When can you give babies finger foods
Finger Foods for Babies (for Parents)
When babies begin feeding themselves — a new task most really enjoy — they'll find that they like trying new tastes and textures.
By the time they're 9 months old, most babies have developed the fine motor skills — the small, precise movements — needed to pick up small pieces of food and feed themselves. You may notice that yours can take hold of food (and other small objects) between forefinger and thumb in a pincer grasp. The pincer grasp starts out a little clumsy, but with practice soon becomes a real skill.
Let your child self-feed as much as possible. You'll still help by spoon-feeding cereal and other important dietary elements. But encouraging finger feeding helps your child develop independent, healthy eating habits.
Finger feeding — and using utensils a little later — gives babies some control over what they eat and how much. Sometimes they'll eat the food, sometimes not, and that's all part of the process of learning self-regulation. Even little kids can tell when they're hungry or full, so let them learn to recognize and respond to these cues.
What Should a Baby Eat?
Now that they're joining the rest of the family for meals, older babies are ready to try more table foods.
This means more work for whoever makes the meals for the family, but dishes often can be adapted for the baby. For instance, your little one can have some of the zucchini you're making for dinner. Cook that serving a bit longer — until it's soft — and cut it into pieces small enough for the baby to handle. Pieces of ripe banana, well-cooked pasta, and small pieces of chicken are other good choices.
Before giving your child a finger food, try a bite first and ask yourself:
- Does it melt in the mouth? Some dry cereals and crackers that are light and flaky will melt in the mouth.
- Is it cooked enough so that it mushes easily? Well-cooked veggies and fruits will mush easily, as will canned fruit and vegetables (choose ones without added sugar or salt).
- Is it soft? Cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and small pieces of tofu are good examples.
- Can it be gummed? Pieces of ripe banana and well-cooked pasta can be gummed.
- Is it small enough? Food should be cut into small pieces. The sizes will vary depending on the food's texture. A piece of chicken, for instance, needs to be smaller than a piece of watermelon, which even a pair of baby gums will quickly smash.
If your child doesn't like a food, don't let that stop you from offering it at future meals. Kids are naturally slow to accept new tastes and textures. For example, some are more sensitive to texture and may reject coarse foods, such as meat. When introducing meat, it's helpful to start with well-cooked ground meats or shreds of thinly sliced deli meats, such as turkey.
Present your baby with a variety of foods, even some that he or she didn't seem to like the week before. Don't force your baby to eat, but realize that it can take 10 or more tries before a child will accept a new food.
Finger Foods to Avoid
Finger feeding is fun and rewarding for older babies. But avoid foods that can cause choking and those with little nutritional value.
Parents and caregivers can help prevent choking by supervising the baby during eating. Foods that are choking hazards include:
- pieces of raw vegetables or hard fruits
- whole grapes, berries, cherry or grape tomatoes (instead, peel and slice or cut in quarters)
- raisins and other dried fruit
- peanuts, nuts, and seeds
- large scoops of peanut butter and other nut or seed butters (use only a thin layer)
- whole hot dogs and kiddie sausages (peel and cut these in very small pieces)
- untoasted bread, especially white bread that sticks together
- chunks of cheese or meat
- candy (hard candy, jelly beans, gummies, chewing gum)
- popcorn, pretzels, corn chips, and other snack foods
Hold the Sweets
At first bite, your baby probably will love the taste of cookies, cake, and other sweets, but don't give them now. Your little one needs nutrient-rich foods, not the empty calories found in desserts and high-fat snacks, like potato chips.
It's tempting to want to see the baby's reactions to some of these foods, but now is not the time. Grandparents and others may want to rush your baby into trying triple-chocolate cake or some other family favorite. Politely and firmly explain that the baby isn't ready for those foods. You can blame this tough love on your child's doctor — the doctor won't mind.
Giving Baby Finger Foods at 7-8 Months
Written by Rebecca Felsenthal Stewart
Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 09, 2022
Month 7, Week 3feature
Once your baby is a pro at eating soft mashed foods, they may be ready to move on to finger foods around 8 months. They have the dexterity to pick the food up and release it or mash it, and will become more efficient and independent as they master the pincer grip around 9 months. At that point they'll be able to use their thumb and forefinger to pick up the small chunks of food.
Your baby may grab at everything on your plate, but follow these guidelines for healthy and safe feedings.
- Start with menu items like pieces of soft cheese; small pieces of pasta or bread; finely chopped soft vegetables; and fruits like bananas, avocado, and ripe peaches or nectarines. These foods should require minimal chewing, as your baby may not yet have teeth. Do NOT let them have hot dogs, raw vegetables, nuts, meats, hard candy, or sticky textures such as nut butters that have increased choking risks at this stage.
- Introduce new foods one at a time in case there are any concers about allergies.
- Chop all foods into soft, bite-sized pieces, 1/2 inch or smaller.
- Watch out for choking hazards: Avoid round, firm foods like carrots, grapes, and hot dogs and skip anything like raw veggies and peanuts. Raisins and popcorn are dangerous for babies.
- Keep up your formula or breastfeeding schedule, but as your baby eats more solids, they’ll naturally start to take less milk. Your baby needs to start eating more solids and drinking less milk for the nutritional value at this stage.
Your Baby's Development This Week
Your baby is getting stronger and may even be moving around, whether they are sliding around on their belly in reverse, scooting on their behind, or actually crawling forward. If you haven’t childproofed your house already, don’t wait any longer!
You may notice these growing signs of motor development:
- Your baby is probably now able to sit on their own for several minutes, without using their hands for support and they may be able to get up into a sitting position all by themselves.
- While you offer them support, they should be able to bounce up and down, and possibly even pull up to a stand.
- Their little hands are increasingly agile -- they are getting better at passing a toy back and forth from one to the other.
You might wonder about:
- Their vision. Your baby should be able to see nearly as far as an adult by now and can track moving objects with their eyes.
- Stranger anxiety. You’re not imagining it: They may fear new people and situations. So give them time to warm up and reassure them if they are upset.
- What they can understand. Your baby might comprehend more than you realize, so it’s important to keep talking to them about everything you’re doing and try to be consistent about the words you use for familiar objects.
Month 7 Week 3 Tipstips
- If food allergies run in the family, talk to your pediatrician about introducing highly allergenic foods like peanuts and eggs.
- Fried foods are not good choices for babies. If you offer them at all, do so rarely.
- Avoid feeding your baby juice unless it is fresh-squeezed.
- By now, your baby’s diet should include grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats, and they should be eating two to three meals a day.
- In addition to rice, barley, or oat cereal, you can introduce grain products your baby can grab, such as toast, crackers, and dry cereal. Avoid any colorful, sugary cereals.
- Sit baby in their high-chair for feeding time. If they eat finger foods while crawling around, they are more likely to choke.
- You’re not done with breast feeding or bottle feeding. Your baby is starting the transition, but breast milk and formula are still key.
- Pureeing or mashing vegetables may make them easier for your baby to eat when they are first transitioning from a liquid diet to solids.
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Finger food - Encyclopedia Baby foodViktoria Levchuk©
Finger food is baby food prepared in the form of pieces of boiled soft food so that the child can independently take it and transfer it to the mouth, chew it or swallow it without anyone help and any problems.
Finger food is a fun way to encourage the development of motor coordination and skills for biting, chewing and self-feeding. Food in pieces should be easy to grasp by children's fingers and long-term storage, and should not contain bones or seeds.
As soon as the child begins to take food with his fingers and put it into his mouth with reasonable hand-eye coordination, then the fun begins! Let your child experiment with soft snacks such as a banana or peach that can be “hand-mashed” to the right consistency. The more a child experiments with finger food, the faster he will masterfully feed himself.
Finger food helps keep a child's food interest. As soon as he begins to feed himself on his own, then new taste horizons open up for him. What child refuses to try to bring the product to his mouth on his own, even if he didn’t really like it before.
Very often mothers think at what age should they give finger food to their baby.
Honestly, even for me it's a difficult question. It's just that sometime between eight and nine months, the baby began to eat small pieces of food. The change in the consistency of food by age is very well described in the WHO recommendation, so it should be guided by.
Food consistency up to a year. Click on me!!!
However, you should not do it blindly and try to feed the baby in pieces at a certain age, perhaps he will not be ready yet. Children are all different, some want food in pieces, almost from the beginning of complementary foods, others are not ready for lumpy food for up to a year or more. Therefore, any decision on finger food is made based on the child and his readiness. An excellent preparation for finger food is a nibbler, which will prepare the child for lumpy food.
The child has no teethClick on me!!!
A child's gums are incredibly strong, as is the tongue, so the number of teeth is not an indicator of whether to give finger food or not. If the decision has been made to start complementary foods and the baby is doing well with mashed foods, then you can safely start giving small pieces of soft food when the baby is ready for it. At this stage, it is important to let the child try to eat food of a different consistency, more complex, in order to train the maxillofacial apparatus. Thus, the child gradually prepares for the full chewing of food with the help of the entire jaw, teeth and tongue.
Knowing if finger food is safe for a child
A good rule of thumb to help prevent choking is to avoid anything hard (e.g. raw carrots), round (e.g. whole grapes), sticky (e. g. , spoon of nut butter) or too much gummies (such as gummies). At first, the child is given pieces of food in the form of sticks, which can be easily clamped in the child's chick, later, when the child begins to control the finger grip better, you can move on to cubes. At first, finger food should be soft, boiled and melt in your mouth. As a child learns to manage with such products, it is possible to complicate the task and switch to fresh soft foods, etc.
Foods that squeeze easily between fingers are good for older children and for younger children. Around 16-18 months, many babies are ready for more complex textures. During this period, cutting food into pea-sized pieces is also a good idea - many babies tend to put large pieces of food in their mouths, so small cubes are used to avoid choking. We always adjust the sizes of products according to the age and eating experience of our own child.
Usually the first finger food is biscuits or baby biscuits, which are very soft and dissolve easily in the mouth. The baby first sucks it, procrastinates, and learns to roll pieces of food in the mouth with the help of the tongue. A little later, when the teeth appear, you can give the product a little harder, for example, a soft apple, some parents play it safe and give a baked apple without a peel. Later, as new foods, vegetables and fruits are introduced into complementary foods, they are offered in the form of finger food, such as boiled broccoli or cauliflower. In general, the child can be offered almost all products in the form of finger food, which is introduced into baby food.
Should the product be peeled or not?We give an apple to a child without a peel.
The first finger foods in the form of vegetables and fruits are given without skins. Yes, the skin of many fruits and vegetables contains valuable nutrients. It is often recommended to leave the skin on in order to take full advantage of the nutrients contained in the product. But removing the top layer from fruits and vegetables helps reduce the amount of pesticides that may be in the product. Peeling fruits and vegetables helps avoid choking hazards due to the rough texture of the skins. The peel also usually sticks to the palate in the child's mouth, thereby hindering him, and can be there for a long time, and when the child swallows, the probability of choking in the absence of an adult nearby is higher. Getting rid of the skin at the beginning of complementary foods also helps prevent disordersBanana is convenient to eat with a small hand
digestion. And we also take into account that there are some vegetables and fruits, such as pumpkin and avocado, which need to be peeled, because their peel is really inedible. It is not worth getting rid of the product from the peel for a long time, only at first. Usually the first couple of months of complementary foods and exposure to finger food. Then the product with the peel is given to the child in the presence of an adult, after which it is advisable to check the baby's mouth to see if he swallowed everything. Forcibly open your mouth should not be, play the game "Show your tongue or where are your teeth." By the age of 1.5, the child copes well with the peel of fruits and vegetables, if it is too rough, then it easily spits it out.
The presence or absence of teeth does not mean that a child can chew. Sometimes children can bite off a piece of food, try to swallow it whole and choke, so never leave a child alone while eating. Some children can store food in their mouths like hamsters, so we always check to make sure the child has swallowed everything before leaving the kitchen. You can read the article on suffocation here.
Our finger foods
At first I gave biscuits to my first child, later I switched to a fresh apple, mostly fresh fruits, he sucked and procrastinated them more than he ate. Later, food appeared in the form of a toy, i.e. we crumbled it, crushed it, and sometimes something got into our mouths. However, since breast milk is always given at the end of complementary foods, I was not too worried about whether the baby was full or not.
With the second child, finger food was a gradual transition from the nibbler. We used it for about a month, then I ventured to give the first pieces of food. But to be honest, the child himself tried the first pieces of food, namely, he stole an apple and took a bite. The first experience of finger food is always scary, because at first the child often coughs and spits out food, he is learning, so it is important to be with the child, if something goes wrong, then the parent will be able to provide first aid. I remind you that the child is suffocating quietly, not a single sound. If he coughs, clears his throat, then everything is within the normal range, you need to help get rid of the food that interferes. Rules for helping with choking know before introducing finger food into complementary foods. It is imperative to look and study, and then give a new consistency of complementary foods.
Of course, at first, only one type of finger food is placed in front of the baby, later a plate is bought, divided into three to five sections, which is filled with finger food. The baby is already given a choice of what to eat, so you can easily determine the taste preferences in nutrition.
Finger food quick hacks
- The first finger food should be well kneaded between the gums.
- Food in pieces should be age appropriate - do not offer whole eggs to an 8 month old baby .
- If the child cannot raise his head and sit up without help, do not offer him finger food.
- The child should always sit in an upright position, not walk, especially at the first meeting, when he is offered baby food in the form of pieces, to avoid suffocation.
- NEVER leave your child unattended when serving finger food.
Examples of finger food
The first finger food is a biscuit or a baked apple. Those. food that does not need to be chewed, it melts easily in the mouth without additional help from the child. You can start with foods that have been well received by the child in a pureed form on a spoon, serving them in convenient cubes or pieces - the size of a pea for harder items, the size of a stick or wedge for softer foods.
Examples of finger food are:Click me!!!
- pieces of soft bread or crackers
- Soft cheese, Chedder or Mozarella
- Ripe pear without peel
- Ripe soft green apple without a peel, the first time you can give boiled
- Boiled cabbage
- . carrots
- Boiled potatoes
- Boiled green peas
- Boiled pumpkin
- Boiled fish
- Boiled meat in the form of meatballs
- Quail eggs, etc.
*All products must be familiar to the child or introduced into complementary foods.
Finger Foods to Avoid
When it comes to feeding your baby with morsels, the biggest problem is preventing choking. So we do not allow him to eat anything without the presence of parents or any adult nearby. And we exclude any food that can get stuck in the child's airways:Click me!!!
- Nuts, peanuts,
- raisins and other dried fruits,
- raw vegetables (e. g. carrots),
- Cherries without bones, hard fruit and vegetables with a peel of
- Zhevaliy Confinctions
- popcorn, pretzels, corn chips and other snack foods
- marshmallows, etc.
Most doctors do not recommend these foods until the child can eat them safely - around 4 years (although it depends on the child, closer to 3 or 5 years).
Finger menu. Meals for babies
In fact, there is a whole book with "finger" recipes for little children who have not yet mastered cutlery, but can already eat with their hands. But I didn’t read it (once), but in the course of random experiments in our family, such finger dishes for our baby became popular.
Usually at 6 months, babies begin to receive complementary foods in addition to the main food (breast milk or adapted formula). Of course, at first it is mashed potatoes and liquid cereals, juices - something that is easy to swallow. But the child grows and quickly masters chewing skills (even if he has very few or no teeth at all!), improves fine motor skills and shows independence. All these skills help to develop food, especially if it is appetizing, entertaining and you can eat it yourself.
After a year, it usually becomes easier for parents - the baby already eats a lot from the common table, allergies for many go away or are not so acute - and it's time to turn meals into a joyful activity.
It is common to give children dairy products/cottage cheese, cereals, vegetables, fruit and meat/fish during the day. Here are some examples from personal experience.
We have breakfast with cats and dogs (do not be afraid, not a single cat or dog was hurt!) Many children periodically refuse porridge. Do not want and that's it! You can diversify cereal food and give self-baked cakes instead of porridge (you can also just make children's cookies or bread, but this is not so useful and interesting).
It only takes a short time to mix 2-3 cups of baby porridge (rice, buckwheat, corn, or multi-grain) with about 1 cup of milk (or if the porridge is dairy, water), an egg, and a tablespoon of cane sugar (but usually prepared porridge is already sweet, then you can not add sugar). You can add berries or some grated fruit or chopped nuts, put on a baking sheet greased with olive oil, an ordinary tablespoon or teaspoon with neat rounds, or faces, or hearts (the fantasy is limitless - you can "draw" everything that your baby loves) and put in an oven preheated to 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Voila, your baby will be happy to eat delicious and lovingly prepared healthy food by mom!
You can also add baby cottage cheese instead of milk to this recipe - it will also be delicious.
We dine with green trees and the sun. Boiled broccoli is so healthy and so similar to a tree or a bush that if you give a child a little show and show how you can eat it all, he will surely be delighted.
My daughter is one year old, she knows how tall the trees are in the street. At lunch, I once showed her, using the example of broccoli, how you can pick it up yourself and show a tall tree. She proudly takes a piece, lifts it up, and then happily puts it in her mouth. Cauliflower for her is a "blooming" tree.
Slices of boiled carrots or peppers (but it takes longer and you need to remove the skin so that the baby does not choke) or potatoes, or half an egg yolk can serve as the sun. You can also take the sun, show how bright it shines and ... gobble it up!
Cucumber straw weed, tomato flowers and green peas - the most common foods can be served as an entertaining side dish so that the baby develops fine motor skills by picking up pieces with his hands, learns to chew on his own (which does not happen with puree) and, importantly, learns to control feeling full, eating exactly as much as his body requires.
Meat or fish meatballs or pieces of large "adult" cutlets will perfectly play the role of "balls", "balls", running past the "bears". Yes, and just a "patty" like a child, if he sees how she likes her mother.
From the pulp of bread you can "make" a flower or an animal and give it to your child as a reward for a wonderfully eaten dinner!
We have lunch from a cup. All children learn to drink independently in different ways. Someone quickly learns to hold a cup with both hands and drink from it;
In any case, encourage and help your baby improve by giving him more opportunities to drink without your help, offer different options - and let him choose the one that he likes at the moment.
A glass of milk, milk drink, yoghurt or baby kefir is good for an afternoon snack. You can have a snack with not too hard chopped or even whole fruit (if it is convenient for the baby to hold it, for example, a banana) or a bagel, or diet bread (because it crunches so funny!).
Princess's dinner on a pea. In my case, this is the princess "on the berry". As soon as the season of berries has begun, the daughter no longer wants to eat porridge from a spoon, but if a delicious berry flaunts on top of each spoon, then another thing! Many more parents give the child a second spoon so that he also has the opportunity to carry it in a plate and learn to eat with it.