Is Your Baby Ready for Finger Foods?

6-12 Months

Finger foods are any small, bite-size foods that your baby can pick up and eat by himself. Because finger foods should be soft and diced, your baby doesn’t need teeth to eat them. His gums are strong, and he can easily mash soft food with them.

3 signs your baby is ready for finger foods

Look for these signs that she’s ready for finger foods:

  1. She can pick up food and put it into her mouth.
  2. She makes a chewing motion when she eats thicker, mashed baby foods.
  3. She seems to be losing interest in her pureed baby food.

Some parents first offer their baby puffs or rice rusks, which are easy to pick up and dissolve in the baby’s mouth. They can be a great way for your baby to practice before trying other finger foods. However, these foods provide little nutrition (they might even have some ingredients you don’t want, such as juice concentrate), so once your baby is ready for regular finger foods, there is no need to keep offering them

What if my baby is struggling to pick up food?

Learning to pick up food and move it to his mouth is a milestone that takes time. If your baby can’t get the food into his mouth on his own, he’s 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.