Moving from pureed foods to finger foods is something I always do at the baby’s pace. With Cakey I was pureeing her food until she was between 11-12 months old. I was offering her finger foods and she did eat some of them. She preferred to eat the pureed foods with finger foods mixed in.
Pie on the other hand has been trying to eat finger foods since she became mobile on the floor. As soon as she could army crawl she was after Cakey’s food. Even when they were at the table, Cakey would (and still does) push her plate away towards me which means it goes past Pie. Naturally, Pie would grab a handful of whatever was on it and quickly shove it in her mouth.
So how do you introduce finger foods to a baby?
When I notice they are starting to mimic others chewing I start offering them finger foods. I usually start with something soft and small like cooked rice or cooked vegetables.
How often do you offer the finger food?
I usually offer some kind of finger food at every meal. Start with small amounts and if your baby wants more give them a little more. Slowly start incorporating more finger foods into your baby’s diet. Don’t rush. Give your baby and yourself time to adjust to this new way of eating.
How should you prepare the finger foods?
Mix it into their pureed food:
Most people give babies Cheerios as a grain finger food. Now that we are gluten free we use any of the plain gluten free Chex cereal. Because the Chex cereals are bigger than Cheerios, I would mix them in Pie’s fruit and let them get soft before feeding her. After a day or so of this she was more than ready to move on but remember each baby progresses at their own pace.
For vegetables I just cut up whatever vegetable we are having into small pieces, usually about the size of a piece of Chex cereal and mix it into their meal.
Fruits are usually done the same way as vegetables and then mixed into their meal. Most berries are halved with the exception of strawberries those I quarter or even cut smaller depending on the size of the strawberry. With bananas I separate it into thirds and then slice it into bite size pieces.
Proteins like beans and lentils I just mix into their pureed food. Meat proteins I cut into tiny pieces before mixing it into their pureed food.
Letting the baby feed herself/himself (my preferred method is a little bit like baby-led weaning):
This is messier but I find it is so worth it! I place the finger food down on the table in front of Pie and let her go to town. Yes, she misses her mouth a lot. Yes, she needs to be wiped down and sometimes completely changed because she feeds herself. Yes, we have to sweep the floor after every meal. But I am telling you it is worth it! Not only do you get to eat your food when it is hot but your baby learns and grows. I love the look on her face when she finally gets a piece of food in! She is so proud!
At 9 months of age she can bite off pieces of food while holding the remaining hunk of food. All grains, most vegetables, all fruits, and most proteins she does on her own. Yes I do still cut up foods like grapes, hot dogs, and other big circular foods to help eliminate the chance of her choking.
Each baby is different. Cakey loved pureed foods with finger foods mixed in but she did feed herself with her hands and then with a spoon or fork. Pie falls more into the baby-led weaning category. She has been calling the shots. If she sees something she wants to eat WATCH OUT because she will get it and eat it. She has not mastered the art of eating with utensils but she is on her way.
Pureed foods? Finger foods? Baby-led weaning? I don’t know what the answer is but I go with whatever my baby tells me. Honestly, the only reason Pie is still eating pureed foods is because I made them when she was 6-7 months old and we do not waste food. She quickly progressed to self feeding and finger foods. I think on my next child I will try baby-led weaning first.
How do you introduce finger foods to your baby? What’s your opinion on baby-led weaning? Have you tried it? What was your experience like?
Have a blessed day!
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