Around seven to nine months or so, your baby will be able to pick up small pieces of soft table food to eat. It’s a fun learning process for both you and your baby. The baby gets to experience new textures and flavours, while you get to watch your baby independently decide what he or she likes best (and also witness them making a mess!).
Here are 14 tips and tricks for introducing finger foods to hungry tots:
1. Make sure they’re ready. Once you see that your baby is able to consume chunkier meals and can hold or grab more solid foods, you may try introducing your baby to finger foods.
2. Always keep their hands clean and teach them why you do it in the process.
3. Feeding your baby in a highchair will reduce the risk of choking and teach him that a highchair is the place to eat.
4. Place the highchair on a splat mat. Things will get messy; splat mats will catch fallen foods and cut down on the mess.
5. Introduce finger foods one at a time and slowly add new ones. Offer a variety of colours and textures.
6. Your baby will want to touch, smell, taste and play with his or her food. Stay relaxed about the mess. Let them experiment with the food and find ways to eat and enjoy it.
7. Be sure that they are sitting upright. To avoid your little one from choking, make sure they are sitting upright while consuming these solid bites.
8. Peel and cut fruits into small pieces with the pits removed. Cook vegetables until they are soft, or grate hard raw vegetables.
9. Playfully decorate their food. Introducing new foods to a baby may be a bit of a challenge, especially if they are fussy eaters. Decorating their food in a playful and cheerful manner may encourage them to grab at it.
10. Give them a challenge. Softer foods such as boiled carrots and potatoes can be cut slightly bigger so that your baby will learn to grab and hold his or her food independently.
11. Use finely crushed cereal powder or wheat germ to coat slippery foods like banana and avocado – it makes them easier to pick up.
12. Offer teething babies cold finger foods to soothe his or her gums – try freezing pieces of melon or banana for the ultimate in gum relief!
13. Always supervise your baby while they are eating.
14. Check inside your baby’s mouth and remove food that wasn’t swallowed.