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Finger Foods for Babies

Posted by Shelly
Shelly Nalbone is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who has worked with children fo
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on Monday, April 02 2012 in Infants

By the time they're 9 months old, most babies have developed the fine motor skills — the small, precise movements — needed to pick up small pieces of food and feed themselves.

Allow your child to self-feed as much as possible, though you'll still be helping out by spoon-feeding cereal and other important dietary elements. Encouraging finger feeding helps your child learn about textures and independence.  If you have not already done so, it is time to introduce table/finger foods.  Do not limit your baby to just Gerber puffs.

By 9 months, most babies are ready to try table food and should be able to try many of the things that you eat.    Here are some suggestions.

  • Zucchini, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, or other well-cooked veggies.   
  • Pieces of ripe banana, soft pears or peaches, and cooked apples
  • Well-cooked pasta
  • Dry cereals and crackers such as cheerios, graham crackers, & ritz crackers.  Ask yourself, does it melt in the mouth? Some dry cereals and crackers that are light and flaky will melt in the mouth.
  • Shredded cheeses  and  cottage cheese
  • Small pieces of soft, cooked beef and chicken are other good choices

Food should be cut into small pieces. The sizes will vary depending on the food's texture.   You should avoid the following foods that can be choking hazards.

  • Pieces of raw vegetables or hard fruits
  • Whole grapes, berries, cherry or grape tomatoes (instead, peel and slice or cut in quarters)
  • Raisins and other dried fruit
  • Peanuts, nuts, and seeds
  • Peanut butter and other nut or seed butters
  • Whole hot dogs and sausages (peel and cut these in very small pieces)
  • Untoasted bread, especially white bread that sticks together
  • Chunks of cheese or meat
  • Candy (hard candy, jelly beans, gummies, chewing gum)
  • Popcorn, pretzels, corn chips, and other snack foods
  • Marshmallows
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Shelly Nalbone is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who has worked with children for more than 17yrs. She graduated from Houston Baptist University in 1993 with her Bachelors Degree in Nursing and completed her Masters Degree at Texas Woman's University in 1999. Shelly completed a Post Masters Fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She has spoken nationally on pediatric and adolescent health care topics and was a contributing author for a pediatric nursing textbook. Shelly is Associate Clinical Faculty for The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and LoneStar College Nursing programs. She lives in the Champions area with her husband and 2 children.