Healthy Finger Foods for Babies
Finger foods are just about anything that you can fit into your, well, fingers. When trying to figure out what finger foods your baby can eat, you want to consider small, bite- size pieces of food.
Finger foods are fun for you baby to play with and they're one step towards baby- independence. And, the ability to eat on your own, as a baby, is important to help his motor skills and coordination.
Because your baby is playing with his food, let him play. Then clean him up with a damp washcloth. This is great hands- on experience for your baby.
Introducing Finger Foods
You should introduce your baby to finger foods between the ages of 7 to 9 months old. Just listen out to your baby, and he'll tell you when he's ready for finger foods. He'll start grabbing the spoon from your hands or just taking food right off the plate.
At first, your baby will sort of just rake the food into his mouth, but with practice and motor skills, he'll figure out that he needs to use his thumb and forefinger to grab at the pieces.
When you first introduce finger foods to your baby, you want take full advantage of the highchair. Using the car seat or the stroller tray, you risk the chance of your baby choking on the food bits.
Choosing Finger Foods for Babies
Because your baby doesn't have many teeth, you'll want to choose foods that will dissolve quickly and easily, so to reduce any risks of choking. But, as your baby grows older, you will be able to give your child small pieces of just about anything.
Introduce your baby to a variety of foods with varying textures, tastes, and colors.
Good starter finger foods include:
- O- shaped cereal (find low sugar cereals)
- Lightly toasted bread or bagel pieces
- Small pieces of very ripe, peeled, and pitted fruits such as banana, mango, plum, pear, peach, cantaloupe, and watermelon
- Small pieces of tofu
- Well- cooked pasta cut into small pieces
- Small chunks of soft cheese
- Small bits of dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, or stewed prunes
- Well cooked vegetables such as carrots, peas, zucchini, potato, sweet potato, broccoli or cauliflower trees
- Extra small pieces of cooked chicken
- Rice cakes or crackers
Gerber now has a product of pre- made and pre- cut finger foods for toddlers. You may consider checking out these products. Most of them include crackers and cookie bits and puffed veggie snacks.
Finger Foods to Avoid
In order to prevent choking, you want to avoid the following foods.
- Raw vegetables and hard fruits
- Whole grapes or cherry tomatoes (to make these safe for your baby, peel the skin off the grapes and tomatoes and then cut them into quarters)
- Hot dogs and Vienna sausages (like the grapes, peel off the outer skin and cut into small pieces)
- White bread
- Hard cheese