Best finger foods for your baby
You will need to be the best judge of when your baby is ready to feed himself with finger foods. Confident eaters might start by seven months, or those who are a bit fed up of mashed meals might take the lead by grabbing a piece of buttered bread from the dining table and showing off an unexpected new feeding skill.
Finger foods are great not only because they are a lovely way for your child to do something on his own, but also because finger foods help your baby’s oral development and they can offer comfort and amusement whilst waiting for dinner to arrive.
It’s good to offer these foods to your child and allow him to explore how best to pick them up and get them into his own mouth, but NEVER leave your baby to eat these when you are not close at hand, observing him.
Good finger foods
• Rice cakes. The unflavoured versions.
• Bread and butter soldiers. Soft bread with softish crusts and no chunky seeds or nuts in.
• Toast or bagel.
• Little sticks of mild hard cheese like Swiss cheese or cheddar.
• Pieces of fruit such as chunks of ripe banana or pear or tender mango or carrot.
Finger foods to avoid
Until your baby has teeth and/or more experience chewing food, these are not a good idea:
• Slices of apple. Unlike pear, apple is not so easy for gums to mash before swallowing.
• Grapes and other smooth foods such as hot dog sausage. These can slip down the throat before your baby has had a chance to chew them,
• Uncooked pieces of vegetable. These will be too hard.
• Nuts and seeds should always be avoid with small children.
• Slices of meat. Which your baby cannot chew up yet.
• Whole peas or raisins.
• When your child is a toddler, oat cakes can be useful, as can little boxes of raisins – but be careful these are not a choking hazard if offered too early.
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