to clean than the high chair! Now, at 2, she's starting to refuse the booster chair and just wants to sit on a regular chair. 
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from ModeratorJen. Show ModeratorJen's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Ah, having the family dinner never gets easier! DH has always worked late, so we have always been a feed-the-kids first family on weeknights. I do sit with the kids, however, and read to them, which keeps them less fidgety, or just chat about their days. Family dinner on the weekends, though.  

    I think we had kids transition to booster seats around 15 months or so -- but only because we needed the high chair for the next kiddo!
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Thank you for all of the awesome suggestions!

    I think I was putting too much pressure on myself to go from 0 to 60.  We can start out by sitting down together a couple of times a week.  And I will make it a goal to start cooking food on Sundays that we can eat during the week. We do sometimes freeze food if we make a big batch of chili or stew, but we need to get better about that.

    Maybe I thought that everyone else was feeding their LOs elaborate, healthy meals, so I couldn't figure out what DD was going to eat when we have frozen pizza... or pot pie... or soup... or BLTs...  :o)
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from winter09wedding. Show winter09wedding's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    fram- one of DS's favorites is mozzarella sticks- they are baked while we make the pizza- DH always steals a few.

    RE the high chair. DS started asking to sit at the table (using sign or pointing, not words) at around 15 months- and then one day just refused- kicking and screaming, throwing himself on the floor- flat refused. we didn't have a booster, so he just sat in a chair. we never made it to buy the booster. he still does the high chair in some restaurants, but refuses in others.  he is pretty big for his age, so he is only a little short.  sure it would be a bigger issue for the little tykes.
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    We have a stokke high chair, so she's always been pulled right up to the side of the table with us, and her food is on the table, not on a tray. 

    Definitely don't stress too much about what you're could make the world's most elaborate meal and she'd fling it just as happily as she would something that took half the time to prepare. 
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from dz76. Show dz76's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    With DD1, I thought family dinners were an absolute must and she would be ruined if we didn't all eat together.  Fast forward 2 kids later and five days a week my kids eat dinner at which ever side of the family they are with that day and come home ready for bed. They do get whatever is being served to try and if they won't eat it, they are offered something else.  DS will ALWAYS eat pasta and my DDs will always eat raisin toast.

    What I really struggle with is that all three won't eat the same things.  DS and DD2 very rarely will eat the same thing although usually DD1 will eat whatever one of the 15 month olds is eating so it is really only 2 meals (three if I include DH and me) that I have to make.  I swear sometimes I just want to pull my hair out while trying to discover what the kids will eat that night.  I was so much more firm with DD1 (still am) about what she wanted.  I would give her 2 options and if she didn't want either then that was fine. 

    At 15 months, the twins will eat (at times) just about anything like pasta, hot dogs, sausage, raisin bread, fruit, yogurt, pizza, frozen mini pancakes and crackers.  DD1 at 3.5 still prefers to stick to that list too.

    As for booster vs. high chair, I tell every first time mom to just go with a nice booster and not waste the space on a high chairs.  They are so portable and you can use them for so much longer.  I say that after getting a Peg Perego deluxe high chair for DD1 that we still use but it is also in the way alot.  My kids were using boosters as soon as they could sit up unassisted at my parent's who with 7 grand kids have never had a high chair.

  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Poppy, just keep in mind that switching to a booster seat is like switching to a big girl bed.  They have freedom and they're happy and it might be a good switch for you, but the kid will be free to escape and much less contained.  Be prepared for a lot more free-range snacking on meals OR be prepared to establish expectations about sitting and eating with the family for a certain amount of time.
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Fram, I posted a similar question about family dinners and evening schedules a while back. I was also very concerned since I grew up eating with my parents every night. At least what I remember... My mom said she never did when I was a toddler. As I'm learning, at least with my DS, it's just about getting food into him. My DS is so random with food. Daycare says he's one of their best eaters, but he's SO picky at home. He'll eat anything at a restaurant or at other people's homes...but gives me such a fuss at home. I feed him things that he will inhale, and then not touch again for a month. We are early out in the morning like Lissa, out by 6:15, so he has to be in bed no later than 7 to get 11 hours of sleep. And he's starving at 5:15-5:30. Way too early for DH and I to eat (DH often home around 6...yes, workaholic). Don't beat yourself up if you really have to explore foods of all kinds. Healthy, homemade is great...but I also found chic nuggets almost always work. They are baked, so hopefully not too unhealthy. At almost 16 mths, DS still loves feeding himself the veggie/fruit pouches (they can just suck on the end if they don't squeeze too hard). Meatballs of all types usually work, and can be baked fairly quickly in my countertop even. Tonight's dinner was nothing fabulous: Beechnut Mac and cheese with carrots, mandarin oranges, peach puffs and banana custard. I keep telling myself that I refuse to be a short order cook and throw away food...but I do it way more often than I like. Forget who said it, but between 12-24 months can be really tricky. Good luck!
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    For some reason, I can't edit the above. Few spelling errors. But also realized I didn't address the family eating together part. I really try on weekends as much as possible, even if we can just do lunches or breakfasts. And when either I or DH feeds DS dinner, we sit with him and talk and such. I do look forward to family meals when he's older and hopefully our schedule isn't as jam packed and tight.
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    Just start adding table foods in, slowly, that she can eat by herself - bits of chicken, steamed veges like peas, beans, corn, broccoli and cut up (TINY) fruits.  I'd say another thought is definitely to make more for your dinner each night so she can eat your last night's leftovers for tonights dinner, which can be microwaved quickly and she can eat while Daddy makes dinner.  this means he is chatting with her while she sits at her high chair and eats and he can still get dinner done for the two of you.

    (sounds heavenly, by the way, wish my husband would make dinner more often, but I digress)

    And for those whose children are having a hard time with the high chair at 15 months, try taking the tray off and pulling the chair up to the table - would it fit so your child could eat at the table, just in a taller chair? 

    Children at  15 mos old aren't often able to control their urges to get up during dinner, even if they are hungry, and having them get down and up from their booster seat 1000 times is disruptive, unsafe, and not good dinner habits, I don't think. 
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Transition to table food/family dinner

    a lot of booster seats still have one of those three point buckle things.
    For us we have a high chair (fisher price) that sits on a regular chair, and we took the shoulder straps off so she can move a bit more but kept the waist strap.  So we either pull that up to the table, or else leave the tray on if it's something messy, but still pull it tight up so we're eating around the same surface.
    We struggle a bit with the short order cook thing, but we've mostly gone with, "okay, you don't want that.  Do you want yogurt?"  So yogurt is her back up option that's always available.  If she doesn't want that, she is pretty much not hungry.
    Here is my question: what about grazing / second dinner?  Sometimes either DH is not home yet or I haven't planned enough time for dinner to be ready, so I give her something else.  Then she says she's done, she gets down and plays.  But then if we eat shortly after and she's still up, she wants to come sit at the table again and she'll usually eat more.  Do you think she's eating more than she's really hungry for, just to be social?  Or alternatively, maybe she's finishing up early the first time because she's bored eating by herself?