Baby Finger Foods: Your Definitive Guide to Food for Infants
What baby finger foods are best for your little one? Use our list to get started with soft, healthy foods.
You may have noticed the last time you eating dinner that two baby eyes were staring intently at your food—maybe even fussing as she watched you eat. She wants in on that grub! This usually happens at about 8 or 9 months, which is a great time to start experimenting with baby finger foods. At this age, babies have started to master their pincer grasp, the ability to hold small objects between their thumb and forefinger. And that’s all they need to pick up small pieces of food and feed themselves.
Your baby will let you know when she’s ready to start eating, but—of course—she won’t be able to tell you exactly what she needs. So is it time to bring on the Cheerios? Read on to find out what finger foods are best for baby.
Psst! Take a spin through these tips for introducing solid foods to brush up on your safety savvy.
Small puff cereal made for babies dissolves quickly as your baby gums on it. Other small cereal pieces like Cheerios will do this as well, but they take a little longer to dissolve, and your baby might attempt to swallow it before it’s small enough to go down. Puffs come in a wide variety of flavors such as strawberry, banana and sweet potato—making them a fun and easy way to introduce baby to new tastes.
Bananas are the perfect soft food for a new eater. Cut them into small matchstick pieces (which you may already do if you’re into baby-led weaning) that baby can easily pick up, but not too small that it just immediately turns to banana mush on the tray. Plus, you’ll love knowing you’re feeding baby such a nutritious snack. Bananas are packed with vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, zinc, iron and calcium.
Like the banana, a ripe avocado is naturally soft, making it very simple to feed to baby. Simply cut up a few small pieces and let your little one go to town. Just get ready for the mess! You might want to strip baby down to his diaper before he eats to avoid avocado-covered clothes.
Some baby finger foods will need to be cooked before serving to soften them. For sweet potatoes, remove the skin, dice and steam before giving small pieces to your baby. Hopefully baby will love their sweet flavor because these yummy orange veggies are full of vitamins and, importantly for kids, fiber.
Diced-up ripe pears are another great, nutrient-dense and filling baby finger food. Use soft and sweet fruits such as pears and peaches as a healthy alternative to junk food sweets. At this stage, baby needs nutrients, not empty calories.
Whole Grain Bread
Tear up whole grain bread or toast into small pieces, and get rid of the hard crust before feeding it to baby. Feel free to spread a little avocado or peanut butter on top for a little variety. Be careful with un-toasted white bread, though—large pieces can lump into a sticky choking hazard.
Baby will love digging into small pasta such as spirals, small shells or macaroni. Be sure it’s well cooked and soft enough for baby to gum on—bonus points for whole grain. Add a little cheese sauce or pasta sauce if you don’t mind the mess!
Eggs are a great source of protein, and most babies love them. Dice up hard-boiled eggs and let baby explore the tastes and textures of the yolk and whites. You may have heard to wait until kids are older to introduce eggs, but the American Academy of Pediatrics says there’s no evidence that avoiding eggs during early childhood will prevent a food allergy. Egg-cellent!
Steamed or boiled—let your baby try some peas. Like other deep green veggies, they’re full of vitamins and nutrients. Cooked peas’ texture makes them easy to gum, and frozen peas can be placed in a mesh feeder to help relieve discomfort from teething gums.
Cook broccoli until it’s soft and cut up small florets for baby to try. Remember, even if you’re not a fan of broccoli or another vegetable—let your baby taste them. Studies show feeding babies an assortment of vegetables makes them more likely to try and enjoy new foods, giving them a broader diet and healthy start to eating.