Finger feeding involves giving your baby small pieces of food he can pick up and feed himself. Babies may be ready to feed themselves at different ages. But in general, you may want to introduce finger feeding when you baby is anywhere from seven to nine months.
As your baby grows, so does her desire to do things for herself. While it may be a bit messier than feeding her yourself, finger feeding is good for your baby in a few different ways. For instance, picking up food and feeding herself helps your baby with her coordination. Picking up bits of food also gives your baby a chance to work on her fine motor skills. Using her thumb and forefinger to pick things up is known as the pincer grasp and is a development skill.
Finger feeding is also a step towards independence. While you may not be ready for your baby to do things on her own, it builds her self-confidence. It’s also an opportunity to explore food through touch and smell, and your baby may find finger feeding fun.
Don’t expect finger foods to be the main part of your baby’s meal at first. In the beginning, finger feeding is just a supplement to his diet. He might just eat a few pieces, hold food in his hand or throw it on the floor.
It’s always best to finger feed your baby when he is sitting up in a highchair, and never leave him alone while he’s eating. Try to offer a variety of foods, but don’t be surprised if he does not want to give certain foods a try. Babies have different likes and dislikes when it comes to food textures, colors and taste.
Make sure pieces of food are very small. If your baby does not have any teeth yet, make sure she can gum the food you offer. While you want pieces of food to be small enough to prevent choking, they should be big enough for your baby to pick up. If you cut food into pieces the size of half a pea, your baby may not be able to grasp the food.
Some good finger feeding choices include small pieces of banana, well-cooked carrots (cut lengthways in small strips) or peas and low sugar cereal that is easy to grasp. You may also want to try cooked pasta shapes cut into small bites and pea size pieces of soft meat, such as chicken. Veggies should be mushy and easy to chew. Pieces of fruit should be small enough that they don’t present a choking hazard.
Don’t overwhelm your baby with too many choices. Consider picking one food at a time and placing four or five small pieces on her highchair tray. If she eats those, you can add a bit more.
Avoid raisins, nuts, popcorn and anything that you think would be easy for your baby to choke on. You have plenty of time to add different foods as she develops her finger feeding skills.
Written by MaryAnn DePietro @ writerlady34
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.