From the age of 6 months, you can start to introduce soft finger foods to your baby. Even if your chosen approach to introducing solids is with purées, you can combine the two. Offering finger foods allows your baby to experience different textures and tastes, whilst providing them an opportunity to explore food with their little hands. The sooner they get used to finger foods, the more proficient they will be at self-feeding.
Your baby needs to be over 6 months and able to sit up independently. Don’t worry if they don’t have teeth yet – gums are very strong! Trust in your own intuition and your baby’s developmental signs.
From 6-8 months: Food should be able to fit in your baby’s closed fist with a bit sticking out for them to gum or chew on. Long strips cut to 5 cm (about the size of your pointer finger) work best for young babies.
From 8-9 months plus: Once they’ve developed their pincer grip (they can use their thumb and forefinger to feed themselves) they’ll be able to pick up smaller pieces of food.
There are endless finger food recipes for babies, but here is a list of one-ingredient foods you can start to offer your baby. In saying that, don’t be afraid to experiment with herbs and spices, and try different cooking methods. If your baby doesn’t appear to enjoy something steamed, they might love it roasted instead.
Always ensure that your baby is sitting upright while eating, and never leave them unsupervised. Don’t offer foods that pose an obvious choking risk, such as:
Here is a more detailed list of foods to avoid in the first year.
When it comes to finger foods, it’s a little harder to tell how much your baby is actually eating and how much is on the floor, but trust your baby to decide how much they want to eat. Offering a variety of foods without any pressure to eat them will encourage your baby to adopt good eating habits from the start.