Wondering when to start baby finger foods? When you notice your baby picking up objects and putting them in their mouth easily, this is a good indication they might enjoy some finger foods to play with, suck on, or eat!
Baby-led weaning, where your baby feeds themself finger foods, is a way to help them discover new flavours and textures at their own pace. While the definition of Baby Led Weaning is to skip the traditional stages of solids (puree, mashed), you can choose to combine some puree foods with finger foods to suit your baby. During the start of their solids journey your baby will still be receiving most of their nutrient intake from breastmilk or formula. Click here to learn more about Baby Led Weaning.
It is important that you never leave your baby unattended when starting solid foods using the Baby Led Weaning method. When introducing soft finger foods, be aware that bits of food may break off and can be a choking hazard if your baby can’t chew properly yet before swallowing. Some parents choose to do a CPR course as part of their preparation for parenthood.
Below are some other tips to get your baby started on their solid food adventure using the Baby Led Weaning method.
- Aim for “finger foods” in small pieces that your baby can hold in their fist with a bit sticking out (like a handle).
- Provide lots of different textures to your baby to help them learn to chew properly and enjoy a variety of food. Avoid hard foods such as whole nuts & raw carrots until your child is 3 years old to reduce the risk of choking.
- Age-appropriate baby-led weaning foods include fruit (soft or cooked without added sugar), vegetables (steamed until soft), hard-boiled eggs, cooked starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, rice, noodles, legumes like beans and lentils, ground meat, fish without bones, and sticks of pasteurized, full-fat hard cheese.
- Try to incorporate your baby’s food adventures into family mealtimes so they can feel involved and copy what the rest of the family is doing. Placing their highchair at the table with a suction bowl or plate may help to keep the food in the bowl, rather than the floor, at least for a short time.
- Be prepared for the mess. Some parents find placing a non-slip wipeable tablecloth, or floor mat under baby’s highchair can help with the clean-up. Check out what other handy items you might need for moving onto solid foods here.
Remember it’s all about exploration and discovery, let your baby lead the way with the healthy choices you’re providing!