On Call: Starting
Q. If we give our 1-year-old baby food, he gobbles it up. But when it's table food, he refuses. Are we rushing him?
A. Nope. At his age, he should be able to eat soft table food -- in fact, it should make up most of his diet. My Dominican patients are routinely given overcooked rice and beans after they turn 6 months old with no problem. I suspect that your son is having a taste and texture issue -- he likes what he knows.
So ease him into new foods. Put different options -- such as banana, rice, cooked beans, potato, meat, and overcooked pasta -- on his high-chair tray for him to explore (make sure to cut up the meat into quarter-inch pieces, so he won't choke, and no shellfish or peanuts, which may cause allergic reactions). Feel free to feed him whatever you're eating yourself; it'll make your life easier. You can also try mixing table food in with a baby food he likes, to get him used to a new taste. Be patient -- it may take months for him to adapt.
One more trick: If you aren't doing so already, bring his high chair over to the table when you're eating there so that he feels like he's part of the meal. He may be more interested in real food if he sees you chomping on it.