Tips when giving your baby finger foods
- Your baby may want to start feeding themselves at around eight months. But they won’t have developed enough coordination to use a spoon, so finger foods are perfect. These are not only good for your baby to eat but also encourage them to use their hands and develop coordination!
- Foods with more lumpy textures and finger foods help your baby to develop and refine their chewing technique – which in turn helps with speech development and strengthens jaw muscles.
- Your baby may refuse to eat lumpy food from a spoon or fork, but will eat finger foods even though these also require chewing.
- Always sit with your baby when giving finger foods to make sure they don’t choke.
- Keep your baby sitting up when eating, to reduce the risk of choking.
- When they have finished, check inside their mouth and remove food they haven’t swallowed.
- Often it’s better to offer a large piece of fruit or vegetable your baby can hold and eat, rather than bite-size pieces.
- Put a large mat under the high chair to catch dropped food.
Baby Arabia recommended finger foods
Start with foods that are quite soft, as babies can bite off a piece of a hard food such as raw carrot, and choke on it. Baby Arabia recommends the following:
- Steamed vegetables: carrot or sweet potato sticks, small broccoli or cauliflower florets
- Soft ripe fruit: banana, peach, melon or mango
- Cooked pasta shapes, with a little sauce or melted butter and grated
- Soft dried fruits: apricots, apples, prunes
- Sticks of cucumber
- Fingers of toast, rice cakes or miniature sandwiches
- Dry breakfast cereals
- Hard-boiled egg cut into quarters. (Egg allergy affects 1-2% of children but most outgrow this by age 5-7 so if your child is affected don’t introduce eggs into their diet until later.)
- Sticks of mild cheese
- Slices or chunks of chicken or turkey
- Miniature meatballs of minced chicken, turkey, lamb or beef
Finally, if you give your baby dried apricots, choose darker, sulphur-dioxide-free ones. Sulphur dioxide is used to preserve their bright orange color, but can trigger an asthma attack in susceptible babies.