Healthy Baby Finger Foods
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?
At what age should I introduce baby finger foods?
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).
My baby seems ready for finger foods, but he doesn’t have any teeth …
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.
Finger food ideas for baby
For some ideal foods to try, visit
perfect baby finger foods
Learn how to make delicious whole wheat bread for baby
Or try out these ideas for finger foods for baby,
sent in by our readers!
Baby finger foods – handy hints and tips
- Introduce finger foods one at a time and slowly add new ones.
Offer a variety of colours and textures.
- Your baby will want to touch, smell, taste and play with his food …
stay relaxed about the mess
and let him experiment.
- To keep mess to a minimum, only give your baby two or three pieces of
food at a time – any more will probably end up on the floor!
Put the food in a suction-type bowl that will stick to the table, or straight on to
the high chair table itself.
- Coat slippery foods, like banana or
in finely crushed cereal powder or nutritious wheat germ –
it makes them easier to pick up.
- If your baby doesn’t like a certain type of food, try it again a few
weeks later – babies tastes change all the time. If he refuses all finger foods,
be patient and keep trying – you’re sure to offer him something to catch his interest eventually!
- Baby finger foods make perfect snacks between meals, to “tide your baby over”.
But be careful not to allow your baby more snacks than he really needs, as he may become
less interested at meal times.
- If your baby is teething, offer him cold finger foods to soothe his gums –
try freezing pieces of
or banana for the ultimate in gum relief!
- Pack some healthy travel snacks for baby wherever you go – it will keep
him occupied and makes life a lot easier, particularly if you
go out for a meal.
- ALWAYS supervise your baby and NEVER leave him to feed himself alone.
Baby Food Chart
Enjoy watching your little one come to grips with these healthy baby finger foods …
that he is enjoying a safe and nutritious menu.