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How to Choose the Best Baby Finger Foods

Updated on April 13, 2009
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Is my baby ready for finger foods?

Babies generally start eating finger foods when they are 7-10 months old. Before you start introducing these types of foods, make sure your baby can sit independently and is developing a pincher grasp - attempting to pick up small objects using the thumb and first finger.   If a baby has too much trouble trying to pick up food, he or she might get frustrated and not want to learn how to self-feed.

How to choose the right baby foods

When you are first introducing new foods to your baby, it's best to stick with foods you've already ruled out as potential allergens. Choose foods that are soft and mashable. Your baby should be able to chew them with just his gums. Baby cookies and crackers are not safe when you're first starting out, as these can break into smaller pieces and become choking hazards.

To make soft table foods more baby friendly, cut them up into small pieces. You can also try shredding some harder foods with a hand grater, like carrots and apples. Babies love to eat the shreds!

There are some foods that are considered unsafe to give to babies under one year old.  You should avoid:

  • whole eggs
  • cow's milk
  • peanuts or peanut butter
  • shellfish
  • honey

There are other foods that have a higher risk of allergic reaction. If someone in your family has food allergies, you may want to avoid tomatoes, citrus fruits, wheat, chocolate, strawberries, and gluten.  If you introduce these foods, make sure to test by giving your baby a small amount of the new food everyday for 4 days, and watch for any allergic reactions like rashes or diarrhea. 

Some Baby Finger Food Ideas

Soft Fruits (cut up into bite sized pieces, remove any seeds)

  • banana
  • grapes (cut into fourths)
  • melon
  • kiwi (seeds removed if younger than 10 months)
  • oranges
  • mandarin oranges
  • pears

Cooked Fruits (steam or bake until soft, cut into bite sized pieces)

  • peaches
  • apples

Cooked peeled veggies (steam or bake until soft, cut into bite sized pieces)

  • green beans
  • peas - smashed
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • corn kernels
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • squash

Fruits and Veggies to try shredded (uncooked)

  • apples
  • carrots

Other foods to try

  • pasta cut into small pieces
  • shredded chicken
  • shredded beef
  • Cheerios

What was the first finger food you fed your baby?

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