Is Your Baby Ready for Finger Foods?
Finger foods are any small, bite-size foods that your baby can pick up and eat by themself. Because finger foods should be soft and diced, your baby doesn’t need teeth to eat them. Your baby's gums are strong, and they can easily mash soft food with them.
3 signs your baby may be ready for finger foods
Your baby may be ready for finger foods if they:
- Can pick up food and put it into their mouth.
- Make a chewing motion when they eat thicker, mashed baby foods.
- Seem to be losing interest in their pureed baby food.
Some parents may choose to start offering baby puffs, teething biscuits or rice rusks because they are easy to pick up and they dissolve in your baby's mouth. However, these foods provide little nutrition and may even contain ingredients you don’t want your baby to have (such as juice concentrate). If you're looking for a more nutritious option for your baby to practice with, try plain toasted oats cereal. Either way, once your baby is ready for regular finger foods, there is no need to keep offering the puffs, biscuits or rusks.
What if my baby is struggling to pick up food?
Learning to pick up food and move it to their mouth is a milestone that takes time. If your baby can’t get the food into their mouth on their own, they're not ready for it and could choke.
Tips for helping your baby pick up food:
- If the food is too slippery, like banana or avocado, smash some toasted oats cereal and roll the food in the crumbs for more texture.
- Pinch round foods like peas or beans. The flatter shape makes them easier to pick up.