Infant milks in the first year of life
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Melissa Little

Msc RD, Pediatric and Antenatal Dietician. She is a spokesperson for the British Dietetics Association on TV and in print. Member of the parliamentary group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood at Westminster for the UK Government.
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Introducing solids

Hard finger food and soft finger food for babies

If you introduce solids at around 6 months your baby will be developmentally ready for finger foods. It is recommended that babies are offered a variety of soft finger foods to start with, so he can have some fun feeding himself. Move onto different textures of finger foods as he gets more confident.
Video Tutorial
In Short
Finger foods allow your baby to learn and play with her food, she can get messy, she can rub it in her hair and her face, sniff it, spit it out. It’s okay, it’s all part of her experience of learning about food.

Finger foods for babies

If you introduce solids at around 6 months your baby will be developmentally ready for finger foods. It is recommended that babies are offered a variety of soft finger foods to start with, so he can have some fun feeding himself. Move onto different textures of finger foods as he gets more confident. Finger foods allow your baby to learn and play with her food, she can get messy, she can rub it in her hair and her face, sniff it, spit it out. It’s okay, it’s all part of her experience of learning about food.

Soft finger foods

From 6 months offer soft finger foods. These can be things like:

  • Boiled or steamed vegetables cooled and cut into fingers e.g. very soft carrots, pieces of squash, courgettes, parsnip, green beans, potato, sweet potato, squash
  • Soft fruit and vegetables that can just be prepared and sliced: avocado, banana, berries, soft peaches or melons
  • Pieces of hard boiled egg (egg and white both cooked until they are hard), pieces of tofu, soft pieces of fish (make sure there are no bones)
Allergic reactions

Rarely babies will have an adverse reaction to a food. Reactions can include a rash, lip swelling, vomiting or your baby being unable to breathe.

Hard finger foods

If your baby is doing well with soft finger foods you can progress on to finger foods of different textures, shapes, and sizes.

These can be things like:

  • Raw washed vegetables such as cucumber sticks, pieces of tomato, slices of pepper, fingers of carrot, mange tout, green beans, steamed broccoli florets.
  • Toast fingers, breadsticks, rice cakes, cooked pasta pieces
  • Soft well cooked pieces of meat and fish
  • Raw fruit such as watermelon, mango, pineapple, and kiwi.
Choking versus gagging on food

You might be concerned your baby will choke on finger foods and you won’t know what to do. It’s unlikely but it’s important that you know emergency first aid procedures.

The gag reflex of babies is very far forward in their mouth. So, babies will often cough, they’ll split things up, but it doesn’t mean they’re choking. Gagging is their way of preventing themselves from choking. The gag reflex is more developed by 6 months, meaning babies of this age are more developmentally ready to manage food.

However, the gag reflex isn’t perfect and babies can still choke on food. So, to be on the safe side cut up high choking hazard food, such as spherical foods (cherry tomatoes, grapes, blueberries). To do this, you chop them in half or quarters.

Avoid whole nuts, until your child is five years old as they are a high choking risk. Finely chopped nuts or nut butter can be safely given.

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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.