Whether you are introducing solids to your baby using the traditional puree based approach or dive straight into table foods like in Baby Led Weaning, finger foods can appear on your baby’s tray as early as at 6 months of age.
By the time babies learn to sit upright and become interested in food, most of them are also able to use their now free hands to grab big pieces of food and bring them to the mouth.
Even if most of the finger foods end up smashed on the tray or dropped to the floor, it is a great opportunity for your baby to practice motor skills and get little tastes of what the rest of the family is eating.
And you may notice that with time your little one handles finger foods more confidently and actually eats more of them! So why miss the chance to boost his or her diet by serving the most nutritious options?
If your little one is not interested in self feeding, do not despair. The options I suggest below do not require lots of work and make a great snack for you too! Just make sure to provide exposure to different finger foods at most meals, to help your child learn faster.
Remember, it is very important to watch your baby at all times when he or she is eating. Many babies gag when they are getting used to the new texture, it is a safe learning mechanism that allows them to get rid of the pieces that are too challenging to handle.
All babies have different sensitivity levels. Some gag repeatedly even when transitioned from milk to thin purees, others have no problem eating advanced options like finger foods from the start. Babies tend to just suck on finger foods at first and as they get more skilled, you may notice more biting and chewing.
Here is a list of easy and nutritious finger foods to offer to your 6 month old. Many of them are high in iron, zinc and fat, important nutrients at this age. Serve them for meals if you are following Baby Led Weaning or alongside purees if you are following the traditional approach to introduction of solids.
1. Apple wedges smeared with coconut oil, sprinkled with cinnamon and cooked in the microwave until very soft. Raw apples and other hard foods like raw carrots are a choking hazard.
2. Toast dipped in a soft boiled egg. Eggs are one of the super foods that are especially good for babies. Full of fat, protein and lots of vitamins and minerals, they are also very easy to prepare. My baby does not like the texture of omelet but it is less messy, so worth a try with your little one.
3. Toast with nut butter. Yes, you can give your child nut butters from early on, if your doctor gave you the green light. Some kids with genetic predisposition to food allergies may benefit from a delayed exposure to nuts. You can try to sandwich some nut butter between two pieces of toast to minimize the mess. Almond or peanut butter can also be mixed into purees. Whole nuts are a choking hazard and are not appropriate for kids under 3.
4. Broccoli with stalks, steamed, boiled or roasted. This was the first finger food my baby ate and it is still one of her favorites.
5. Avocado wedges with partially removed skin, for a better grip. Make sure to wash the avocado well before serving.
6. Bananas, washed and with skin removed partially. As your baby eats the flesh, keep removing the skin further.
7. Soft fruit like very ripe pear, kiwi, mango or papaya cut into wedges or discs.
8. Roasted vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and zucchini. Cut them in long or large round pieces that are easy to grab with a hand. Small pieces require kid to use their finger or pincer grasp that develops later, at around 8-10 months. You can also use a crinkle cutter to make the surface less slippery.
Have you tried giving finger foods to your baby yet? What your experience has been so far?
Need even more ideas for easy, nutritious whole food finger foods for your baby? I got 65!