Finger foods: Your baby 6- and 9-months guide
When you’re thinking of introducing finger foods, have a read of our handy guide
NHS and evidence suggests that you follow a mixed approach to weaning offering both mashed foods and finger foods.
You can offer some finger foods at each meal from very early on in the weaning process so that your baby can touch and explore with foods.
At first your baby might not be able to chew and swallow the finger foods you give them, indeed they may literally only touch and play with these finger foods at first, but they’ll soon learn to lick, taste and eventually eat some.
Eating soft finger foods helps your baby to recognise different foods by sight and in time, your baby will associate the foods with their smell and taste. Finger foods also help your baby to develop their own self-feeding skills.
At around six months you’ll want to stick to soft fingers foods which are easy for gummy babies to chew on.
Suggestions for soft finger foods suitable from six months:
- Soft roasted, steamed or boiled vegetable sticks (soft enough to be mashed a little between finger and thumb). E.g. sticks of carrot, parsnip, courgette, butternut squash, pepper, potato, sweet potato and small florets of broccoli and cauliflower
- Soft pieces of fruit e.g. banana, soft ripe pear, peaches, melon, mango and kiwi
- Cooked pasta pieces or spaghetti
- Soft toast crusts – watch they don’t cram in too much toast as it can stick the roof of the mouth
- Soft cheese sticks or grated cheese
- Pieces of cooked fish or fish & potato cake – check for salt content in ready-made fishcakes and always check fish for bones
Firmer Finger foods – from 9 months:
You can offer firmer finger foods from around nine months and by 12 months many babies can chew, swallow and self-feed a range of these foods by the time they are a year old:
- Raw vegetable sticks of cucumber and peppers cut very thin
- Apples, pieces of strawberry and ripe plums or apricots and segments of oranges, satsumas and clementines
- Quartered grapes, cherries (stones removed) and halved cherry tomatoes
- Breadsticks, rice cakes and crackers
- Pitta bread strips – with peanut butter or hummus
- Sandwiches with soft fillings
- Cheddar cheese cut into sticks or cubes
- Low sugar/salt breakfast cereal shapes and puffs
- Chopped hardboiled egg
- Very, slow cooked soft pieces of meat and pieces of meatballs, burger, chicken, falafel and bhaji
Your baby might take time to get to grips with these tastes and different textures but keep offering a variety of the above from around 9 months onwards.