When your baby is about 8 months old, it is a good time to let them start trying finger foods. What does that mean? Finger foods are used to help baby learn that by placing their thumb and finger together they can pick something up. It is a developmental milestone called the pincer grasp that usually develops around 8 months of age. At first baby will use more of a sweeping motion and a fist to aim and put stuff into their mouth, but slowly they will understand that they can use just the two fingers! Here is a list of some foods you can try to let your baby experiment with as they begin to refine their pincer grasp.
- Puffs - they are a little hard so baby may spit them out at first if not used to textured food, but they dissolve right away – my girls preferred the Gerber ones over the other brands as they seemed to dissolve faster.
- Cheerios – again a little hard but once baby gets the idea of using their gums to chew they will love these
- Banana – make sure it is soft and not hard pieces, you can mash it up with your fingers and then place on tray/plate
- Small pieces of any cooked/softened vegetable or fruit – pear, apple, melon, mango, carrots, squash, sweet potato, etc.
- Bread – make sure it is soft bread, and I would avoid the crust at first, and add butter if you want to add calories
- Sliced cheese – no soft cheese as they are not recommended until a year of age
- Rice – cooked rice grains are fun for baby to try as well
- Pastina – you can add this to your baby food to start introducing texture, it’s basically tiny pasta that you boil and add to food
- Pasta – you can boil pasta to be quite soft and then cut into smaller pieces (try the bow tie or spirals) – you can even use the colorful pasta to add some fun!
Always make sure baby is being supervised when attempting finger foods. Make sure to avoid any foods that may present a choking hazard (grapes, peas, etc).