If you’re currently going through weaning with your baby, you may have noticed they’re far more interested in feeding themselves than in being fed. Babies’ instincts are to bring things up to their mouths, so try offering them small foods they can pick up themselves. Feeding themselves is good practice for hand-eye co-ordination and sets off those touch receptors in baby’s fingers, encouraging their curiosity. If you’re running low on ideas for interesting foods to tempt with, we’ve gathered our favourite fun finger foods for baby weaning.
When should I introduce finger foods?
Most babies are ready for finger foods somewhere between six and eight months. If your baby:
- Can sit up in the highchair and hold their own head up
- Can pick up objects and put them in their mouth
- Can make chewing motions
then they’re ready for finger foods. They don’t need teeth, as their gums will be hard enough to chomp down on most solid foods.
What sort of finger foods can I give my baby?
Start with foods that are easy to hold and soft to chew. Ideally, pieces should be about the size of your baby’s palm. You could try:
- Chunks of soft fruit like banana, avocado, peach or mango
- Pieces of cooked fruit (so they’re soft) like apple or pear
- Cubes of mild cheese
- Pieces of hard-boiled egg
- Rusks or baby biscuits
- Cooked vegetables like carrot or pepper
- Bread or toast soldiers
Later, as baby gets the hang of picking things up, and starts to get their teeth, you can add more challenging foods to add interesting crunch and more interest in trying to pick up smaller things, such as:
- Batons of raw carrot
- Cooked peas
- Strips of cooked chicken
- Pieces of sweetcorn
Are there any foods I should avoid?
While they’re figuring out how to feed themselves, baby may not chew enough or may put the food too far into their mouths, so be aware of choking hazards and keep a close on eye your little one as they eat.
- Whole grapes are a common cause of choking. Halve or quarter them first.
- Raisins can also be difficult for small babies. Wait until your baby is over 12 months old before offering raisins.
- Check all foods offered thoroughly for potential choking hazards such as pips, bones or pieces of fat.