Has your infant been consuming purees and is now prepared to advance in their gastronomic journey? Does your infant frequently attempt to snatch food from your hands? If so, what should you give your child now that you know they are ready for solids? Once your baby has mastered purees, you can introduce finger foods to them (if you are doing the traditional weaning approach). All infants will experience this differently, but it often occurs between the ages of 6-9 months. Around this time, your baby should be mastering the palmar grasp, developing the pincer grasp, and learning how to bring her hands to her mouth.
The precise age at which to introduce finger foods will depend on your baby and the strategy you employ, but a range of 6 to 9 months is typical. Just don't delay the introduction of finger foods for too long. If your child was born prematurely or there are any developmental issues, they may need to start later than this range. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, proteins, and carbs can all be prepared in a variety of ways for infants.
Children who have been introduced to to finger foods should be supervised at all times to prevent any risk of choking.
Foods that are soft
Initially, foods for fingers should be so soft that they can be squeezed between two fingers. In order for your infant to comfortably gnaw, suck, chew, and move the food around their mouths, you want their first foods to be soft.
Some foods, such as mangos, bananas, and avocados, are already soft enough for babies to eat without further cooking. Other tough fruits and vegetables will need to be roasted or steam-cooked.
Serve foods that are simple for babies to grasp with their palms should be cut into 2-3 inch strips for babies 6 to 9 months of age. This is about the size of two adult fingers. You can cut food into little "pea" size pieces for babies 9 to 12 months so they can practise using their pincer grasp.
These ten foods make a delicious first meal for your baby and are nutrient-dense, and simple to prepare.
- Slices or cubes of avocado
- Banana cut into long pieces.
- Sweet potatoes can be roasted or cooked for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Salmon: Remove skin and flake off chunks for the baby after baking at 180 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Broccoli: roasted or steamed for 8 to 10 minutes
- Eggs: fried, scrambled, omelette strips, boiled and cut into strips.
- Yoghurt can be given to a baby using a self-feeding spoon or left for them to play with.
- Green beans can be roasted or cooked for 8 to 10 minutes.
When babies are eating they can get very messy, especially when trying to feed themselves, make sure you stock up on bibs like this and choose soft ones so the baby is also comfortable while eating and experiencing all the new flavours and textures. You can also get cute designs like star print and other things to make it more fun too.
The general guideline is that the younger the baby, the larger the food portion should be. Although it may seem strange, larger pieces of food allow your infant to hold onto them while chewing and sucking them without providing a significant choking risk. You should cut meals for infants 6 to 9 months old into sticks or strips that are 2-3′ long and about the size of two adult fingers. You can shred or cut meals into "pea" size pieces for infants 9 to 12 months old.
- Bananas: You can roll sliced bananas in crushed Cheerios or Baby Puffs cereal.
- Avocado: ripe avocado in thin slices or little bits.
- Meat can be cut into thicker, shredded, or long meatball strip forms.
- Sweet potato: large wedges of steamed or baked sweet potatoes, or smaller, chopped portions.
- Smaller broccoli florets or chopped, steamed or roasted broccoli bits.
- Serve hard-boiled eggs in quarters, pieces, or as scrambled eggs.
- Apples should be sliced or finely chopped, then steamed or sautéed until soft.
- Serve a low sugar pancake to the infant, either whole or in little bits.
The age at which you begin introducing solid foods to your baby is the fundamental distinction between baby-led weaning and finger foods. Baby-led weaning is a feeding method that skips the spoon-fed puree stage and jumps immediately into solid foods. It typically begins about 6 months of age.