Parents with babies who just started solid food sometime will have tough time to find proper finger foods and recipes. Even though it is a thrilling experience to feed baby not all babies will show interest eating the food that parents wants them to eat. Transition from mushy foods to finger foods means baby will start eating by using her little fingers. Picking food and putting in mouth helps baby to develop coordination between hand and mouth and improves motor skills. Baby also will start developing taste buds and will show tantrums to eat.
When to start finger foods? Introduce finger food when baby is between 7-9 months of age. This is when most babies start grasping, learned how to use hands and putting fingers in mouth.
Before starting finger food make sure your baby is ready for:
- Sitting on high baby stool
- Has control on head and trunk
- Able to bring hand to mouth
- Shows interest in food and while you eat wants to grab food from you.
Which are the best finger foods parents can provide for baby?
- Fruits: Mango, papaya, fresh blueberries cut into half, raspberries cut into small pieces, watermelons, cherries (seeds removed and cut into 4 pieces), apple slices, muskmelons, banana, cut grapes, cut pear are best finger foods. You can give all of them together in a baby’s bowl or give one fruit finger food at a time.
- Vegetables: Cooked sweet potato or baked sweet potato, carrots, pumpkins, small cut and boiled broccoli, cooked squash, green peas, roasted zucchini – these are best for babies. Add little butter or ghee with slight touch of salt for extra flavor.
- Raw veggeis: Cucumber slices, cut grape tomatoes or regular tomatoes,
- Avocado diced and smashed pieces are recommended
- Teething biscuits, lightly toasted pieces of bread, dry cereal (like cheerios)
- Peanut butter puffs, puffs, pancake cut into smaller pieces
- Pieces of tofu is good for baby. Dice and sauté it slightly or steam it. Shredded cheese is healthy too.
- Boiled corn that is sweet and soft can be served
- Well cooked spaghetti pieces with boiled veggie pieces is recommended.
- If you are planning to give beans, well cooked bean is good source of protein.
- Babies make faces when they eat. Do not assume that they don’t like what you gave. They want to scrunch the nose and don’t fall for it!
- For each meal choose 2-3 foods from food groups. Include some fats and protein. Mixing food groups is a good idea. When they grow up it serves as healthy snack item.
- Prepare fresh food and serve slightly warm food. Make sure whatever you serve is cut into small pieces and baby can hold it and can put in little mouth
- Start with small portions and see how baby feels. Give importance to texture of food – food should be soft but not mushy. Baby should have a grip on food. Best is to start with stick shaped foods.
- Keep separate baby bowl. Fill the bowl with food or in a small baby plate that also has puree to dip into.
- If you have leftovers put food in airtight container and keep in fridge. Do not feed cold food to baby. Make sure to warm food before giving it to baby
- Sometimes the food you cook for family with less or no spices can be smashed and given to baby. If you are serving curry – take few pieces of vegetables, wash in water before giving it to baby so that there is no spice in the veggie. It takes time for baby to get used to spices and flavors. Best is to give bland food with little salt, butter, or ghee.
Which finger foods should parent avoid?
- Any hard vegetables and fruits and larger pieces that baby cannot handle and cannot put in mouth
- Do not give fruits with seeds. Remove seeds from fruits. Seeds can go inside windpipe and create difficulty.
- Do not give chewing gum or jelly type of food
- No popcorn, pretzels, and hard crust food
- Avoid giving nuts – sometimes nuts can cause allergy. Till you find out about baby’s nuts allergy do not give nuts.
- No candies, marshmallows, and spicy foods.
- No sweets, potato chips or junk foods.
Watch baby eating, interfere only when you feel she has not eaten the quantity that she should be eating for her age. Encourage eating healthy foods. Parents should join baby or bring baby to dining area and make her sit with you for meal. As parents and family eat, baby will also get curious and imitates. This will make baby eat her food.
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: March 3, 2022