How to Introduce Finger Foods to Your Little One
Ready to start introducing finger foods to your little one? Learn about what the right time is, tips for transitioning from purées and more with this helpful guide.
When it comes to introducing solids to your little one, around 4 months of age is a common starting point. You might have begun with purees, gradually adding new foods every few days. As your baby reaches around 6 months, you may have transitioned to stage 2 or 3 jarred baby food or even started mashing fruits and veggies for added texture. And now, at around 6 ½ to 7 months, you’re at the stage where you’re placing food directly on the tray! It’s an exciting journey of discovering new flavors and textures together.
Introducing Finger Foods to Your Little One!
This is an exciting and crucial step in introducing finger foods to your little one! Take a moment to observe how they eagerly try to grab the pieces you’ve provided. Watch as they explore the new taste sensation, perhaps squishing it or dropping it before picking it back up. Notice how they instinctively bring it to their mouth, occasionally gagging, spitting it out, or moving it around to “gum” the piece. Keep an eye on their eyes, as they may light up with delight when they discover a flavor they enjoy. You might even catch a glimpse of a smile or hear a giggle! Sometimes, they may feel a bit frustrated when their hands can’t move as fast as they’d like to get to that next piece.
Here are 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 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).
- Variety and exposure. Meals should consist of at least one thing you know they will eat: an item 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 force.
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 your baby, use our baby food introduction calendar and follow along with Moms on Call’s Next Steps Baby Care Book for 6-15 months.