Introducing solids to babies is certainly an exciting phase to both parents and babies. The messy high chairs, allergies and potential choking hazards are nerve racking. But while you should certainly exercise caution, there are some great options to make your baby an independent eater. Finger foods are one of them. It’s a great idea that will make your baby’s mealtime fun and nutritious, and let your growing child practice the important art of self-feeding.
Right Age to Introduce Finger Foods:
There’s no hard and fast rule to serve finger foods, you can introduce finger foods whenever you find your baby ready for it. Every parent must focus on baby’s interest rather than the diet. You should always look for signs to know when baby’s interest is piqued. Reaching for the food as you’re feeding her, grabbing the bowl or spoon, putting the ,spoon in her mouth and fussing when she sees you eat (because she wants in!) are all signs your child may be ready.Babies generally want to feed themselves, and that’s a good sign of development.
Once your baby learns to sit independently, you can happily introduce solids or finger foods to them. This is an indication that your baby is physically ready to try finger foods.
Being able to sit independently is another good clue that babies are physically ready to try finger foods. If they can sit up in high chair means they are ready to feed themselves from their hands.
Baby’s grasping abilities also play a very important role in introducing solids or finger foods. When your baby masters the pincer grasp, that is the ability to pick up small objects between the thumb and the forefinger, he is completely ready to feed himself. Even if they can’t use pincer grasp, they can use their whole hand to pick up the food and eat it.
If you are waiting for your baby’s teeth to erupt, think again because babies don’t teeth to learn to eat solids. Those strong little gums are perfectly capable of mashing up soft solids—if you’ve ever let baby teethe on your finger, then you have some idea of just how powerful they are!
How to Introduce Finger Foods to Babies
Introducing solids or finger foods to babies are always followed by purees. The major source of nutrition are the breast milk I the formula milk. You can still spoon feed your child but they should always be allowed to feed themselves. Serve some finger foods to them and let them try to get it into their mouth. If they get really frustrated, go ahead and help her out.
Parents should always follow their child’s cues. If they doesn’t respond positively, take a step back and try later. Babies always crinkle up their faces when they try some new flavors but that doesn’t mean that they don’t like something. You should not force them to eat but you should be persistent in offering them variety.
Serving finger foods to babies is a messy process. You might want to cover the whole floor with a easy to clean vinyl cloth as your kid will take a while to get more food in his mouth than on the floor.
Finally, never leave baby unattended while she’s eating, and keep an eye out for signs of choking. It may be tempting to hold off on introducing finger foods until your child is older, but helping baby develop this skill has multiple benefits. Whether you start baby finger foods at 6 or 9 months, just follow baby’s lead and let him have fun with it.
Best Finger Food Options for your 9 months old Baby
1. Teething Biscuits or Toasted Bread : Teething biscuits or lightly toasted bread are great finger foods to start with. Just note that some breads can turn gummy and stick in baby’s mouth; lightly toast the bread and cut into very small pieces to avoid a choking hazard. As baby gets older (around 9 to 12 months), you can offer slightly larger pieces or serve bread topped with mashed banana or avocado, or a super-thin layer of hummus or peanut butter.
2. Fruits : Ripe fruits are naturally soft, making them some of the best finger foods for babies. Ripe banana, peach, watermelon, raspberries, blueberries and cantaloupe cut into small pieces are all great finger food options.
3. Boiled Eggs : Full of protein, boiled eggs are another great option to serve as a finger food to baby. They are soft and baby can chew them nicely before gulping them in. Keep the runny yolk part to yourself and cut the boiled egg white into pieces before serving them.
4. Tofu and Cheese : Whether cooked or uncooked, tofu is a wonderful plant-based source of protein and a perfect finger food for babies. Opt for firm tofu, which is still quite soft, as opposed to soft or silken tofu, which will likely fall apart in baby’s hand and frustrate her. Cheese, again, is rich in calcium and is important for baby’s bone and teeth development.
5. Cooked Vegetables: Cooked vegetables make excellent baby finger foods. To get the most nutrients out of your vegetables, steam or roast them until soft, and, of course, cut them into small pieces. Try sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower or beets to start. As baby gets bigger, you can offer steamed carrot sticks or peeled, roasted sweet potato wedges.