Tips for introducing finger foods to babies
Introducing solids? Here are some nutritious choices
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.
● Baked beans
● Raw carrots or celery
● Hard candies
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.