Baby's First Finger Foods
Finger foods are your baby’s first step in learning how to self feed him or herself. With practice and in time your little one will be able to self-feed most food by the time he/she is 12 to 14 months old.
Baby’s First Finger Foods
When is my baby ready for finger foods?
Around nine months is usually when babies are ready to start trying or eating finger foods. There are a few indications you need to look for to see if your baby is ready or not.
Can sit up by him/herself, without support
Fine motor skill, can pick up food by pinching it between his/her thumb and index finger. (some babied are full hand gabbers, that’s fine too. Watch to make sure they’re not stuffing their mouth)
Can easily chew and swallow tiny pieces of soft food.
What finger foods should I start with?
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great way to start! By now your little one should know what fruit their body can tolerate from jar or homemade baby food. (check out my blog on homemade baby food) If you are giving your little one new fruit or veggie, monitor them for 24 hours to see how they react to it.
Cut fruits and veggies into small pieces, about the size of a pea. Soft fruits are the way to go, if your little ones like more firm fruits such as apples, try steaming them a little to soften them up. Most veggies need to be baked, steamed or boiled before given to your little ones. Depending on how you choose to cook your veggies, they make take 3-10 minutes of cooking until they are soft enough for your little ones. Make sure they are cooled down pieces before you give them to your little ones. If you want to know if they are soft enough, the fruit/veggie should be easily mashed between yours (or your little ones) fingers.
Refrigerate fresh fruit and veggies within two hours of peeling or cutting them. Make sure you and your little one wash their hand before eating. Teach your little ones good eating habits by washing their hands before they eat. Along with keeping them safe from germs. (like the ones on your cell phone)
Fruits to start with:
Veggies to start with:
Other excellent finger food options:
Cheerios or any o-shaped (low sugar) cereal. (if you feel like cereal is a little tough for your little one, try dipping it in milk to soften them up a bit)
Graham Crackers or any crackers that get soft and easily dissolve in baby’s mouth.
Feeding your baby finger foods isn’t always a success at the beginning. Your little one may need to try a new food TEN TIMES or more before deciding to eat it. Set a great example for your little ones, if they see you eat them it will encourage them to do the same!
Offer finger foods at times your family eats. Watching everyone around them eat will encourage your little one to join in on self-feeding. It will get messy, TRUST ME, but eventually, your little one will become a suburb self-feeder.
If your baby was born early and you have concerns on if your little one is ready for finger foods, talk to your health care provider before offering food to your little one.
Food Safety to remember:
Remove hard seeds from any fruit/veggie your give your little ones.
Avoid hard pieces of fruits and veggies that could cause choking.
Cut fruit like cherries, berries, grapes and cherry tomatoes into 4 or more small pieces. NEVER give your baby full round fruits, ALWAYS cut them.
Avoid popcorn, raw peas, whole kernels of corn, and dried fruit.
Always remove skin and or peel your fruits/veggies.
Most importantly.. ALWAYS STAY WITH YOUR BABY WHILE EATING! An infant or toddler should NEVER be left alone to eat.
Baby’s first finger foods are yet another significant milestone for your little one! Make sure you take the best precautions when introducing new foods. Once your baby has finger foods down packed it is time for TABLEWARE! Check out this blog on Tableware For Toddlers!
What were your little one's favorite first finger foods?