What you need to know about introducing finger food to your baby

Time to introduce finger food to your baby? Follow these handy tips.

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As with most developmental milestones, your baby will dictate when she is ready to move on to finger food. Between  the ages of 7 to 9 months, she will begin to grab the spoon you’re feeding her with or snatch food off your plate. She’ll probably grab her food and ‘palm’ it into her mouth. Soon her pincer grip (where she can pick up objects with her thumb and forefinger) will develop, which means that she’s ready to start feeding herself.

ALSO SEE: Your child’s nutritional milestones

What foods to offer

Let your child’s preferences guide you when it comes to the foods that you offer. Here are some suggestions:

  • Finger sandwiches (with the crusts cut off)
  • Cut up pieces of soft fruit, such as bananas
  • Stewed fruit, such as apples, pears and prunes, or dried fruit
  • Dried cereals and crackers (try them yourself – some melt in the mouth and so are suitable for babies) or rice cakes
  • Small chunks of soft cheese
  • Well-cooked pasta
  • Cottage cheese
  • Steamed vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, courgettes or cauliflower
  • Chopped up hard-boiled egg
  • Pea-sized pieces of cooked soft meat such as chicken or fish

Click here for 3 yummy finger food recipes your little one will love

Important tips to remember

Obviously, because your child is new at this, keeping things safe is your primary objective.

  • To minimise any risk of choking, make sure your baby is seated in a feeding chair, upright and safely strapped in.
  • Proceed at your baby’s pace. Don’t become impatient or try to rush her. She is just trying to figure out what flavours and textures she likes.
  • You need to supervise meal times at all times. Choking is always a hazard (especially when she is tired or perhaps sick).
  • If you’re worried about whether your little one is eating enough, keep feeding her purees and add some finger food to mealtimes and get her used to them over a period of time.

Click here for Annabel Karmel’s purees meal planner.

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