Many moms and dads wonder when they can give their baby finger foods, because it represents a very important part of their development. When you see them start to master the pincer grip that will be your first clue, because they’ve got to have that dexterity in place if you ever hope for them to pick up food on their own.
In addition to that their digestive system also has to be ready for these sorts of foods, as they are going to require more mastication and digestive juices to break them down and process all of the nutrients in what they’re eating. They don’t necessarily need to have teeth when you start, something that many parents assume are prerequisites for finger foods.
Can I Give My Baby Finger Foods? Answer: From 8 Months
BabyCenter says that your baby will give you signs that they’re ready for finger foods, and that this comes at about the 8 month mark. But there’s no hard and fast rule as to when you introduce finger foods to your baby, and the advice of waiting for them to let you know is very good. Some new parents get too fixated on developmental milestones and start to follow the charts too closely. Your baby’s development is a very natural process, and each child is different. You don’t want to force things because of a chart or because of what a handful of parents say.
Popular Finger Food Choices
Some of the best finger foods out there are ones that you wouldn’t expect because you probably wouldn’t find them all too exciting. A lot of parents reach for the trusty Cheerios, but you might want to go with other options at first. You want to focus on giving them the best nutritional bang for the buck, and since this is the first time they’re eating some of these foods, choose ones that will help them get the nutrients they need. Stick with well cooked vegetables that are cut up into small pieces and will mush up easily in their mouth.
From there you can start making headway into things like Cheerios, but it’s best if you opt for the organic generic brand at a Whole Foods or similar store. This way your baby is getting wholesome ingredients rather than mass produced and processed ones. It might be an extra dollar or so, but it will be worth it in regards to all of the things you won’t be giving your baby.
Always keep in mind that when you first start giving your baby finger foods they either won’t have any teeth at all, or they’ll just be starting to get them. You’ll have to make sure that everything you give them is small enough to pass through their throat if they manage to swallow it before gumming it up. As their teeth come in they’ll have an easier time mashing up what you give them, but you’ll still want to be cautious, as they might still swallow things prematurely until they get the hang of things.
Monitoring for Success
When you first start feeding your baby finger foods you’ll want to check to see how they’re handling them. If you notice that they’re getting a tummy ache, or are experiencing constipation or diarrhea, make a note of the food you’ve given them beforehand. That’s why a food journal is a good thing to keep in your baby’s first year, because it not only helps with things like food allergies, but it can also help you determine what they’re able to digest properly.
You’ll soon have your own list of foods that they enjoy and can digest easily, and you can make notes to see which foods you can try again at a later stage in their development. Just because they weren’t able to handle something today doesn’t mean they won’t like it months from now. Perhaps they just need smaller portions, or it was a little too soon for them. It’s all part of the process of figuring out the best foods for your baby in particular, and is something you can enjoy if you take the right steps.