Feeding your baby during their growing years is a challenging task. However, as the babies grow up, they like trying out new textures and tastes. No longer do they prefer only pureed and mashed food. It is when you should introduce finger food to your baby.
Finger foods for babies without teeth do more than just provide nutrition. They help your baby work on their fine motor skills too. Wondering which finger foods your baby will like?
Has your little one been eating purees and is now ready for the next stage in their culinary adventure? Have you seen your baby keep trying to take pieces of food out of your plate or hands? Do you know that your baby is ready for solid foods? But not sure how or what to feed them?
Here you can find everything you need to know to start serving finger foods to your kid. What exactly are finger foods – it is a matter of concern to every parent as choking might be the reason. Therefore, you should know exactly when your baby is ready for finger foods. Keep reading to learn more about the topic.
Why Finger Food For Your Baby
Introducing finger foods to your baby can be a challenge for parents. You need to be ready for all the mess and allergies. You must also be prepared for choking hazards once your baby starts eating finger food.
So, does that mean finger foods are not ideal for your baby without any teeth? You need to understand that no finger foods are ideal for your baby without teeth if they can not pick them up quickly and mash them between the gums. Meaning the food must be soft for your to gum them easily.
If you wonder which finger foods you can prepare for your little one, here are a few options.
These are some finger food ideas for babies without teeth. You can alternate with the other food ideas you have. It will provide a nutritious snack to you little one every day. In addition, you should provide your baby with calcium-rich foods to help their bones become stronger.
When Does Your Baby Need Finger Food?
Experts recommend that most babies start eating solids around 4-6 months of age, depending on readiness. Serving finger foods at this age has many benefits for babies. Your baby develops better eye-hand coordination and learns to explore new baby foods. But the challenge is – it can be tough to brainstorm meals for little ones without teeth.
Therefore, it is necessary to choose delicate items that can be squished between your fingers. Such soft finger foods will be easier for your baby to gum. Avoid anything that could be a choking hazard. Meaning hard stuff which they might not be able to chew.
It may include grapes, popcorn, hot dogs, etc. And do not be afraid to have a wide range of sweet, savory, and bitter flavors. As your baby is exposed to different tastes and textures, they may be less picky later.
Baby’s First Foods: How to Introduce Solids
Here are different combinations of finger foods for your baby with no teeth.
Sweet potato and apple.
You can steam or bake apples and sweet potatoes for a sweet-tasting baby food combination. Do you know that sweet potato have plenty of beta-carotene, protein, and vitamin C while le apples are rich in vitamin C and fiber?
Make sure to take off the skin before serving them to your baby.
Bananas and avocado.
With their velvety and soft textures, avocados and bananas are popular finger foods for babies with no teeth. They are also easy to prepare. Cut them into small pieces. Your baby will get omega-3 fatty acids and potassium from these finger foods.
Roast chicken and apple.
Roasted chicken provides your baby with much-needed protein. But make sure to cut the chicken into large strips or grind them in a food processor before serving them with softened apples.
Omelet or scrambled eggs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that early exposure to eggs might help prevent food allergies going forward. So you can start giving eggs to your baby without teeth. Whip up a soft omelet or scrambled eggs that your baby can gum.
Elbow pasta with marinara sauce.
Experts recommend introducing pasta around months five or six. So you can choose small noodles like macaroni. Cook and boil them well and cover them in marinara sauce. Your baby will surely like this tasty finger food.
Toast with spread.
Bread can be chewy, so you can pop it in the toaster for a firmer texture that does not stick to the roof of your baby’s mouth. You can also coat the toast with hummus, peanut butter, avocado, or other types of spread.
Swiss cheese and apricots.
You can take pre-sliced cheese slices and then serve them with apricots. You can puree them or soften them into small pieces. Tangy apricots are full of beta-carotene that helps your baby’s eye health and immune system.
Green beans and pears.
Fiber-filled green beans and mild-flavored pears can make excellent finger foods for your baby with no teeth. As with other fruits and veggies, you can either puree them or chop them into small, soft, bite-sized pieces.
Butternut squash and peaches.
Roasted butternut squash as you know has a nutty flavor. So you can serve them with peaches to introduce your baby to new textures of finger foods.
Peas and plums.
Is your little baby suffering from constipation? Feeding them plums may help. You can add some more nutritional benefits with peas.
Carrots and apples.
Some pediatricians advise not to give fresh carrots because they might contain nitrates. But if you get the go-ahead from your child’s doctor, the orange veggie is a nutritional powerhouse especially when you pair them up with apples.
Make sure they are soft enough for your kid to squeeze between two fingers before serving.
Bananas and cherries.
Another popular finger food for your baby with no teeth.
Cherries are rich in antioxidants. Their tartness contrasts nicely with the smooth taste of a banana.
Fresh mozzarella and tomato.
At this age, you can introduce your baby to the taste of cheese with a salad. Remember that you do not give too much-added salt since their kidneys do not process it well.
If you are waiting for your baby to sprout teeth before moving on from purees, think again. Yes, babies do not need teeth to learn to eat solids and even learn to chew.
When to Start Finger Food
You can introduce finger foods to your baby once they have mastered purees. However, it will be different for all babies. But it is usually between 7 to 9 months of age.
Your baby’s palmar grasp is getting mastered at this stage, and the pincer grip is developing. Your baby has learned to bring their hands to the mouth at this stage.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends introducing nutritionally adequate and safe complementary solid foods when they are six months old. It is also ideal for those following a more traditional baby-led weaning approach that will typically introduce finger foods around 6 months. They often start with feeding spoon-feeding purees and then typically introduce finger foods around 8 to 9 months after feeding purees.
Therefore, the exact age of introducing finger foods varies depending on your baby and your approach. But 6-8 months is an average range. Just do not wait too long to introduce finger foods. One study found that those babies introduced to lumpy solids after 9 months generally ate less of many food groups at 7 years of age. In contrast, those trained to lumpy foods between 6-9 months ate more varieties of food groups.
Remember that your baby may need to start later than this age, depending on factors such as premature birth or any developmental concerns. It is best to discuss with your doctor when to start solids, including finger foods, with what your pediatrician will always recommend.
Before starting finger foods, make sure your baby is showing readiness signs as follows:
- Sitting with minimal assistance.
- Good control of their trunk and head.
- Bringing hands and toys to their mouth
Appears interested in food. Possibly by reaching for or leaning forward towards food items.
Baby Finger Food Safety
When choosing the best finger foods for your baby – experts agree that it is best to begin with small pieces of soft food that dissolve quickly.
Slowly as your infant grows and becomes comfortable eating finger foods, you can give them other stuff. Once your baby develops better tongue patterns to control food pieces and more mature chewing, they can chew the break apart. It could be pieces of fruits and vegetables but should be soft. A one-year-old can also bite off chunks of finger food that a 6-month-old can not.
Avoid giving your baby finger foods that are sticky, large, and do not dissolve easily. It is because they are potential choking hazards.
Another thing to keep in mind when picking out the best finger food for a baby – is that many adult foods, particularly snacks, can be super salty. When preparing food for your baby, leave out the salt whenever possible.