Is your baby always grabbing for the spoon? Does he want to feed himself? There does come a time when you should introduce finger foods so baby can explore and enjoy foods in a whole other way. It will also help baby to develop fine motor skills. Yes, it can be messy but I see so many parents that do everything for their child and don’t allow them to learn and explore and then wonder why they can’t drink out of a sippy cup or use a spoon when age appropriate.
Most babies are ready for finger food sometime between 7 to 10 months old. A good way to tell is not by age but by when they are developmentally ready. Some things to look for is if the baby is able to grab and hold on to foods between his thumb and forefinger. This is known as the pincher grasp which is a fine motor skill. He should also be able to sit up unassisted or sit in a high chair without leaning over and keeping his head up. Any reclined position or if he needs to be supported can trigger choking. He should also be able to chew by using his gums to soften or mash the food.
If baby becomes frustrated because he has not developed a good pincher grasp don’t force it as we don’t want any negative association with eating and self-feeding. This is a process and won’t happen in one sitting. Baby-led weaning is a great way to introduce finger foods. For more info on this go to www.babyledweaning
Finger foods don’t have to be Cheerios and teething biscuits. Any food you are currently giving him will work as long as you make it a little chunky so he can pick it up. For example; a small chuck of a banana slightly mashed and placed on his eating tray. Sweet potatoes, avocado, cooked peas or any food your baby can easily mash between his gums will work. These fruits and vegetables needs to be cut in into small pieces to avoid choking while baby is learning.
Some great ideas are found at at
So let your baby experiment and have fun with self-feeding and you will be surprised at how well he does. He may even eat foods he refused from you when spoon feeding. Bon Appetite!