It is so exciting when your baby reaches the stage where he’s interested in finger foods. By the time most babies are six to nine months old, they’ll be reaching for the food off your plate or otherwise showing you that they are interested in what other folks are eating. But all babies are different. If yours shows little interest in finger foods, give him time. Eventually, at his own pace, he will show you he wants a taste of something more than rice cereal, formula, and liquefied baby foods.
Many parents wonder how baby will eat finger foods if she has no teeth. Contrary to what parents might think, baby does not need teeth to eat her first softer foods. Those gums are powerhouses when they clamp down. Once your baby starts to develop the motion of pinching, she’ll have enough power to try the finger foods you put in front of her.
Start with one food at a time. Allergies are common and each child is different. Use four days as your test lab. Feed one food at a time for four days and see if baby develops any rash or adverse symptoms. If he does, tell your doctor. And keep a running record book so you don’t forget which day you started which food. Once you are sure there’s no allergy, go ahead and introduce a second food. Repeat the process for each food.
A good food to start with is banana. Soft banana slices are the perfect finger food. They are pliable enough that baby can easily mash them in her mouth. Avoid unripe bananas as not only do they not taste as good, but they can be hard for baby to eat. Cut a few slices and place them on baby’s feeding tray on her high chair. They also make baby cookies or breads that are specific for toddlers and teething you might want to try. Make a big deal of how excited you are. Show him how you eat one. And he will do the same. Watch for any choking. As with all foods, you will want to be there to monitor your child as he eats. Never leave a young baby or child who is eating alone even if he is secured in a high chair.
Next, try cooked carrots. Cut up carrots into small sticks. Cut them again into squares. Boil the carrots in water in the microwave or on the stove-top until they are tender. Let them cool completely and drain off the water. Using a slotted spoon, place a portion of the carrot squares on baby’s tray. Most babies will not keep food in a little plastic dish, so it’s okay at this age to let them eat off the high chair feeding tray. You never need to add salt or butter to baby’s first foods. Even though they may seem bland to adults, they are actually quite tasty and healthy for baby as close to their natural state as possible.
When you’re ready to start baby on pasta, you can have lots of fun. Boil up pasta wheels or other smaller shapes and when they’ve cooled, let baby enjoy the sensation of picking them up with her own two fingers and getting them into her mouth. Take pictures as these are some of the most special and adorable times in a young baby’s life.