As your baby becomes more comfortable with eating soft pureed foods, you might want to start them onto trying some finger foods. Finger foods should be introduced at around 8 months when your baby has the dexterity to pick up foods and place them into their mouth.
Introducing finger foods is a great way to develop your baby’s fine motor skills, get them used to different flavours and textures, and help them understand portion control, as they will stop eating once they are full.
Your baby will more than likely be really excited to pick up all types of foods on your plate, but you still need to be careful with what you introduce to them at this age.
Guidelines To Introduce Finger Foods
Read through these guidelines to understand how to healthily and safely introduce finger foods to your baby.
- Start with simple single foods such as pieces of soft cheese, small chunks of bread, pasta pieces, finely chopped soft vegetables, and cut up fruit such as banana, avocado, and soft, ripe peaches. These foods do not need much chewing.
- Avoid food items such as hot dogs, nuts, meats, raw vegetables, hard candy or nut butter which could pose serious choking risks at this stage.
- You should introduce foods one at a time in case there are any food allergies. This way you will be able to determine which food your baby has reacted to.
- Chop all food items into small, soft, bite-sized pieces, around ½ inch or smaller.
- Do not give your baby foods like carrots, grapes and raisins or popcorn. Once again, these items are choking hazards and your little one is not equipped to eat them yet.
- Keep up your breastfeeding or formula feeding schedule. Your baby will still depend on their milk for their main nutrition. Your goal is to introduce solids now, not replace milk with solids. As your baby grows, they will consume less milk and instead prefer solids.
- Follow your baby’s cues, and don’t force any food. It might take up to 20 tries for your baby to try pasta or veggies. Let them work at their own pace. Forcing them to eat could develop a bad relationship with food. It might even make them more reluctant to try out new foods.
- Finger foods can be really fun for your little one, but it can also be a messy process. Lay down a placemat or some newspaper to catch any food that is dropped or messed.
Finger Foods And Your Baby
Introducing finger foods to your baby can be a really exciting, yet nerve-wracking time for you as a parent. It is exciting to help your baby try out some new food, but there is always the worry of choking hazards and allergies. The best option is to take it easy and only give your baby small pieces of safe food. These need to be easy to eat, as well as easy to pick up and hold.
This is an exciting time, so enjoy it and take it slow with your baby!