Written by Moms on Call
If we begin introducing solids around 4 months of age, you probably started out with purees for a couple of weeks, adding a new food every 3 days. And then around 6 months of age, you started using Stage 2 to 3 jarred baby food (although store-bought foods may have still been too runny) or even began fork-mushing fruits and veggies for more texture. Now at 6 ½-7 months you are putting food on the tray!
This is the fun part!
These foods are the “finger mushable” foods!
This is such a fun and important step in finger food introduction. Take a moment to notice the way your little one tries to grab the pieces you’ve provided. When they finally get a piece, watch as they aren’t exactly sure what to do with it. They may squish it, drop it or pick it back up. Watch as they instinctively put it to their mouth; they may gag, spit it out or move it around and “gum” the piece. Pay attention to their eyes, you will notice that they light up when they “like” what they are experiencing. You may notice a smile or a giggle. They may even get frustrated as their hands won’t go as fast as they want them to go to get to that next piece.
A few things to keep in mind:
- This is an activity more than a nutritional event.
- The senses that come into play from exploring by touch, sight, smell, taste and even hearing are more important than the nutritional benefits.
- The feel of different foods between their fingers. The colors of the rainbow that are in front of them. The smells that help develop taste. The tastes that “pop” on the tongue. Hearing the slight sounds that come when squishing or dropping foods.
- It also encourages gross motor skills and fine motor skills and is a midline activity as they reach across to grab that yummy piece of sweet potato.
- Amounts really don’t matter. However, do not put adult size portions on the tray. Stick with 2-3 pieces of 2-3 food groups at a time.
- The food should taste good! If you wouldn’t eat it then don’t expect them to. Do not be afraid to use seasonings and herbs (no need for added salt though).
- Variety and exposure. Meals should consist of at least one thing you know they will eat, then an item that they may (or may not) have enjoyed in the past and then a “surprise” new item or texture.
- Let them see you eat. Pull them to the table. NO stress or forcing.
What is your job?
- Consistently provide the food.
- Over, and over and… over again!
- Create a positive atmosphere and have fun doing so!
- What’s that saying? Food before 1 is just for fun!
- Fun for you and baby as they reach this big new milestone and learn all about tastes, textures and so much more!
- Take lots of pictures!
- These moments will be cherished for years to come.
- It’s also a great reminder, when they hit that not-so-fun age of defiance at the dinner table of how much they loved that item not so long ago.
Figuring out the foods our littles love most is really the fun part! If you are just starting to introduce solids to baby, use our baby food introduction calendar and follow along with Moms on Call’s Next Steps Baby Care Book for 6-15 months.