When your baby is ready to be introduced to finger foods at about 9 months of age, you may be wonering about which are the best foods to start with. Introducing a range of flavors and textures is important, however you want to be sure that anything you give your little one is safe to eat and will not pose a hazard due to risk of choking or allergic reactions. Also, health is a major concern as no parent wants to give their child a poor start in life by encouraging them in a taste for unhealthy products or developing early poor eating habits by introducing sugary or fattening foods which may cause problems in later life. If you want some inspirational ideas about healthy finger foods for babies, this article will help you to get some great ideas.
If your baby has reached the age of 9 months and appears to be ready to advance to chewing lumpier foods, it is the perfect time to encourage them to eat with their fingers and so achieve a greater level of independence. It is important to remember though that whatever you offer should be soft and easy to mash up. Although your infant does not actually need teeth to chew, for safety reasons you should avoid giving anything that can easily break aprt into small chunks that could cause choking.
Fruits and vegetables are often the most popular foods to begin with as they are healthy and nutritious while being easy to hold and particularly flavorsome. These are also good starter finger foods for baby as they introduce your little one to healthy foods from an early age. Small chunks of protein containing foods are also a good choice, such as cubes of cheese, small pieces of chicken, beef or fish or small pieces of toast spread with cream cheese.
Not everything that is the right size to be held by your baby is suitable to give as a finger food, especially at under a year of age. If you wish to give cheese to your baby you should avoid soft or blue cheeses as they may contain listeria and if you are giving fruit, avoid apples as they can break into small pieces which can get stuck in your baby's windpipe. Although most vegetables are perfectly fine to give your little one, you should avoid anything with a very hard texture such as carrots, anything stringy like celery or anything that is an awkward size such as cherry tomatoes which may accidentally be swallowed whole. If you are giving pieces of fish, be sure to check thoroughly for bones and avoid giving any fish known to be high in mercury such as swordfish and avoid shellfish as they may trigger an allergic reaction.