The ultimate guide to finger foods

We’ve been giving finger foods to Baby Boy since he was about six months old.

Eight-month-old Baby Boy eats his new favourite, pancakes
 It took a LOT of research (read: Googling) for me to feel comfortable with this, because purees are nice and smooth, but little bites of REAL FOOD that is shoveled in with inexperienced little fists? Kind of scary for us, the parentals.
Some parents (i.e. ones in parenting forums about finger foods) think you can feed a baby just about anything.  I read comments suggesting people give a seven-month-old teeny little GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES. For real??!! I try not to be one of those uppity mothers, but you cannot help but judge those parents, right?
I started off slowly. Verrrry slowly. I went with the tried-and-true foods that seemed would post VERY little risk, and then started introducing new things once I felt more comfortable.
I followed the usual tips for introducing any few food …
  • Give the new food, then wait three days before introducing another food. Then if your baby shows an allergic reaction, you can pinpoint the allergenic food (without having to rule out several foods for no reason).
  • Watch your baby after trying a new food, to see if they’re showing any signs of an allergy. A rash or red bumps around the mouth seems to be the most common symptom. 
  • Don’t mix foods together until your baby likes both foods separately (and they have passed the allergy “test” of three days without any reactions).
And now! For my super-duper list of the GOOD finger foods I have fed Baby Boy (and when he first had them). This is by no means a guide, because every baby is different, but it’s a list of what’s worked for us …
Finger foods started during his seventh month (six months old):
  • NumNum cookies (they get soggy really quickly, which is a good thing)
  • Banana (each slice of banana was cut into SIX pieces!)
  • Mangoes (steamed frozen chunks, cut chunks into pea-sized pieces)
  • Cheerios (original Cheerios, 10-15 at a sitting)
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Finger foods started during his eighth month (seven months old):

  • Watermelon rind (with maybe 1 cm of watermelon left on it)
  • Watermelon pieces (watermelon cut into pea-sized cubes)
  • Scrambled eggs (yolks scrambled with breastmilk, well-cooked, crumbled)
  • Sweet potatoes (baked, cut into pea-sized cubes)
  • Apple (steamed-until-mushy slices, without skin, cut into pea-sized cubes)
  • Chicken (shredded into tiny crumbles, usually mixed with a veggie puree to make it easier to swallow)
—————————————-
Finger foods started so far, during his ninth month (eight months old):
  • Mashed potatoes (baked, skinned, cut into tiny pieces, and mashed with a fork and a little butter)
  • Cheese (cheddar cheese, grated)
  • Pancakes (cut into pea-sized squares, full recipe here)
  • Noodles (well-cooked rotini, cut into pea-sized pieces, buttered for easy swallowing)
  • Chicken with gravy (tiny crumbles of chicken mixed with chicken gravy)
  • Rice Krispies (perfect for melting in his mouth, but messy to clean up!)
  • Ground beef & rice (it was actually the filling of a Cabbage Roll)
And along the way, there were a few fingers foods he tried that didn’t go as smoothly as the lists above … 
Finger foods that didn’t go as well:
  • Arrowroot cookies (These don’t dissolve like the NumNum cookies, and they made me nervous whenever I gave Baby Boy one, so I’ve stopped for now)
  • Puffs (These are the commercial flavoured things found in baby food aisles. Baby Boy liked them, but sometimes stuffed too many in his mouth and gagged. The pieces are larger than I’d like).
And, um, these last couple of foods? Learn from me, and don’t try them with your baby …
Finger foods gone wrong: 
  • Apple slices (I thought he would just suck on it, but he was able to bite off little chunks with his gums. Um, scary!)
  • Celery (in my defense, it was a BIG, THICK stick of celery, but he was somehow able to bite off a little hunk — with his zero teeth. Sigh)
***
Even though finger foods are scarier than the nice, safe purees, it is fun to give them to your baby. It’s adorable to cut things into teensy little bites. It’s adorable to sprinkle the bites across the tray of their high-chair, and watch their chubby little fingers pick them up. 

Although it’s not quite as adorable to scoop up mushed-up chunks from the floor, the counter, the high-chair seat, the tray, and your baby’s face/hands/chest/legs/butt.

So what do you think?

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