Tips for in­tro­duc­ing fin­ger foods to ba­bies

In­tro­duc­ing solids? Here are some nu­tri­tious choices

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS -

Fin­ger foods are the gate­way to self-feed­ing and the first step to­ward in­de­pen­dence at the din­ner ta­ble. They help in eas­ing your child’s tran­si­tion to solid foods. One sign that a baby is ready for fin­ger foods is that she can chew chunkier purees with­out any hes­i­ta­tion. This isn’t fool­proof, though, so check in her mouth af­ter she is fin­ished, for any food rem­nants that may cause chok­ing. You don’t need to be a great chef to make new eaters happy. Sim­ply go­ing in with a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, and some cre­ativ­ity will work won­ders. But if you are un­sure about how you need to get started with fin­ger foods, here is an age­wise food chart that can help you pro­vide the right nour­ish­ment to your baby.

1-6 MONTHS OLD

It is highly rec­om­mended that ba­bies be breast­fed ex­clu­sively for about the first six months. They are very cru­cial months for the baby in or­der to lead a healthy and dis­ease-free life.

6-8 MONTHS OLD BA­BIES

Along with the in­tro­duc­tion of solid foods, breastfeeding should also con­tinue for at least a whole year or be­yond if re­quired/ rec­om­mended by the doc­tor. Af­ter first six months, try and in­tro­duce the in­fant to new things slowly and in tiny quan­ti­ties. Also, com­pre­hend if the baby is ac­cept­ing the new foods or not. Some­times if the baby does not ac­cept a fruit or veg­etable, try to feed the par­tic­u­lar food again af­ter a fort­night. Just re­mem­ber to keep a cou­ple of days’ gap be­tween in­tro­duc­ing new foods. If you no­tice any al­lergy, talk to a pe­di­a­tri­cian for pos­si­ble reme­dies.

● Mashed ba­nana or ap­ple

● Soft mashed cooked veg­eta­bles

● Peeled canned pears or peaches

● Ar­row­root cook­ies

● Cooked ce­re­als

● Cot­tage cheese

● Ap­ple­sauce and cher­ries

9-15 MONTHS OLD

Pre­par­ing your baby’s food at this point in time will be eas­ier as your baby will be able to di­gest food bet­ter. So, puree­ing and mash­ing won’t be nec­es­sary; just lit­tle bites would be enough. Also, you will have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of your baby’s tastes as to what they like and dis­like. Re­mem­ber not to force feed your child and let her eat what she likes to eat. While most foods should be cut up into pieces no larger than a Chee­rio. Some soft fruits and veg­eta­bles, such as cooked car­rots, should be given to your child whole, to al­low her to bet­ter grasp the foods. The fol­low­ing foods can be great for this age group.

● Ap­ple peeled and cut into pieces, orange sec­tions peeled and loose mem­branes re­moved

● Egg boiled, scram­bled or poached

● Spaghetti with meat sauce

● Fish( with­out bones )

● Soft cooked pieces of chicken

● Smooth peanut but­ter (spread thinly on bread or crack­ers)

● Peaches, ripe and peeled

● Car­rots and other veg­eta­bles, cooked

● Ten­der meats

FOODS TO AVOID

Some fin­ger foods are not rec­om­mended for chil­dren un­der three years of age as they can be dif­fi­cult to di­gest. Here are some of them.

● Corn

● Cho­co­late

● Baked beans

● Raw car­rots or cel­ery

● Hard can­dies

● Pop­corn

● Nuts

Pro-tip: Cold foods, just like teething rings, help soothe ten­der gums. A chilled piece of fruit or a veg­etable like cu­cum­ber sticks can pro­vide the nec­es­sary re­lief while con­tin­u­ing to en­cour­age them to try new fin­ger foods.

Gy­nae­col­o­gist and ob­stet­rics sur­geon Dr Aruna Kalra’s ex­per­tise lies in minimally in­va­sive gy­nae­co­log­i­cal surg­eries, high-risk preg­nan­cies, vagi­nal birth af­ter cae­sarean (VBAC) and scar­less la­paro­scopic surgery. She is presently the di­rec­tor of CK Birla Hospi­tal, Gu­ru­gram.

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