By nine months of age your baby should be ready for finger foods. How do you know your baby is ready? For one, he or she may be trying to grab any and everything food related, from the spoon, to the bowl, to your food. Another good indicator that your baby is ready is that he or she is able to sit up independently.
What are Good First Finger Foods?
You may start with teething puffs and/or cheerios. You may also start introducing the food that you are eating, as long as it isn't a choking hazard. First finger foods should be small, soft, and easily gummed. While baby may not have (many!) teeth yet, their gums are strong and are very capable of mashing up soft foods.
Some great first finger foods for baby include:
- toasted bread, muffins, etc.
- avocado cut into small pieces
- scrambled eggs cooked all the way through and cut into strips
- broccoli (cooked until it's soft)
- soft, pasturized cheese
- soft fruit
- pasta (small sizes, such as orzo or mini shells)
- steamed or roasted veggies
- beans (cooked until soft and mashed a bit in your fingers first)
Just make sure that all finger foods are soft and cut into appropriate sizes to avoid choking hazards. Nine months of age is also a great time to offer a sippy cup filled with water, breast milk, or formula so they can be experts by twelve months when the bottle is no longer recommended.
What Foods Should I Avoid?
Be very careful not to give anything that could be a choking hazard, such as hog dogs, grapes, globs of peanut butter, or larger pieces of apples. If you give round items like grapes or berries, make sure to cut them lengthwise first. Same goes for hot dogs, cherry or grape tomatoes, strawberries, etc.
The pediatricians of Pediatrics East strongly recommend that fruit juices not be given. There is no nutritional benefit in giving juice at any age. The juice can cause cavities, obesity, and a long term craving of sugar.
That's it, there are no other rules. If your family has a strong history of allergy or it is thought your child has eczema, discuss advancing solids and even formula changes with your pediatrician.
This page was authored by Dr. Melissa Adams.