Introducing your little one to baby finger foods is an exciting time. This guide will help you decide when your baby is ready and suggests some ideal foods to try.
If any of the foods mentioned here are new to your baby, then remember to apply the four day rule as you introduce them. This helps you identify – and avoid – potential food allergies and digestive problems.
Are you skipping purees and offering finger foods from the very beginning?
As with most aspects of solid feeding, there is NO HARD AND FAST RULE here!
All babies are different. Some like lumpy food, some don’t. Some will try to grab the food from your plate, some will appear totally disinterested! Anxiety starts creeping in when we try to compare one child to another, or try to stick rigidly to a feeding schedule.
Instead, it’s useful to trust your instincts and watch your baby for signs of readiness … with a little guidance, of course!
Generally, babies become interested in finger foods anywhere from 6 to 9 months of age, although most babies tend to start at around 8 months.
By this stage, your baby is usually developing the “pincer grip” – i.e. grasping objects between the thumb and index finger.
Finger feeding actually encourages this development and helps with hand-to-mouth co-ordination – after all, a tasty morsel of food is a great incentive!
Your little one will probably be sitting well, without support – it’s not a good idea to offer your baby finger foods before he can sit unsupported as there is a higher risk of choking (see foods to avoid for a list of foods that can present a choking hazard).
Contrary to what many parents are led to believe, he doesn’t need them and can manage certain foods very nicely by mashing them between his gums. In fact, babies’ gums are pretty hard, as any breast-feeding mother can confirm!
Baby finger foods should, therefore, be soft enough to break into small pieces, be swallowed easily, or simply melt in the mouth.
Enjoy watching your little one come to grips with these healthy baby finger foods …
By feeding himself, your baby has gained a little independence and you can feel confident that he is enjoying a safe and nutritious menu.