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Enjoying Finger Foods

Enjoying Finger Foods

Once you notice your baby begin to grasp small objects, he is ready to begin feeding himself. It's time for introducing finger foods! It’s more than just fun, as finger foods add texture to the diet and encourage self-feeding to help with oral and motor development. The foods in the list below are nutritious and, when prepared appropriately, are safe finger food choices. Remember, babies should always be supervised whenever they're eating or drinking.

Fine finger-food dining

  • Fruit, such as ripe bananas, peeled apples and pears diced in small pieces, or halved or chopped grapes
  • Cooked vegetables, such as peas and finely chopped squash, potatoes and carrots
  • Cooked and finely chopped meat, fish and poultry
  • Small well-cooked pasta bits
  • Dry toast or bread crusts
  • Crackers
  • Nestlé® Gerber® Puffs¤
  • Cheese, tiny cubes or shredded

What’s the big fuss about finger foods?

Introducing finger foods will allow your baby to continue developing his oral and motor skills. You’ll know he’s ready when he is able to pick up objects with his thumb and index finger. Finger foods are one of the first steps in self-feeding and an important move towards using utensils.

Embrace the mess

Babies are not always the most polite guest at the dinner table but try to let it slide. Smashing, mushing and even throwing food are all ways for baby to learn about and explore the food he is eating. Recent research suggests that this type of play helps babies to learn to identify different types of food1. Make it easier on yourself by providing small portions and putting down an easy-to-clean mat or shower curtain under his high chair.

Watch out for these finger foods

Some nutritious, seemingly safe finger foods can actually be unsafe unless they're prepared the right way. If your baby only has his front teeth, he's capable of biting off a chunk of an uncooked carrot but he can't actually chew it up, which means he could choke on it. Small, round or cylindrical foods have the greatest potential to become choking hazards for toddlers and babies.  

Foods to be careful with:

  • Hard raw vegetables pieces, such as carrot should be grated or lightly steamed to soften them.
  • Small round foods such as whole grapes or cherry tomatoes - be sure to chop into halves or quarters 
  • Hot dogs and other cylindrical foods should be cut lengthwise into small pieces
  • Dried fruit should be soaked in water until soft and then chopped up
  • Peels should be removed from fruits such as apples and peaches

Foods to avoid:

  • Raw celery
  • Any whole nuts, such as peanuts, almonds or cashews
  • Popcorn
  • Marshmallows
  • Hard and gummy candies, suckers or gum
  • Fish with bones

If you don't find the information you're looking for, please feel free to contact us for additional support.


¤ NESTLÉ GERBER Puffs are staged to be safe and developmentally appropriate for babies aged 8 months or older.

Reference:

1Perry LK, Samuelson LK, Burdinie JB. High chair philosophers: the impact of seating context-dependent exploration on children’s naming biases. Developmental Science 1 Dec 2013 DOI: 10.1111/desc.12147.

 
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