It’s time to introduce the baby to finger foods and snacks! Introducing a new food or snack is an exciting milestone in your baby’s life.
Raising Baby to Finger Foods and Snacks can be done at any age, but you should know about the pros and cons before starting this process.
We’ll go over the basics of Introducing Baby to Finger Foods and Snacks so that you’re prepared for whatever comes next!
Baby Finger Food Safety
When choosing the best finger foods for a baby—whether you’re starting at six months or nine months—experts agree that it’s best, to begin with, small pieces of soft food that dissolve quickly.
As your infant grows and becomes comfortable eating finger foods, you can branch out, McCormack says.
“As a baby develops better tongue patterns to control food pieces as well as more mature chewing, he can better ‘chew’ the foods that break apart, like pieces of fruits and vegetables.
A one-year-old can also bite off pieces of food that a 6-month-old can’t.”
Dietz warns, avoid giving baby finger foods that are large, sticky, or don’t dissolve easily because they’re potential choking hazards.
He suggests steering clear of foods like hot dogs, carrots, nuts, grapes, popcorn, candy, and globs of peanut butter.
Another thing to keep in mind when you’re picking out the best finger foods for babies is that many adult foods—particularly snacks—can be super salty.
“Often parents will doctor a food so it appeals to their tastes, and their taste may have bigger amounts of sodium than a baby’s taste,” Dietz says.
When preparing food for the baby, leave out the salt whenever possible. (You can always add it separately to your portion if you’re cooking for the family).
How to Introduce New Finger Foods for Baby
When babies first start on finger foods, breast milk and formula will still be their primary source of nutrition, followed by purees.
It would help if you continued to spoon-feed your child initially, “but during the feeding process, they should also be allowed to feed themselves,” Dietz says.
Put some finger food on her highchair tray and let her try to get it into her mouth in between the spoonfuls of food you’re feeding her. If she gets frustrated, go ahead and help her out.
Most important, follow your child’s cues and “let your baby be the guide,” McCormack says. If he doesn’t respond positively, take a step back and try again later.
Dietz says but keeps in mind that babies often wrinkle up their faces when they try something new, which can look like they don’t like something.
It can take up to 20 times before they’re used to certain foods. “Parents shouldn’t force food, but they should be persistent in the offering,” Dietz says.
McCormack also suggests easing into finger foods by offering thicker purees with a bit of texture to them.
“Try alternating bites of the smooth puree with a slightly thicker or mashed food to help your baby get used to the new textures in her mouth,” she says.
Remember, too, that this is a messy process. Parents might want to lay newspaper or an easy-to-clean vinyl tablecloth on the floor since it’ll be a while (like years) before your kid manages to get more food in his mouth than on the floor, Dietz advises.
Finally, never leave the baby unattended while she’s eating, and keep an eye out for signs of choking. It may be tempting to hold off on introducing finger foods
until your child is older, but helping baby develop this skill has multiple benefits, McCormack says, including “development of independence, fine motor skills, and self-feeding skills, as well as the development of oral patterns to support texture progression.
” Whether you start baby finger foods at 6 or 9 months, follow the baby’s lead and let him have fun with it.
Best Finger Foods for Baby
Think about soft, trim, and easily gummed options if you’re looking for baby finger food ideas. Here are a few of the best finger foods for a baby to get started—including finger foods for a baby with no teeth!
While the same finger foods are as appropriate for a 6-month-old as they are for a one-year-old baby, you can begin to offer slightly more significant pieces that they can bite off themselves as they become more confident.
Stick with these healthy options, and you’ll start the baby off on the right path for healthy eating.
Best First Finger Foods for Baby
If your baby is ready to begin self-feeding, you’ll have two things to consider: do foods have good nutritional content and are the foods easily gummed without posing a choking hazard?
Whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado, banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon; Easy fruit puree popsicles that can be quickly frozen in moulds like these (puree any fruit or vegetables); Mashed chickpeas mixed with some warm water for “yogurt” consistency.
Introducing Baby to Snacks
Once the baby has mastered finger foods during meals (around 11 months or so), you may find that she’s interested in self-feeding in-between meals.
While offering snacks isn’t a good substitute for appeasing a tantrum or using in place of a pacifier, a snack can help the baby last until dinner is ready.
Decide where the baby will eat his snack. Will you use the highchair or go outside on a nice day? Find a consistent place for the baby to snack so healthy eating habits become part of your routine.
Before introducing the baby to snacks, recognize that having consistent snack times are essential. A small snack following an afternoon nap may be a good time for the baby to explore self-feeding.
There is an element of guess and check with baby snack times. You may find that baby is not as hungry or becomes disinterested in foods during meals. If this happens, you’ll want to hold off on snacks in between meals.
Dissuading the Picky Eater
Babies have zero expectations when it comes to food taste. By consistently introducing a variety of pureed foods at the sixth month, you’ll be setting baby up for success with different food tastes.
If it looks like you have a picky eater on your hands, take a step back and stop introducing the unwanted food. Come back to it in a couple of weeks and reintroduce it. Does the baby still refuse? Again, take a break and return to the undesired food in a couple of weeks.
Teaching babies to eat and discouraging pickiness is about parental persistence. Making sure the baby is hungry for meals (and hasn’t been snacking too much throughout the day) will also help.
With a trip to the grocery store and a bit of planning, you’ll be ready to introduce the baby to his first finger foods. This new step towards independence is another exciting milestone on the baby’s journey towards toddlerhood.
Introducing Baby to Finger Foods and Snacks
Introducing the baby to finger foods is an excellent step towards independence. Introduce babies to new flavours early and often for them to learn the different tastes available.
Explore healthy options such as whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado, banana, and cinnamon; easy fruit puree popsicles that can be quickly frozen in moulds like these (puree any fruit or vegetables); mashed chickpeas mixed with some warm water for “yogurt” consistency.
Introducing the baby to snacks is an excellent way to help the baby last until dinner time, but make sure that he has been fed and not snacked too much throughout the day.
Introducing babies to a consistent time for snacks will allow them to learn how their bodies feel when they are hungry and need food. If the baby rejects any foods, take a break before trying again in two weeks or so.
Persistence is vital – keep introducing new flavours until your child decides which ones he likes best.